Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)


I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!


My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂


aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)


I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance


66 Books


I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)


Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤


I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤



87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^


Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)


OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.


My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:



PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!


Of October Madness


I know I used this in my last post, but I’m posting it again because it’s an accurate depiction of my feelings right now. (Which is why I put together this handy graphic. ;))

I’m a little in shock about it being November already. How. Even.

Still, my October madness ishness was as follows!



I feel like I was gone all month — if not literally, at least mind-wise.

I went to a fair/rodeo thing for the first time in forever, which was a lot of fun. Also some NaNo events — yay!

Then last week I was camping . . . Just the right thing to do before NaNo instead of plotting, am I right? 😉

I was also sick for a week smack-dab in the middle of the month, which totally threw me off. Not to mention my dead internet.

I basically spent the month in a blur of being insanely busy and unprepared, flailing around trying to get caught up on things and prepare for NaNo and panicking over The Rose and the Raven and not having my NaNo novel plotted. …Actually, I’m still panicking over those things! Funny how that works…



I saw Ever After: A Cinderella Story, which I always hear about but had never seen. It was not what I was expecting, but fun.

I finished my re-watching catch-up of the Hunger Games movies (paiiin) because for some reason the final one is coming out in a couple of weeks… I still haven’t read the books so I know next to nothing about what’s going to happen in Mockingjay Part 2, except a certain couple of deaths; but I have a feeling I’m going to be very upset about the entire movie. *sigh* I don’t even know why I inflict this series on myself…

I also saw Age of Ultron again. HAWKEYE!! 😀 No, I’m not going to shut up about him; he’s just the best, okay? Don’t deny it.

Star Wars Youtube Stuff

starwars7posterI saw two Star Wars things recently, so that gets its own category this round of Ishness. 😉 Have you seen the new trailer for Star Wars Episode VII (The Force Awakens) yet?? It is HERE and looks amazing.

And it’s not new, but I only just saw it and thought it was funny enough to share if you haven’t seen it: a Star Wars Episode I (The Phantom Menace) parody of the song American Pie. It’s really funny.


I read nothing in October.

I know, I know, you’re probably as shocked as David Tennant… And so am I. But my month was SO insane I had positively no time to read. I was going to read a very long book for review (that I happen to be EXTREMELY excited about. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for a year now) and didn’t get to it and consequently got to nothing else.

So. No books. It’s sad.


Mostly my writing this month was (trying to) plot The Silver Forest. And getting distracted by Tare from my Kedran’s Wood series (because he has no sense of timing) and ending up plotting his series as well accidentally, and being informed there’s yet another novella in the series, bringing it up to 9 stories. Also Teague, from The Other Half of Everything, who has, if possible, an even WORSE sense of timing, tried to distract me too. So I ended up writing snippets of both of them (not together, though; thank goodness).

R&RI also did some writing of (my possible Rooglewood Press contest entry) The Rose and the Raven, bringing its total up to 5k words, as I believe I mentioned. It’s currently on hold (perhaps indefinitely…. I don’t even know right now. But I can’t focus on anything besides NaNo at the moment).

My total words for October was about 3000. Which, for the month before NaNo and considering the insanity, I’m calling a win.

October Snippets

For fun, here are some snippets of The Other Half of Everything, and of Tare and friends. In which Teague makes it his life goal to turn Meridian into a bookworm, and Tare makes spicy tea.

The Other Half of Everything

    Teague sighed as if he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders, and stood up. “My new life goal is to turn you into a bookworm. Preferably of fantasy. Read this.” He held out a book with a plain brown cover.
    “What?” I said.
    “Read it,” he repeated.
    “Why would I want to read a book?” I protested.
    “Pretend it’s a movie.”
    I gave him a look. Then I tried again. “Why would I want to read this book?”
    “Because I am selflessly lending it to you. What do you do when people are kind enough to lend you things?”
    “Normally I put them carefully on a shelf and then do my homework,” I said without thinking, forgetting momentarily that I had graduated.
    “And then?”
    “And then I procrastinate over doing them until the last second before I have to give them back, because I never actually want to do them and am just being polite.”
    Teague gave me look of mild disbelief. “Polite? You?”
    I leaned forward slightly, looking him squarely in the eye, and said very seriously in a lowered voice as if it was a secret: “Are you talking to a mirror?”
    He pushed the book toward my face and I was forced to grab it as he dropped it—which apparently he knew I would do. Infuriating. Then he turned and started crossing the room. “Just read the book.”
    “Again: why?” I asked his retreating back.
    “It’s homework,” he said over his shoulder.
    “Homework?” I repeated.
    Teague spun halfway round. “Yes. Because I am your employer and I said to read it.” There may have been a glint in his eye.
    “You’re evil.”
    “Nope. Just your employer. And are you not listening? I said this was my new life goal. It would be extremely considerate of you to go along with it, you know.”
    I shook my head and gave up. It was too ridiculous. “If you say so, ‘boss’.”
    “ ‘Teague’, thanks,” he corrected as he sailed off through the door back to his writing.


A series of loud thumps proceeded from the direction of the kitchen. Then silence.

“I don’t want to know what that was!” I called.

“Remarkably wise of you,” Teague called back.

“I still don’t want to know what that was!” I warned.

“That’s probably for the best.”


Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (KW 2.5 novella)

Tare leaned over and poked the fire in the hearth with the poker. “Anyone want some tea?” he asked.
    They sat in stunned silence, blinking at him, until he finally looked over his shoulder at them.
    “Some what?” Ivy demanded.
    “Tea,” Tare repeated with a flat look. “You know—that thing that people drink.” There was a strong note of sarcasm behind it.
    “But why would—?” Lavender began, trying to understand why Tare was talking about tea or why he would have any.
    “Because it’s there,” Tare cut in, exasperated, “and I thought I’d offer you some. Have it if you want.” He flapped a hand in the direction of the table. “Otherwise, forget it.” And he dropped into a chair.
    Now that they looked where he had waved, they saw the brown tea pot crouched on the table among the other stuff, steam curling upward from the spout.
    “Did it not come in black?” Baz teased.
    Tare tilted his head with a fake and humorless smile. “Haha.”
    Marie poured some of the hot tea into a few brown ceramic cups and handed them around.
    “Ooh, cinnamon!” Baz said happily, staring into his cup.
    Tare sent him a weird look. “There’s . . . no cinna—”
    But Baz had taken his first sip, and started to cough. After a cautious sip from each of the others, most of them were coughing too. Tare just looked at them all like he couldn’t figure them out.
    Adrian grinned. “Come on, guys, it can’t be that bad.” Adrian took one large gulp, choked, coughed several times, and managed to splutter, “What is in that?”
    Tare gave him a hard stare. “I told you. It’s tea.”
    “That’s not tea, that’s dragon fire in a cup!” Jake gasped, clutching at his throat.
    “Well excuse me for not noticing the dragon when I was making it. I guess I need to work on my observation skills.”
    “No, really, what is it?” Marie asked.
    “It’s ginger tea,” Tare answered, nonplussed.
    “No way—what else?” Adrian said.
    Tare shrugged. “Lemon and honey . . .” He paused as if thinking. “And cayenne pepper.”
    “Seriously?” Ivy exclaimed
    “Oh my goodness,” Lavender managed.
    “Is that what the little floaty red specks were—not cinnamon?” Baz squealed indignantly.
    “What is wrong with you that you would ruin perfectly good tea like that?” Marie said.
    “And then feed it to your friends,” Adrian added.
    “Maybe he wanted a good laugh,” Jake said.
    “Maybe he wanted to kill us,” Baz put in.
    “Maybe, I’m neither laughing nor killing anyone and don’t understand what is wrong with you that you are all dying on me over some tea.” Tare folded his arms.

What’s Next?

SilverForestCoverFinalSo that’s what was up in October. As for November, well, as you may guess I’m very busy writing! If you’re doing NaNo and would like to be buddies on the site, you can find me here. 🙂

I don’t know how “around” I’ll be online this month, but never fear — I’ve scheduled some posts of some old writings of mine on the blog this month so that I won’t entirely forget and abandon y’all. Hope you’ll enjoy them!

And good luck on whatever your plans are, especially all you NaNoers! (Only because you may need more “good lucks” than less insane people. 😉 ) YOU CAN DO IT!

Meantime, I’d best get going on filling this November with some Ishness of its own.

I’m off into the Silver Forest. I may get lost on the way, but it’s bound to be interesting all the same. See you on the other side…

(And I’m just going to leave you with this thing I made, even though only Leverage fans will get it…)

In the Merry Month of May

Firstly: giveaway winner! (Lena K. was the winner of Shantelle’s awesome giveaway, in case you didn’t see…) And the winner of my mini giveaway on this here blog iiiiis…


Congrats! I hope you’ll enjoy A Dream Not Imagined!! (Who’m I kidding. Of course you will. Because it’s fabulous.)

And thanks y’all for entering and sharing your favorite Cinderella retellings! I must read them…

On to the rest of the post! Which is of an ishness variety.

The calendar has flipped again, so it’s time for a look-back at what went on in the Merry Month of May! (Does nobody else call it that? Is it just me and my crazy self who grew up listening to The Rocky Road to Dublin?)

I had a rather hectic but overall awesome May, involving a lot of rain/storms and consequently dead internet most of the month, or — worse — undead internet, i.e. it kind of wandered around claiming it was there but for all practical purposes… kind of too dead to be useful. But that was probably okay because of all the busy! I’m just very behind on interwebish things. What else is new. XD

But the rest of my month involved:


(from Pinterest)

  • Seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening day. THAT MOVIE. What even. This was a month ago, peoples, and I STILL am trying to work out my feels/opinions on this thing. I think I need to see it again but probably won’t till it comes out on DVD sooo… But although it broke my brain several times — All the shock! All the things! — and I’m still trying to figure out what I think about a few things, it was mostly sheer fabulousness. Also Hawkeye. I loved how much more he was in it! Because he’s my favorite, obviously…
  • And oh, yeah, I took a totally random, spontaneous, last-second roadtrip through a couple states for a homeschool alumni get-together thingamy which was very much out of my experience but turned out totally awesome. Lots of new experiences with that.
  • Going to my first stage play! I know, I know, I’ve been missing out. It. Was. Amazing. Oh my goodness. It was The Little Mermaid (the movie of which I also saw for the first time this month, to warm up) and I loved this play version way more than the movie. And all the actor kids were adorable and amazing and awesome, especially my friend who played Ariel which was why I went–she was incredible! I just loved and adored it and it was so so fun and sweet and cool and funny and awesome. 🙂 Alskdjflkdlakdj.

I tell ya, this was a month for new experiences, y’all! We shall call it “The May Deborah Actually Did Things”. *nods seriously*


So… remember that post I did where I talked about all the books I wanted to read in May? Well… yeah. That didn’t happen. I only managed to read a handful, and some weren’t even on the list.


I think I tend to not read as much when I’m in the middle of several books… I think I get daunted. XD Plus I was busy. But I managed to read a few, so yay! “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” was AWESOME and I reviewed it. “Touch Magic” was actually a nonfiction (gasp!) which I actually didn’t love… which was sad because I wanted to. Meh. “Fairest” was a reread with my bookclub and I really enjoyed it. “The Grimm Legacy” was super fun! I don’t think it was quite as amazing as I’d hoped, but I just really… enjoyed it. So yay! And “Galdoni” was super random and weird but I couldn’t stop reading it… I’m not even entirely sure what I think of it… Some of it felt sloppy, which I don’t normally notice, and it was pretty scary (I don’t read a lot of modern/futuristic, okay, guys!) but like I said it kept me reading and I kinda enjoyed it too.

(I am feeling superbly lazy today, too much so to link all hundred five books, so you can find them on my Goodreads reading challenge…)

So! My reads of the month. I just didn’t manage to read nearly as much as I wanted, and basically all I want to do in June is read but that probably won’t happen…

Oh! But look! My birthday presents finally came in the mail (like, a couple months late because of waiting for the pre-ordered one to actually release… Hee) so GORGEOUSNESS!


I’m now officially dying to read “Illusionarium” (I’ve never read a steampunk before!) and “The Merchant’s Daughter” (Melanie Dickerson, yay!). I’ve already read “The Word Changers”, but I just HAD to own a physical copy of this gorgeous thing! ❤


So, partly due to how busy I was, and partly due to laziness, I didn’t do a super amount of writing. But I did manage over a thousand words of Tare series stuff, and nearly 2,000 words of my new short story, Darkling Reflections — which I really must finish writing soon. And I also plotted all of Darkling Reflections (yay!) and got re-excited about my epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga, and did a bunch of plotting and figuring out for that, which I’m super excited about. But mostly quiet on the writing front.


So! That was my May! And it is now June… What even. Is it just me, or has 2015 been buzzing by faster than a freight train? (Not that I actually have the tiniest clue how fast freight trains are or if they actually buzz. But anyhow.)

Plans for June?

Well, I have soooo many books I want to read it’s not even funny. (Or… actually it’s extremely funny because of my lack of being able to actually read them all at the moment because it’s just ridiculous. So let’s just all laugh together, shall we?) I’m still in the middle of reading like five books, and I have a library book I should read too and my lovely new books and another stack I just have to get to and just… yeah. So much reading I want to do!

I have been woefully slacking on writing most of this year so I really would like to do some more of that. I have a short story to finish and Tare’s getting impatient at my ignoring of him, and Heartseeker wants to be finished sometime in the next decade. I MUST DO ALL THE WRITING THINGS. The stories call. And yet… at the same time… they don’t. It’s kind of sad. I WANT to write more but I just… don’t… feel like it. Meh. So we’ll see. I might totally slack off my writing again and just devour pretty books… XD

(from Pinterest)

Then of course there’s Life Things. Y’know, that pesky category of stuff that keeps one from spending one’s life doing 24/7 bookish/writerly/internet things. Because clearly Life Things hasn’t gotten the memo about those being more important. HAHA.

And I want to catch up on all the lovely blog tags I’ve been given over the last like 6 months! So that may be a thing. You guys might in fact end up learning a super frightening amount of things about me through tags, so keep an eye out for that. 😉


How about you?? How was your May? And do you have plans for this month and/or for summer? Spill, spill!

Of Avengers and Moving Castles

I’ve been thinking about books and movies that I enjoy. You know how you have different moods and sometimes you feel like reading/watching one sort of book or movie, and other times they just don’t “sound good”?

Well, I have come to the conclusion that there is one book that I always want to read and one movie that I always want to watch.

I don’t think this necessarily means they are my “favorite” (since I think The Lord of the Rings probably takes that place for both books and film).

But this book and this movie, they are my comfort-food. My happy place. Stories and characters that I never tire of and am always happy to re-visit. I always feel like I’d like to dive back into them.

That One Book and That One Movie


For books, it’s Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, which I reread this month for the third time and loved even more than ever.


Thanks for that reassurance, Howl…


For movies, it’s The Avengers, which I rewatched last night for the gajillionth time.


Yeah, guys; you’re totally shocked, I know…

What is it about these two works? I don’t really know. All I know is I enjoy them immensely and even when I don’t feel like anything else, I feel like devouring them all over again.

They’re both extremely different. But they both have a good dose of humor, fabulous dialog, and casts of characters that I love intensely.

Howl’s Moving Castle


Howl is of course one of my favorite characters of all time and he’s hilarious and awesome. But I love the rest of the cast as well: fiery Sophie, literally-fiery Calcifer, helpful/adorable Michael, etc…. I just love them and their interactions and adventures so much! The plot is intriguing as well, the moving castle itself I love and want one. It helps that it’s my favorite genre: medieval fantasy in another world. It’s hysterically funny, but also epic and adventurous and just fabulous fantasy. And Howl. Because Howl.


The Avengers


Hawkeye is my favorite of the Avengers, hands-down. But after him, I refuse to pick a favorite because I love ALL of them so much. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Banner, Natasha… They’re each so fabulous. I love their interactions too, and it’s just great to see them hanging out and bickering or helping each other out… And I guess it’s my favorite movie genre? Action-adventure? I’ve never been much into superheroes, but I do enjoy the Avengers. And of course Hawkeye. Because Hawkeye.


I don’t know. I guess The Avengers and Howl’s Moving Castle just make me happy. ^_^

So I now have only two questions:

Do you have a “comfort-food” (separate from “favorite”) book, film, show etc. that just makes you happy and you never tire of re-reading/watching?

And why isn’t Age of Ultron out yet?


Movies of 2015 I’m Excited About

There are a few movies coming out this year that I’m SUPER excited about, so I thought today I’d share them with you!


Mar 13, 2015

I love fairytales, so it comes as no surprise that I’m really looking forward to this live-action version of Cinderella!

Plus, from what I can tell, it’s going to be absolutely BEAUTIFUL with the costumes and such… And there are several actors in it that I’ve seen before; it’s always fascinating to see people in different roles.

It seems that lately, people keep making fairytale movies, which is a trend I particularly like, and hope it will continue. Yay fairytale movies! 🙂


Beyond the Mask

Apr 6, 2014


I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am about this thing!!

The American Revolutionary War and masked men are two of my favorite things — so mix them together in an indie film by the Burns family (who did Pendragon: Sword of His Father) with thrilling action and awesome costumes, and John Rhys-Davies thrown in for good measure? YES PLEASE.

I’m dying to see Beyond the Mask, and if you aren’t yet, once you see the awesome trailer you probably will be too! 😉


Avengers: Age of Ultron

May 1, 2015

As you may have gathered from my last post, I kind of love the Avengers (especially Hawkeye), and let’s just say I’ve been looking forward to Avengers 2 ever since I saw the first one.

I’m also kinda terrified that it will be awful and/or that I’ll get mad or heartbroken about things, since I loved the first one so much, and since I love ALL the characters a ton…

But we shall see! I’m still extremely excited!! 😀


Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Dec 18, 2015

I wish there was a better poster for this one (and Avengers 2…) but things seem to still be under wraps except for the teaser trailer.

I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t feel extremely about Star Wars either way: I’m not a super-fan, nor am I one of the nay-sayers who doesn’t like Star Wars. I’ve always enjoyed them, in their way, but I’m not specifically passionate about which movies are the best (or worst) and whether the original trilogy or the prequels are better, etc.

I just… enjoy them as movies, and I’m looking forward to another Star Wars movie… especially with that cool new lightsaber. 😉


How about you?

Are you excited/nervous about any of these movies?

What films are you looking forward to? 🙂