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Well… I’m back!
In the famous words of Sam Gamgee (I was creative about the punctuation, but still). Which most people consider to be the end of The Lord of the Rings — EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A PERFECTLY GOOD EPILOGUE AFTER THAT WHICH SOMEBODY CONVINCED TOLKIEN TO LEAVE OUT OF THE PUBLISHED VERSION AND WHICH I’VE STILL NOT FORGIVEN WHOEVER-IT-WAS FOR DOING BECAUSE REALLY. IT NEEDED THAT AWESOME EPILOGUE.
Pardon my Middle-earth rabbit-trail.
Anyhoo, I’m back from my May hiatus-of-sorts, and I’ll now proceed to fill you in on aaall the writing/reading/watching/etc. that happened while I was away from blogging!
Including snippets and the time my street almost blew up. Ish.
I wrote 15,000 words in May, which I’m extremely happy about! Especially since that’s more than I wrote for April Camp NaNo. XD
Most of that was due to a lot of lovely wordsprints during Indie E-Con, which had a week-long word-war… which I won due to my 10K words that week. 😀 I was kiiind of really excited about that! I actually wrote 11.5K words that week if you count Sunday — just over the amount of words I’d written in the entirety of April for Camp, so I’m very pleased!
I wrote parts of a couple other things, but mostly I was working on my steampunk-fantasy novel, The Siren and the Skyship, which is flying along quite nicely! I’m extremely happy about this. 😀 I’ve been writing mostly out of order, just a scene here and a scene there (but they’re connecting, finally!), sometimes in a messy draft-zero form, and the plot is still being stubborn and I KNOW I’ll have to rewrite a ton, but at least I’m making progress and having a BLAST. It’s so much fun and I love this story so much. ^_^
I wrote over 13K words on S&S in May, so last I knew, the story has reached about 67K words. I’m getting to write actual-big-important-scenes and it’s fabulous. 😀
In short, I wrote a TON (for me) this last month, and I’m having the absolute best time, and IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. ❤
Snippets (from The Siren and the Skyship)
Keller threw up his hands. “You were tracking me? I always knew the stories were right and stepbrothers are evil.”
“It’s stepsisters,” Gerias protested, “and I’m not evil.”
“You put a tracking on me without my permission. What do you call that?”
“People rarely put trackings on people with permission,” Tasmania mused.
Gerias sighed. “No offense, Captain, but you’re not helping.”
Keller pointed at her. “You are, actually. Thanks for that.” He sent a pointed look at Gerias.
“You know, we never did get that time hanging out and chatting, just the three of us,” Tasmania said.
Percy’s face dropped. “Oh. I—I forgot. I had that thing and then— I’m so sorry—”
“Don’t. I know you’re busy. It’s just… this is fun, you know? Just getting to chat for a minute. Alone. Ish.”
“Ish here meaning in a ballroom surrounded by about three hundred people,” her brother said wryly.
Tasmania wrinkled her nose, but she was smiling too. “That’s exactly what ish means.”
“Well, you know what? Forget social thingamawhatsits and duties and whatnot; they can go hang,” King Percival said recklessly. “The three of us do need to find a time to just chat—let’s do it tonight.”
“What, after the ball?”
“At, like, midnight?” Tasmania raised an eyebrow.
“We’re grownups. We can stay up late,” Percival said bullishly.
Tasmania laughed. “I meant, there’s that whole coronation thing tomorrow morning. Are you sure you want to stay up late talking all night the night before? You’ll be all bleary and half-asleep and red-eyed, and you’ll fall asleep while you’re being crowned or something.”
“Exactly. It’ll be glorious. Why not live a little, I say? And then I can always say anything that goes wrong was your fault, you know,” he teased.
“Just you try,” Tasmania said, smirking.
I read some lovely books this month!
- If you’re curious about these, you can click the following links to read my reviews of: Kate’s Dilemma, The Story Peddler, Mythical Doorways, and The Stealthmaster’s Shadow. I really enjoyed all of them!
- Oh, oh! And Mythical Doorways had some delightful short stories (and it’s FREE, so you should totally pick it up!), including one with my new favorite character, Jayden. I’ve only met him in short stories, but HE’S MY FAVE. If you hear me randomly flailing about him, this is why.
- Common was SO SWEET. Lovely fantasy/fairytale-esque romantic YA, reminiscent of things like Ella Enchanted. I loved it. ^_^
- Trial by Song was a FASCINATING modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and was SO INTENSE. O_O *collapses* It also ended on a terrible cliffhanger from which I’ve still not recovered.
- A Sidekick’s Tale was a hilarious western novella — kind of like if a Bertie Wooster story was a western. XD
- AND THEN THERE’S THE ELECTRICAL MENAGERIE. People. You need this book in your life. It’s a steampunk (ish) novel with a buddy story (kind of) and snark and humor and show business and illusions and murder and danger and plots, and I can’t really categorize it but IT WAS SO GOOD AAAH. I currently have a book hangover from this delightful book. How will anything ever be this good again? *collapses* The Electrical Menagerie is releasing this week. Anyway. If you’re not sure if you’d like to try it or not, you can check out Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers to see if you’d like more of the same, since it’s a short story which is free on the author’s newsletter and is HILARIOUS. XD (Butbutbut. Carthage and Huxley. They’re my favorites. :D)
(I’m not going to link to all the titles but if you’d like to check out any of these books, you can find links to them on my Goodreads Reading Challenge page.)
- So, I saw Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. And, in an attempt to be a good blogger and share things I thought about them in this post, I wrote up thoughts on both at least three times and erased them and… yeah, no, not going to have opinions because I hate having those (or at least sharing them) and I don’t want to be roasted by (or hurt feelings of) any who feel strongly one way or another. I had mixed thoughts on both, disliked some things, enjoyed others. 🙂 The end.
- I also randomly re-watched the Lord of the Rings fan-films Born of Hope (THE SONS OF ELROND!) and The Hunt for Gollum. XD
- And just a few episodes of the usual suspects: Once Upon a Time, Trollhunters, NCIS, and White Collar. And a little re-watching Sherlock. Still enjoying all of ’em in their way! 🙂
Also, speaking of movies, there’s a poster for the next How to Train Your Dragon movie AND AAAAAHH LOOK AT IT!!!! ❤
(I’ll just be over here QUIETLY SHRIEKING about this, thank you. *muffled “squee!” noises*)
I’ve been working on a website and some branding/theme stuff for my writing self, so I’m hoping to share some of that in the next month or so. 🙂
I guess the most exciting thing that happened was my street almost blowing up.
I may exaggerate.
Okay, so some roadwork people hit a gas line right in front of my house, and they kinda-sorta evacuated half the block. We grabbed laptops and went down to a cafe thing for a couple of hours and saw reruns of the Royal Wedding, and mostly just hoped they (the road workers, not the royal people) wouldn’t accidentally blow up the block or anything. But it got fixed and we went home and everything was fine. It was just… an interesting day. *cough*
My sis and I have also been jogging occasionally, which has been fun because we’ve named ourselves the “Like a Quick Lady” Writer Fitness Club. Because writers need to get out too.
It’s a reference to a line from Beggar Magic by H. L. Burke:
She started to run, but heard her mother’s voice in her head, “Do you want to be so out of breath you can’t even say ‘hello’ when you find your friend? Walk like a lady.”
Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.
(Beggar Magic is an excellent book I really enjoyed, and if you’re curious to read it, it’s currently the free thing you get if you sign up for H. L. Burke’s fun newsletter. FYI.)
I just like that line, and “like a quick lady” is something I say when I’m in a hurry. XD So when we’re jogging, we say that a lot, as well as “On your left!” (Because Captain America.) Because what fun is jogging unless there are lots of fandom-y, inside jokes? 😉
Also, fresh apricots are STUPENDOUS, I TELL YOU. That is all.
Well… it’s June (HOW??) so Realm Makers is less than a month and a half away, which is TERRIFYING (I mean… exciting, too; but still terrifying), so I really have to get on that to-do list of mine and start finishing up some of the projects I’ve been working on, like my official website and things. 😛
So I’ll be focusing on various writerly pre-conference things and trying to juggle life, while also hopefully keeping up with a bunch of book releases and reviews because some little otter secretary seems to have signed me up for a lot of blog tours and review books right when I need to be busy with other stuff. 😉
But that’s how these things go, and I’m super excited for all the books (you can check out all the bookish things going on this month in my Bookish News post on my book blog!) so yeah. It’s going to be fun! I just feel extremely busy. XD
How about you? Thoughts? What are your June plans? Share in the comments — I’d love to hear all about it. ^_^ I hope you have an amazing summer! Thanks so much for reading. ❤
Hello, reader peeps!
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to during the last few weeks of relative silence around here, you’re in luck!
It’s time for an Ishness post — hurrah!
In which I recap my Camp NaNo and other Ishnesses of April. It’s been a busy and exciting month! And also to say that I’m taking a bit of a blogging break for May.
There may also be snippets. And photography.
So let’s get to it!
Camp NaNo Writing Adventures
I participated in and completed Camp NaNo!
And it was amazing, guys. So, so amazing. I’ve missed writing.
Thanks to some awesome wordsprints courtesy of Jenelle and Sarah and some other writing friends, I discovered that I can write 1K in 40 minutes’ worth of wordsprints, which led to a whirlwind of Camp writing for me. I’m. so. excited. I had written hardly anything this year and it was so delightful to finally get back into it!
I made my goal of 10 hours of writing/writing-related-stuff-like-plotting-and-editing, hitting 11 hours for the month.
My April writing accomplishments included:
- 11,439 words of writing.
- Naming an important character (the hero of book 3 of my Sky Voyages retelling trilogy) — he’s a pirate and his name is Keller. 😀
- Outlining the next several parts of The Siren and the Skyship.
- Realizing I need to redo basically all that I’d written of the book during last November, but OH WELL, at least I know. XD I think I’ll try to power through to the end before rewrites… hopefully…
- I wrote 10K words of The Siren and the Skyship, a mix of rough first draft and draft-zero, some in order, some later on. But it’s the first writing on this I’ve done since last year’s NaNo, so I’m excited to be back to it!
- My characters seemed to spend a lot of their time meeting at night on rooftops. Okay, then! Also, I’m having the best time writing about my character Rook.
- I also wrote 1300 words of The Other Half of Everything, finishing and editing the first chapter, which has been in a half-written-out-of-order state for years.
- GUYS. I’M DONE A WHOLE CHAPTER OF THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING.
- I have several thousand words of OHE written, but it’s all in snippets out of order. So having a completed first chapter all finished is SO EXCITING to me!
- Anyway, between plotting, writing 10K of S&S, and finishing OHE’s first chapter, I’m very pleased with what I got done this month for Camp NaNo. 🙂 I’m hoping to keep up the writing momentum, but we’ll see what happens.
… exchanging the usual niceties one exchanged over tea.
“What did you want to see me about?” Rook asked finally, politely but warily.
He was not used to being called on by dignitaries, and was more than usually aware that his new little brother, sitting right at the table with them, was a street thief. Although Xasper had been silent and as well-mannered as could be, he could well be a ticking steam-bomb counting down to something disastrous.
It was all rather alarming, really, and the sooner it was all over with, the better Rook would like it.
— The Siren and the Skyship
Percival chose this extremely inopportune time to wake up and hear what they were discussing. “Don’t even think about it, Mania,” he said blearily from his half-asleep and bandaged state. “You’re the princess, and as a princess, you can’t go there without causing an international incident.”
Tasmania shooed a hand at her brother. “I know, I know. As a princess, I won’t.”
“Not as a Royal Skynavy captain either,” he warned.
Blast. He shouldn’t even be alert enough to notice. “As you command, my king,” Tasmania said, saluting. But Auren and Noya were giving her Looks which meant they knew exactly what she was thinking.
Fortunately, Percival’s eyes had drifted shut again and he didn’t see.
Well then. Not a princess, and not a captain, either. She would go as herself—even if she had to smuggle herself in a pirate ship to do so.
Which, incidentally, was exactly what she planned to do.
— The Siren and the Skyship
“Do try not to jump; it disturbs the books,” the young man remarked.
— The Other Half of Everything
He held out his hand and gave a rather absentminded smile. “The name’s Teague. Teague Aurelius. A pleasure to meet you.”
“Same,” I said, shaking his hand. What? A girl can’t lie occasionally in the interests of being polite? Somebody certainly needed to be that around here.
— The Other Half of Everything
I… did not read very much this month. Between Camp NaNo and editing and life, not to mention starting about half a dozen books and then not finishing them (I’m in 5 right now; it’s embarrassing) I don’t have much to show in the reading department.
I managed to hit my 50-book goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, though! (I’ve been including short stories this year, okay. Don’t be too amazed. :P)
But I did read a handful of things. A picture book, ONE novel (The Lost Castle, which I reviewed), two short stories, and two non-fiction short ebooks about writing. Aaand that’s it. They were all pretty good, and I highly recommend Jamie Foley and Angela Castillo’s Busy Moms’ Guide to Writing even for those who are not busy moms but are still writers. XD
Not pictured but hopefully releasing in the next month or two is Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz, which I edited and therefore read a couple times this month. It’s hilarious, and is a fantastic magical wild west tale, so watch for that!
- I re-watched the first couple episodes of the original season of Sherlock… which was neat to re-visit. XD (They’re so YOUNG, though! :O)
- I saw a bit more White Collar, which I’m still enjoying aside from the usual bits I don’t care for that all TV has. But it’s still fun. XD Love these characters!
- I started watching Trollhunters, just a few episodes, which is a lot of fun so far.
- And a little NCIS and original Star Trek. To keep me on my toes.
- I also re-watched The Last Jedi and… eh. I’m still mixed on it, but that seems to happen to me with ALL movies these days, so. 😛 (I need a crystal fox.)
- I’m still listening to Wander with Me, Smoke and Mirrors, and Rise and Fall periodically from Brittany Jean’s latest album. ❤
- Jen Ledger, the drummer girl for the band Skillet, started her own band: Ledger! I’m kind of excited because she’s so sweet and I love her voice, so this is great. I’ve been listening to the tracks she just released and having fun with those. 🙂
- Speaking of Skillet, you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and listen to it all the time because it’s so catchy and the latest thing you love? Well I have that with Stay ‘Til the Daylight (by Skillet), which my character Rook informed me is his theme song for the sequel to The Siren and the Skyship.
- It’s also been Camp NaNo so I’ve been listening to fast word-warring music and the Ren: The Girl with the Mark soundtrack because it’s perfect for the “feel” of The Siren and the Skyship — gorgeous and epic.
- And Cara Dillon, because her voice is amazing. ❤
- (Yes, I’m aware this is a strange mix of music. I have unique taste. *cough*)
- It’s been quite the busy month, juggling life and various projects/work and Camp NaNo.
- I won my first writing contest with my otter flash fiction (my goodness, was that this month?)!
- Camp NaNo kept me on my toes. XD But it was glorious focusing on writing again.
- I randomly realized “OH, I HAVE A WATTPAD ACCOUNT; I SHOULD USE IT,” and posted Wintertale over there. I may put up another couple of short stories when I have time.
- Arielle Bailey more or less convinced me that my personality type is probably ISFP even though I’ve tested as a couple other types (INFP/INFJ). I’m going to look into it more but from what she said, it seems legit. XD (Arielle, do that MBTI blog series!)
- I got to attend a lovely writer retreat; it was fun getting to hang out with a bunch of fellow writer gals for a weekend! ❤ Not to mention appropriate, because it was like a real-live Camp NaNo! 😉 It was amazing. ^_^
May Plans / Hiatus
I’m taking a bit of a blogging/internet break during May.
Before anybody panics (no panicking, okay?), this is not to say that I won’t be around at all. There are, after all, a few exciting things going on this month (like the ones I mentioned in my In Bookish News post on my book blog) which I may (haha, pun!) drop in on. Plus, my hiatuses (hiatusi?) don’t always turn out as hiatus-y (shh, it’s a word) as I plan; but it should help anyway. XD
(Goodness, that was a lot of parentheses. Please excuse.)
I just need to give myself permission to step away a little and breathe. Sometimes everything gets to be a little much, you know?
I’m a little worn out with all the busyness that’s been non-stop for the past four months, and I also need to catch up on things and do some more prep for Realm Makers (which is creeping up on us at an alarming rate!).
So for my own sanity (what’s that? O_O), I’m reining back a little, and if you need to get a hold of me I’m sure I’ll still be checking email. 😉
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a Merry Month of May, friends! ❤ And let me know what’s up with you, in the comments! ^_^
Oh, look, the last time I did an Ishness was for January; it’s high time to let y’all know about the ishnesses going on in my life these last two months!
Let’s see what I was up to in the blur that was February and March . . .
I wrote a grand total of 1.5K words in these past two months.
I know. So amazing.
Basically, I’ve been in a little bit of a writing slump this year. 😛 I’m hoping Camp NaNo will help with that.
BUT! I am very pleased with those 1500 words, so that’s a good thing, yes?
I finished a particularly tricky chapter of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood. This work-in-progress is now 75K words long, so far. (Yikes!)
I wrote We Otter Do It, which, although it was small, I really enjoyed writing. Having such a tight wordcount limit was a fascinating puzzle, and I kind of loved it. 😀
I’ve also been doing some plotting for The Other Half of Everything and some other stories.
In reverse-chronological order (recentest reads at the top), here’s a screen-shot of my March and February reads taken from my Goodreads challenge.
(If you are curious what I thought of any of the books/stories pictured, just ask!)
So much reading! Actually, a lot of those are short stories and novellas and random things, so it’s not as many as it looks like. XD I’ve been including everything on my reading challenge, not just novels, so . . . yeah.
I’ve enjoyed most of these, but highlights were DEFINITELY:
- Lady Moon by Rachel Starr Thomson — With a subtitle like A Tale of Love & Magic & Other Improbable, Unpredictable Things of COURSE I love this book! I have no words for this other than it’s one of my new top favorite books and I loved it SO MUCH that I read it twice in February. You know: that short month? TWICE, I say. I read it in a single day and then the next week I turned around and read the whole thing aloud to my younger siblings because I just could NOT resist re-reading it at once. Everyone should read this if you like whimsical fantasy. It’s DELIGHTFUL and Tomas is my favorite. ❤ (Thanks to Mary Horton for the recommendation!)
- Masque by W. R. Gingell — I adored this book and I can’t wait to try more by this author. It was brilliant and hilarious, a Beauty and the Beast magical murder mystery which felt rather like a magical Georgette Heyer novel. I LOVED IT. There were a couple very gruesome scenes (because magical murder mystery) which I could have done without, but otherwise it was PERFECT. Everyone go read it, right now. (Thanks to Suzannah Rowntree for bringing this delightful novel to my attention.)
- Minstrel’s Call by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — Reviewed this one; I absolutely loved it! Brilliant conclusion to one of my favorite fantasy series! ^_^ Gaah. Brant! KIERNAN KANE! (Thanks to Jenelle for my review ARC. <3)
- Sage by Jamie Foley — Let’s just say the same thing about this as about Minstrel’s Call. XD Because it was an awesome conclusion to another favorite fantasy series! (Look at me, actually finishing series I’ve been reading. #SoProud) Read my review here. ALSO JET IS STILL MY FAVE. ❤ (Thanks to Jamie for my gorgeous copy. <3)
Er… not much? A little more Once Upon a Time (I think I still enjoyed Season One more? But still enjoying it somewhat and we’ll see how it goes), some old Batman movies which were weird, Alex Rider which was kinda fun.
Oh! And I started watching White Collar, a show about a con man who works with an FBI agent to solve crimes. I’ve only seen the first half of Season 1, so I don’t know how it goes on from there, but I LOVE it so far! XD It’s like Leverage meets Castle, and the characters are great. 😀
- I participated in February is Fantasy Month and March Magics. (You can read my March Magics wrapup, which I just posted, here.)
- I created my first original tag.
- I won my first writing contest — which I’m still really excited about!
- I did my first official guest post (on Draft Zero).
- I shared my top 6 favorite types of Fantasy mentors.
- And my top 6 Diana Wynne Jones quotes to live by.
I’m also working on my “official” website, which reminds me I need to finish that . . .
(And I passed 1000 followers here, which — JUST. GUYS. ❤ *flails* I know some of those are my social media numbers, BUT STILL. THANK YOU SO MUCH, EVERYONE.)
I had a birthday and got the One Ring for it. Which means it was my birthday present, Preciousss . . . Yes, I made all the jokes. XD
I also had my bjournal anniversary. I’ve kept a bullet journal for over a year now! *gasp* I’m on my fourth one, and I’m not as organized with it as I should be, but it’s still helpful.
A few writer workshops happened, which I attended, and they were interesting. I always learn SOMETHING new, even if it’s just a couple little tricks or a new perspective, but it’s also getting to the point where I seem to already know 80% of the information presented. That makes me feel weird, because I’m not a published author, but I’ve been learning so much about all of this for so many years that I’ve accumulated quite a bit of knowledge. People I meet seem to assume I don’t know much because I’m younger than they are. It’s kind of funny. XD
And, most exciting of all, I signed up for Realm Makers! I’m going to the 2018 Realm Makers conference in July! Which means I’m trying to prepare for that, which means work, and trying to get my website and other things done, and starting my costume, etc. But I’m SO excited about going and getting to hopefully meet so many good online friends, and see a few I’ve met before, and just — I’M EXCITED.
I’m doing Camp NaNo! Which . . . well . . . as usual, I have no business doing, because BUSY, but at the same time it’s my excuse to make myself write again. So that makes me happy. 🙂 I’m working on plotting/outlining/draft-zero/writing The Siren and the Skyship, with slight forays into trying to wrangle the plots of the two sequels in this Sky Voyages series. I’m doing a 10 hour goal, so we’ll see how that goes!
I’m also participating in a couple of bookclub readalongs, which are fun so far! The three short stories I’ve read so far in the Mythical Doorways anthology have been delightful, and Trial by Song (a modern-day Jack-and-the-Beanstalk novel with scary Fae) has been quite creepy but otherwise fascinating. I can’t wait to see how both books finish up! (The FB book club group links for both are here and here.)
Mostly, I’m trying to keep up with whatever busyness life throws at me, and wondering how on earth it’s April already . . . (Because SERIOUSLY, THOUGH??)
So that’s what’s new with me! 🙂 How about you? What are you up to? I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at the goings-on around here. ^_^ Thanks for reading, and have a lovely April! ❤
Guys! I won a contest! *squeaks*
I’m really excited to announce that I won the fan-voted Fellowship of Fantasy Mythical Doorways flash fiction Writing Contest! I can’t believe it, and little Gavin the otter and I are so grateful for y’all’s votes!
The contest was to write a 500 word or less story, opening with “The door creaked open …” I won the adult section, and the winner of the 15 and under category wrote an amazing story too!
FYI, flash fiction = a short story of one thousand words or less. Or, in this case, 499 words, which is how long “We Otter Do It” is — and you can read the whole thing on the Fellowship of Fantasy blog where it’s being featured today! 🙂 Along with the other winning story, which is fantastic. 😀
So drop by to meet a little otter secretary named Gavin. 😉 And leave a comment here or there to let me know what you think! ^_^
We Otter Do It
by Deborah O’Carroll
The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.
I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.
Read the rest at fellowshipoffantasy.com
P.S. Oh, and the writing contest was a publicity thing to celebrate the release of a Fellowship of Fantasy short story anthology which released last week, Mythical Doorways, featuring stories by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, H.L. Burke, and nine other fantastic authors. You can get the ebook free online in some places (I think Amazon is currently being difficult but it’s 99 cents there at the moment and might be free again). Anyway, I’m reading it now and enjoying it. And it’s unrelated to the contest, except in both having doorways. XD
P.P.S. This is the first time I’ve won a writing contest and I’m SO EXCITED. It’s got me floating in the clouds! AWK.
Thank you for reading! ❤