Sunshine Blogger Award

(photography by me)

I don’t know about you, but personally I could use a little sunshine during this cold time of year! So it’s fortunate that I was tagged by Daley Downing @ The Invisible Moth for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Thanks, Daley! ^_^

And I’ll get straight to the tag questions…

WHO IS THE ONE PERSON THAT IS THE SUNSHINE IN YOUR LIFE?

I’m going to steal Daley’s answer and say it’s not fair to make me choose. XD I will say my family (particularly my sister) and my lovely online friends (particularly Christine). I have SO many beautiful sunshine people who brighten my life, and chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them! ❤

DO YOU PREFER ALL HAPPY MOVIES, OR OCCASIONAL SAD MOVIES?

Definitely happy! I won’t mind if some of it’s sad as long as it turns out okay (and my favorite characters live. XD) but really sad ones are not my favorite.

WHAT IS THE ONE FOOD THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

(pinterest)

Fettuccine Alfredo or Chicken Tortellini — they’re the best! ❤ (And hey, strawberry Häagen-Dazs ice cream — that’s a food, right? 😉 )

WHAT IS THE SUNSHINE ON YOUR BLOG?

Any time someone reads my little scribbles and leaves a comment with their thoughts. I so appreciate you guys! ❤

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WACKY “FUN” DAY?

I… don’t know. Maybe kayaking, if we’re talking unusual kinds of fun. Or wandering around in bookstores and libraries.

Or, if I’m being honest, giving myself an internet/computer vacation and turning off my laptop for a day and giving myself permission to just read anything I want, not just books on my current need-to-read list. XD

(pinterest)

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?

I don’t go with the flow; I have to do things MY way, even if my opinions make me feel like I’m the only person who feels that way. XD

(quote from Captain America: Civil War. Image designed by me on Canva.com)

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY?

I love when people encourage each other and lift one another up, just being there and understanding. 🙂

WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE THE MOST?

(goodreads)

Howl’s Moving Castle can always be counted on to make me smile. ^_^

WHERE IS YOUR CORNER OF SUNSHINE IN YOUR HOME?

I love to curl up in my big comfy chair in my room and read or write or journal, or just stare at the books on my bookcase. And sometimes there will be a literal beam of sunshine on my bed, where I might curl up with my kitty and nap (particularly during NaNo. XD).

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS?

Forest green, and light blue. I’m also partial to silver and gold colors…

WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE (OR DRAMA) THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

How about the Pixar short film “La Luna”? That one ALWAYS does. ^_^

TAGGING:

I tag Jenelle, Madeline, Mary, and Christine, and anyone reading this who wants to! No pressure. 🙂 Just let me know if you do it so I can read your thoughts!

On a related note, if you like to be tagged for things, let me know in the comments below! I haven’t done one for awhile, so I’m a little rusty, and I’d like to know so that I might remember to tag those of you who want to be tagged, in the future! ^_^

Thanks for reading! ❤

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Blogoversary (4 Years!) + Giveaway!

Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, The Road of a Writer is turning 4 YEARS OLD!

*confetti*

*fireworks*

So I’m celebrating by reminiscing, sharing some numbers and links, and giving away some fantasy novels!

It’s crazy to think it’s been so long since I started this li’l ol’ online way-post on the writing road… It’s been quite a journey, I’ve learned so much along the way, and I’ve definitely been enjoying it. It’s grown so much that I had to start a spinoff blog just for my reviewing and bookish posts! I love blogging. ^_^

Thanks so much to all of you for reading The Road of a Writer, commenting, encouraging, and generally putting up with my shenanigans — it means a lot! I’m supposed to be a writer, but in this case I don’t think there are words to say how I feel about you all… So. JUST — THANK YOU. ❤ *virtual hugs and cupcakes all around*

The Stats

(Look who wished me a happy blogoversary. XD)

  • 4 years
  • 250 posts (yes, last week‘s was my 250th!)
  • 470 followers (plus linked Twitter followers, hence the 789 number on the side; full disclosure. XD)
  • 5,562 comments
  • 10,328 visitors
  • 33,910 views
  • 9,043,930,894,038,098 hours spent trying to find the right gifs (okay, I exaggerate slightly… *cough*)

Top commenters of late (I think based on the last 1000 comments?):

Most popular posts I’ve posted:

Most-viewed posts from this year (after the ones above):

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Here are some of my favorite posts from the past four years…

CHARACTER INTERVIEWS, ETC.

ABOUT MY SERIES (because I’m nostalgic. XD)

ABOUT MY FAVORITE BOOKS

ABOUT WRITING

ABOUT NANOWRIMO ADVENTURES

SOME FAVORITE WRITINGS OF MINE

The Giveaway

In the tradition of Hobbit birthdays, wherein Hobbits on their birthday give away presents to other people, I’m giving away four books to my lovely followers to say THANK YOU for being amazing and putting up with my shenanigans. 🙂 I’d like to share the love on some of my favorite fantasy novels, which is why I’ve chosen these to give away.

What I am giving away:

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (paperback; US)
  • The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead (paperback; US)
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (paperback; US)
  • Mossflower by Brian Jacques (paperback; US)

And alternate giveaway to enter internationally:

  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz (ebook; International)

Notes on each of these:

  • I do not entirely approve of the Hobbit movies, but I love this cover of The Hobbit all the same. XD If you’re not fortunate enough to have read this book yet, or don’t own a copy of your own, do enter this one! Or, ya know, if you already have a copy and want to give one as a gift to a friend/niece/nephew/neighbor/anybody — still enter! 😉
  • The Bone House is book 2 in the Bright Empires series, and I DO NOT recommend reading it unless you have read book 1, The Skin Map; but feel free to enter this one if you’ve read the first book and haven’t gotten around to the second yet (or, ya know, promise to get the first one and read it first. XD) — it’s one of my favorites! ^_^
  • The Book of Three is book 1 in the Prydain Chronicles; HIGHLY recommend; this is an ex-library book donated to Salvation Army, so it’s a readable copy and in good shape but with stickers/markings/etc.
  • Mossflower is a “prequel” to Redwall, but can stand alone, and it’s my favorite of the Redwall books. ❤
  • The paperback giveaway is for US residents only — sorry international peeps! I love you all the same! And to prove it, I also am giving away an ebook copy of The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz, so this one is open internationally!

You can enter via the form below — and you can pick which of the giveaways you would like to enter, so if you already have one or more of these, or for some reason do not wish to enter some of them, you can easily pick which one(s) you’d like to enter.

Details: Five winners — one for each book. Paperback giveaway open to US addresses only. Ebook giveaway open Internationally. (I’ve never tried giving away an ebook internationally so HOPEFULLY it will work…) Giveaways are open Monday, September 11 – Sunday, September 17, 2017. Winners will be listed here as an “EDIT” and also contacted by email, on Monday, September 18. So check back on this post on that day to see the winners!

EDIT: The winners have been chosen and contacted! Thanks so much to everyone who entered. 🙂

  • Winner of The Hobbit: Maddy
  • Winner of The Bone House: Savannah Grace
  • Winner of The Book of Three: Florid Sword
  • Winner of Mossflower: Emily Drown
  • Winner of The Beast of Talesend ebook: Skye

Thanks so much for coming with me all this way, my dearest Roadlings! ❤ You’re legit the best! ^_^ *group hug*

Ishness of NaNo 2016

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November NaNoWriMo 2016

(What do you mean, the month is called November? Pssh. It’s obviously been wrongly informed on that count and has been renamed NaNoWriMo. *nods*)

Hello, Roadlings! It being December somehow (whaaat?) I’m thinking it’s about time for another post about all the ishness I got up to this November!

Instead of having a sub-division here called WRITING, let me just tell you all about my NaNo this month, because NOVEMBER IS ALL ABOUT THE WRITING.

There will be non-NaNo-related stuff (whaaat?? That happens?) afterwards later on in the post. ^_^

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So… the month started off on a slightly down note, when I ended up losing hundreds of words on the first day of NaNo due to my laptop getting unplugged and the fact that I was not yet acquainted with Scrivener’s backup systems. That was… a bit of a downer, I’ll admit. (I got a new battery that doesn’t die in five minutes, and a better power cable that didn’t fall out every two seconds, and started regularly backing up my novel after that. Highly recommended.)

But after that, other than the daily struggle to come up with exactly what to write (since other than a very rough outline/list of chapters, I was basically pantsing each chapter) and the occasional downs that come with a month full of busyness and having to write 50,000 words… it was really a great NaNo, overall!

I wrote 51,134 words of The Library in the Stars (the NaNo site says less than that, due to their different wordcounter, but pfft, I’m totally going with mine. ;)) and wrote 7589 words on November 27 (my personal record other than the last day of my first NaNo back in 2010, which was just over 8K) and FINISHED NANO. Three days early, at that.

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Bucky helped me to keep my wordcount on track. ^_^ Picture not mine: gorgeous Bucky art belongs to Svenja Gosen — check out her AMAZING wordcount spreadsheets with awesome fandom etc. art. ❤

I didn’t fall behind on my wordcount at all! This was my first time in seven years of NaNos to stay on track the entire month, and let me tell you, it. felt. good. I even got to take a few days off from writing in there, which was glorious. I’m very much of a sprint writer. I would much rather write 3K in a day and then skip the next day than have to write the necessary 1667 words every. single. day. Honestly, the idea of writing several days in a row exhausts me more than writing 3.5K two days and then 4K another day and getting to take off four days that week in amongst that (an actual example).

lscoverNumbers aside… it was fun to write this story! I mean, it was totally confusing too, and ended up nothing like I expected, but the characters were fun, and writing a sci-fi-ish story (admittedly a heavily fantasy version) and a bunch of different plot threads and dabbling slightly with time travel all presented very interesting challenges! It will be interesting to see how the rest of the story ends up and how edits will change it…

(Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry, there will be snippets. Just… I have to find them first, so that might take awhile. Expect some hopefully next week, though! ^_^)

Scrivenerrrr ❤

I used Scrivener for the first time, to write my NaNo novel, and it’s officially my precioussss and I love it, and ended up getting the actual program with my NaNo coupon. I’m very very excited. Honestly, it was SO useful for setting daily goals (the little progress bar in the corner!) and for organizing my chapters to write, and being able to focus on one day’s writing at a time, or a chapter at a time, or looking at the whole thing. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUUUUCH. ❤

Wordsprints

Another life-saver was the group wordsprint feature the NaNo site debuted this year. I just loved being able to sprint with people in person or online (I used it at my write-ins with great success), and even if no one else was doing it, it was SO helpful for me. I loved being able to have the countdown open in one window and Scrivener in another (with my fast music, of course — a necessity) so that I could be typing and aware of how much time was left (and the wordcount at the bottom of Scrivener was helpful too, since I could make a new sub-document for a wordsprint and vaguely assess how far into the sprint I was).

That last day, I was writing 900 words in 20 minutes with the help of the NaNo wordsprint timer and Scrivener and my fast music.

Roadlings mine, I average 1K per hour.

I have NEVER in my LIFE written that much at once.

Seriously, this was just amazing. (I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to express how mind-blown I am and how wonderful wordsprints and Scrivener and fast music are.)

Oh yeah, did I mention fast music? Skillet, Newsboys, Skyworld, and Colton Dixon helped me out with that. Never underestimate the help of such things for typing faster. 😛

Playlist for 2016 NaNo

(miscellaneous inspiring music or just what I felt like at the time)

  • Feel Invincible — Skillet
  • Stars — Skillet
  • I Want to Live — Skillet (Damian’s themesong)
  • That’s How You Change the World — Newsboys
  • Restart — Newsboys
  • Go Glow — Newsboys
  • In and Out of Time — Colton Dixon (essential for any time-travel novel)
  • Walk on the Waves — Colton Dixon
  • Limitless — Colton Dixon
  • Aurora — John McCutcheon (I have a character named this. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Skyworld — Two Steps From Hell (Strange band name, but this is my traditional wordwar melody ever since 2014)
  • Hard to Find — Skillet
  • Sleepsong — Secret Garden
  • Savin’ Me — Nickelback
  • Northern Lights — Gaelic Storm
  • This Time — Cara Dillon
  • Never in a Million Years — Cara Dillon
  • Tell Your Heart to Beat Again — Danny Gokey
  • Dream Song — Nordik Fire
  • Starkindler — Michael Card
  • Wintersong — John McCutcheon
  • Lord of the Dance soundtrack (particularly “Lament” and also “Warriors” and “Gypsy”)

Other NaNo/Life Things

I was also an ML for my region, on my own for the first time, and survived/stayed on top of that, which pleases me muchly. I had like six writing events so… I’m kind of amazed that I managed to stay on top of things. (This introvert doesn’t always get a lot done when having to go places…) So I organized a NaNo region, held writing meetings, ran a forum, and sent out weekly peptalks, all by myself, and lived. I’m very pleased and thankful on this count.

Speaking of meetings… I got to meet Claire Banschbach!! She’s awesome, FYI. ❤ And also hang out with a few other homeschooled authors, which was so fun. ^_^

Oh and I caught a cold! Right when I hit 50K, basically. So I spent the last three days of NaNo doing things like reading, Not Writing, and flipping through Howl’s Moving Castle for all the parts where Howl has a cold (not to mention other parts, because I’m easily distracted). Yes, this is a continual occurrence when I catch colds. I’m not even sorry.

BOOKS

Notice how I cleverly disguised this section as “Books” instead of “Reading”

  • A library sale happened, which was glorious as usual, and involved my snagging some fairytale retellings including some for Tam Lin and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, among other intriguing-looking books. …My to-read bookcase has become crammed to the point where I mayyy have to avoid library booksales until I read a lot more. (I never thought I’d say that.)
  • Book mail! I don’t know about you, but book mail is one of the joys of my life, rare though it may be. ❤ Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the copy of The Silent Songbird, and thanks to Jill Williamson for the copy of Project Gemini I won in her bimonthly giveaway on her website!

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I also actually (gasp!) managed to READ three books during November! :O What is this nonsense? Reading doesn’t happen during NaNo, does it?? Evidently it did this time, which makes me pretty pleased.

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  • The Silent Songbird  was delightful and I reviewed it (Little Mermaid retelling, huzzah!).
  • Crooked Kingdom… how am I conflicted about thee…? let me count the ways. Clever but dark and with Things I’m Very Displeased About, but I love the characters and writing and I’ll admit I really enjoyed it but I can’t/won’t recommend it to anybody… (I have no idea what to rate this thing somebody halp)
  • Ghostly Echoes… only one of my top anticipated reads of the year… and I still haven’t decided what I think of this one either. Wut.

Basically I read three books that came out very recently and have fairly confused feelings about two of them and what even is this reading life where I have to have concrete opinions on things.

But I’m so happy I got to read them, and not fall behind on NaNo in the process, so yay!

Blogging

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On my book blog:

Around here:

December Plans

Whenever December hits, I have this delusion that after my month-long writing journey of epicness and exhaustion, I should totally get to take a whole month to relax. I mean, it stands to reason, right?? But noooo, apparently life doesn’t work that way. (I want it to. Let me live in my delusions.)

I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-possibly-perhaps may have neglected many things during November (it happens, Roadlings), so I have much catching up to do, as well as Christmas things. Basically, this month I am ALL OF THE BUSY.

On top of which, I really should turn this month into NaBeReMo (National Beta-Reading Month) or something like that, with all the books I promised to read and haven’t yet. We’ll see how that goes. Wish me luck!

And, oh yes, I have a review for Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales coming to the blog later this week, and some snippets hopefully next week, and I’m finishing out the year with a couple more tags, so at least there are a few things going on around the blog — I can’t wait! And then it will be the new year (2017??) and WHAT EVEN IS TIME. *collapses*

Anyhoo, that’s what’s up with me. I’m off to go see about some of that busy-December stuff. *picks nervously at mile-long to-do list*

*I accidentally typed that as “mile-long suit.” Apparently I have Howl on my mind. Because of when Sophie accidentally made his suit too big:

“Oh dear!” said Michael. “Howl, it was my fault I–”

“Your fault? Garbage!” said Howl. “I can detect Sophie’s hand a mile off. And there are several miles of this suit.”

— Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

HMC

I will leave you with that. *proceeds with dignity to wade away wrapped in mile-long to-do list*

More Infinity Dreams

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11 Tag (Infinity Dreams Award)

I was tagged by Candice @ O Ye Scribes for this tag quite awhile ago, and the questions look like a bunch of fun! Thanks, Candice! ^_^

Rules

  • Use the Infinity Dreams Award picture
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Tell us 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Tag 11 bloggers

1. What is the last song you listened to?

Into the Open Air from the Brave soundtrack by Patrick Doyle.

2. What’s your favorite dessert?

Lemon pie or chocolate cake or cupcakes.

3. Do you believe in reading more than one book at a time?

Yes and no. Sometimes I get into a stretch where I am in too many books at once, so I get stressed out and vow to only read one book at a time. Other times I try to read one book at a time but get excited about a bunch of other books which I then HAVE to start! It really depends on my mood. I like both ways at different times.

4. How many books do you plan to read this year?

As many as I can. 😛 (Okay, at least 75, I hope.)

5. Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter because I don’t have a Facebook. 😉 (But actually GOODREADS. Goodreads is better than either! <3)

6. Avocados or kale?

Avocados. I don’t like kale. 😛

7. Where you do like to read?

In my comfy chair in my room, on my bed, or occasionally outside or in the car.

8. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

Interacting with commenters! Also the moment when I have a post all finished and looking nice and post it. 🙂

9. Who is your favorite historical figure?

Harumph. Um. I’m just going to say Tolkien and move on… >.>

10. What is the best way to deal with writer’s block?

Take a break from writing, or else figure out why you’re stuck and what needs to happen next.

11.  Favorite thing about spring?

The world slowly greening and coming out of its long, cold winter sleep.

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So, what about you, readers of mine? Any answers to these? Feel free to answer the most interesting questions in the comments, or take any you like over to your blog and consider yourself tagged!

I’m Baaack! (All the Augustishness)

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August 2016

Hello, my roadlings! I’m back from hiatus. ^_^ …Though I didn’t do as much hiatus-ing as I planned. *coughcough*

Life-ing

It was overall a busy month and I spent a lot of it catching up on things instead of relaxing… Eheh. Because apparently I make sense like that…?

EH. Whatever. I WILL NEVER PRETEND TO UNDERSTAND MYSELF BECAUSE I’M JUST TOO CONFUSING. Ahem.

ANYWAY, I did catch up on reviews and reading for review, so that’s a relief. 🙂 I love reading books for review and beta-ing and stuff but sometimes it gets a bit much… There’s one book I hope to read for review in the next month or two (I CAN’T WAIT. :D), but other than that I’m hoping to officially take a break from review copies and beta-reading (once I catch up on a few beta-books I’ve currently got on my list, which I’m excited about).

I’ve just been focusing so much on reading things for other people that I haven’t been able to read for ME, and I’ve also noticed that my writing has seriously suffered for it. Balance and I do not really work together very well… so I need to work on that. But a break sounds kind of nice. I JUST WISH I HAD TIME TO DO EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE BECAUSE I WOULD LOVE TO IF I COULD BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE TIIIIIME. D:

Also! This happened:

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Actual conversation Jackaby and his author William Ritter had with me. It was glorious.

 

Writing

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I actually didn’t end up focusing on writing at all, but I did manage to write a couple thousand words of The Other Half of Everything snippets, as well as some plotting for that and a couple other things. Teague and Meridian make me happy. ^_^

S&Scover4A character in my steampunk/fantasy fairytale-retelling of The Little Mermaid, The Siren and the Skyship, informed me that I had gotten his name wrong and told me the correct one. Don’t you just love it when that happens? 😛

I also happened to dream about 3 different stories of mine this month, which I’m calling a win. Even if I wasn’t writing, at least there was no lack of reminding me that I should have been, even in my sleep. XD

In all honesty though, I’m just kind of kicking back from pushing myself on my writing currently. It’s been a slow year but that’s okay and I think I just might need some time to not stress over it. We’ll see what happens.

Also, August 31st marked the 8-year anniversary of finishing my first novel! So that was exciting. 🙂 Can you believe 2008 was 8 years ago? (Where does time even go??)

Snippet

OHEcover“We’ll go find some pastries and coffee. Celebrate, remember?” Teague said.

“You never drink coffee,” I objected.

“How do you know? Sometimes I do.”

“You said it’s an over-used cliché about writers and you abhor it, or some such.”

Teague looked taken aback. “I did not,” he protested.

“You did.”

“Well . . . I may have said something of the kind once. But I don’t honestly mind coffee. I do drink it sometimes.”

“You drink tea, though. That’s another writer cliché. Or so I hear.”

“Everyone drinks tea,” Teague remarked placidly. “It’s like breathing.”

— from The Other Half of Everything

Reading

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I… shall get a reading roundup post up on my book blog later this week, methinks. ‘Twas a very interesting month of reading! O_O I seem to be reading a strange collection of books these days. XD

An FBI mystery, an epic fantasy (reread) and modern fantasy both by Diana Wynne Jones, finally reading Emma by Jane Austen, The Bone House (book #2) continuing the series by Stephen Lawhead that started off with The Skin Map (EEP. ❤ ), and a historical fiction Christian romance, as well as some beta-reading. These all managed to snag 4 or 5 stars, so it was a good reading month. 🙂

Of course, it’s a liiittle bit sad that I was just one book short of finishing my “official” Goodreads reading-goal of 60 books for the year… But since I’m kinda-sorta hoping to read 75 books if I can (shhh, don’t tell anyone) I guess that’s okay. 😉

Blogging

You may or may not have noticed that I did a bit of design tweaking around here! New header, new blog button (feel free to borrow. XD), and an overall lighter look. I’m so happy with it. ^_^ *twirls around*

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I even added a page I’ve been meaning to do for quite awhile, a page of my reviews — so you can check that out if you wish (if nothing else, for all the pretty covers. ;)).

I was on hiatus (ish) this month, but I still got a few needful posts up… (I know they’re long titles, for which I apologize. XD)

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Lately on my book blog:

September plans

My September’s going to be REALLY busy… I don’t know how that’s going to go.

But I have some really exciting things going on here on the blog this month, which I will be ANNOUNCING ON FRIDAY! …What, why would I announce it now? Of course I’m not announcing it now. Not when I can keep you in suspense instead…

So stay tuned…

September’s right on the edge of prep-for-NaNo season, so I’d better get things done this month before October arrives and sweeps me away. 😉

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S SEPTEMBER??? THERE ARE LESS THAN 2 FULL MONTHS BEFORE NANO ARRIVES. LIKE. WHAT. HOW DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO US HONESTLY.

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(I will also take this opportunity to quietly freak out in a corner about the fact that I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I’M WRITING FOR NANO THIS YEAR — WHAT EVEN IS THIS NONSENSE.)

Ahem.

So that’s what’s been up with me! How about yourselves? Did you survive without me while I was on hiatus? (Haha, just kidding. XD) What have you been up to in August?

Have a splendid week, roadlings, and I’ll see you back here on Friday . . ! (I’m such a tease. ;))