8-Year Blogiversary + Random Search Terms Answered

Happy 8-year blogiversary to my li’l ol’ blog!

Eight years seems so long ago and yet at the same time it feels like I’ve been blogging even longer . . . just not much recently. XD Still, 350 posts (351 now!) isn’t bad.

Anyway, I had plans to do something fun/exciting for this but haven’t really had the time, sooo this is just a quick post so it won’t go unmarked. 😛

For fun, here are some random search terms that have led to my site and some answers to them!

  • howl’s moving castle head cold — I’m proud of whoever searched this and pleased it brought you here. XD
  • forgive yourself thunderstorm — Yes, please do, thunderstorm.
  • 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!

Have a nice Thursday. Cheers. ❤

Dear Past Writer-Self

13 years ago today, I finished writing my first novel.

Heyo, blog! It’s been a minute. Not having written in ages makes maintaining a writing blog, well, like a frying pan: hard. Who knew, right?

Anyway, August 31 is a special day, since in 2008, on that date, I finished my very first full-length novel.

It must have been pretty exciting, considering how many exclamation points I used on the page written in red pen in a spiral notebook when I wrote The End on a novel for the first time.

That was half my life ago now.

Since then?

  • I’ve finished some half-dozen novels, a couple of novellas, and a couple dozen short stories.
  • I have several other tales in various stages along the way.
  • Haven’t published anything.
  • I’ve given up on some publishing dreams, had new ones, given up on those, and need to probably poke one or the other of those dreams awake again one of these days. (The problem with dreams is they’re always napping on the job.)

I can’t help but compare my excited 13-year-old self who had just finished her first novel in a spiral-bound notebook (I think it was like 95K words), who was on top of the moon and enjoyed writing for the sake of it, to my half-my-lifetime-later mid-twenties self who hasn’t written in four months due to . . . something.

If I figure out what, that might help. Exhaustion both physical and emotional, busyness, lack of focus . . . something. I know I should give my writer self the benefit of the doubt — I’ve been dealing with a lot in my life this year and I have a job, neither of which my 13-year-old writer self would understand.

But the fact remains that my writing has been nonexistent or barely-there for a long time now.

My stories are not silent. I’ve had several brainstorms for several of my WIPs these last few months. They knock on the door of my mind, often without warning, sometimes without even knocking — simply barreling the door down and presenting me with new mind-blowing revelations about plots and characters and settings and storylines that I’ve been neglecting on-page for too long.

My stories are not silent. They are alive and bursting with new brainstorms — sometimes a torrential thunderstorm, sometimes a quiet flickering summer lightning storm if I’m busy or tired. But I’m always discovering new things about them as they simmer on the back burner like a patient oatmeal or a scientific experiment waiting to fizzle over and explode — not sure which.

My stories are not silent. It’s only my pen that is.

2020 was bad for my writing. 2021 has been worse.

In 2020 I wrote less than 40% of what I usually write. In 2021, so far, 2/3rds in, I’ve written less than 40% of what I wrote in 2020.

I have a coiled-threads mess of feelings about this that I’m having a hard time untangling.

  • Sadness — I haven’t been writing.
  • Super Stressed — Will I ever write again?
  • Resigned — Well, I’m busy and have no energy, so there’s nothing I can do about it right now.
  • Apathetic — Okay but do I really care tho’ [*slaps apathetic self who is probably just tired*]
  • Be-kind-to-yourself — Life is stressful and this non-writing is just a season. Breathe. And stop feeling guilty, for the love of frying pans. (Who knew, right?)

I’m not sure which of these is . . . the real thing . . . if there is one.

Did I mention I overthink things? 😛

Dear 13-year-old-me:

I’m so proud of you for finishing that first novel! Ethan and company (okay, mostly your Duncan obsession, and the bears too) are in written-book form, and regardless of what happens to it in the future, that’s something awesome.

If you could write a letter to me now, I wonder what you would say?

Would you be impressed at what I’ve written since then? Would you be disappointed I haven’t published anything? Flabbergasted that I could go four months without writing a single thing? Confused at how I’ve managed to make everything that used to be a joy about writing and reading into a chore?

Would you tell me to find my joy again? To write for the fun of it? To breathe in and out and forget that I have failed so many times and instead to just start again?

Start again . . .

That brings to mind the song “Start Again” by Red. (Listen. Or lyrics.) It’s one of the theme songs for two brothers in my WIP The Other Half of Everything.

I’m singing it in my head, to you, past-self. (Even though you don’t like rock music yet.)

Can we start again?

Love, your future (now present) mid-twenties writer-self

Quarterly Ishness + Snowpocalypse 2021

Hi guys!

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

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

January, February, March (2021)

WRITING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READING

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

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

Here’s a list of them all by category!

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

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

WATCHING

Movies

Ghibli:

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

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

Other movies:

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

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

Shows

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

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

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

LISTENING

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

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

LIFE

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

The Snowpocalypse

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

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

Snow Visitors by Deborah O’Carroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Plans

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Final (For Now!) Story Episode!

The last (for now) episode of my serial story is up today!

Part 5: “Of Portal Chases and Chocolate” brings the Twelve Dancing Princesses mission arc to a close, and it’s all I have ready so far . . .

I DO however have some Plans And Ideas (bwahahaha) for a NEW batch of episodes continuing to follow Sean and co. on their next mission, so hopefully that will happen someday if I can get more written!

Meantime, I hope it’s been fun, and if you missed the first few episodes, now is a great time to catch up on this urban fantasy/fairy tale/snarky agent serial short story since they’re all up now!

(The episodes are 1-2K words, for a total of 8K words.)

If you check it out, leave a comment below letting me know what you think? Or if you’d like more stories? Or a comment or like on Wattpad, if you’re on there, would be so helpful too.

Thanks sooo much for reading! I’ve had a blast writing and sharing this story and I hope y’all enjoy too!

New Story Episode!

Happy National Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Felt appropriate that I’m sharing a new episode of my Snow Queen/Twelve Dancing Princesses urban fantasy serial short story today. 😉

Part 4: In Which My Past Catches Up With Me is up now!

New episode!

Next week will be the final episode to pretty much wrap up this arc. (I…suspect it won’t toootally feel wrapped up to readers, so I may have to write more at some point.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Feel free to leave a comment here (or there) if you read it! Thanks for reading!