April Ishness + Hiatus Notice

Hey guys! It’s May and I’m here with an Ishness post to recap Camp NaNo and my reading/watching/listening of April . . . and also to announce a blogging/social media hiatus for the rest of May.

Firstly . . . Camp NaNo!

WRITING: Camp NaNo

I successfully completed my Camp NaNoWriMo goal with 10,336 words! *throws confetti*

This was a really interesting Camp NaNo. It wasn’t technically a very large goal, but I’d been really stuck all year before Camp, so I’m just really happy I was able to make it — and, more importantly, to write regularly a couple times per week.

I usually try to stay ahead, but I also tend to binge-write a bit and then miss a few days. It was very noticeable this time and I joked all month about the staircase I was building. XD

But the fact that I was able to regularly sit down just twice weekly and get 2K in every week, despite how busy I was . . . this was a huge boost to my writing confidence and just happiness in general. It’s given me hope that I might be able to keep that up sometimes in the future!

It also really helped that I had a list of the upcoming scenes, and between that and wordwars with amazing friends, I made serious progress on Operation Foxtail, which has now passed 60K words! I’m. so. excited.

I also had a short story attack my brain near the end of the month. This story made me frantically type up notes and snippets on my phone at 2 a.m. XD Here’s hoping I can get back to that and see what comes of it! And I’m hoping to continue on Operation Foxtail as well, but we shall see.

Shout-out to my amazing cabin-mates! I had so much fun hanging out with so many awesome writers on the NaNo site. And thanks, too, to all the people who cheered me on over on my social media. So encouraging!

Overall, Camp NaNo was wildly successful and I’m happy I got about three chapters written and started a short story.

READING

Not a lot of reading happened, but what there was, I found to be absolutely lovely! You can read my brief thoughts on these on my book blog’s post.

WATCHING

I re-watched a handful of fun things:

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Always re-watch Bucky. πŸ˜€
  • The Dark Knight Rises — I’m fascinated to realize that I like this one better than The Dark Knight (even if Batman Begins is still my favorite). I always thought of this one as the dark one and kind of put off re-watching it, but the ending is actually fabulous and makes me happy. So it was just the memory of not knowing what was going to happen while watching it the first time, and how intense it was, that pegged this one as darker (to me). So I like it better than the Joker one, apparently. XD And Blake is awesome.
  • Despicable Me — This was fun to see again. XD (Not pictured.)
  • So . . . apparently superheroes, ish?

I also saw a DVD concert of Celtic Women, which was lovely! I’d picked it up at a library sale years ago and never watched it until now. It made me happy. πŸ™‚

And a smidge of NCIS, also not pictured.

LISTENING

  • I did actually follow through with my plan to listen to Andrew Peterson music. Help, I’ve fallen into this amazingness and can’t get up. Actually, don’t help, because I’m happy here. I listened to a lot of his music across several albums, particularly for Easter, and I love it so much!
  • Brittany Jean’s new album All the Love was another delightful thing I listened to last month! More happiness. πŸ™‚ Do check it out! ❀ (CD here. Links for online listening.) You can listen to the title song, All the Love, which is probably my favorite, on YouTube here! The songs are lovely and catchy and I often find them dancing through my head. πŸ˜€ (There’s even a gorgeous version of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman!) Brittany has a lovely voice and I’ve been enjoying her new songs muchly. ^_^
  • Also, Tide Lines had a new song, Innocent and Beautiful, and I listened to that several times. πŸ™‚ Go give it a watch. I believe they have a new album releasing this month. :O
  • I meant to listen to audiobooks again but . . . entirely failed at that. Whoops. XD

APRIL BLOGGING

Book reviews:

LIFE

For me, April was one of the busiest months ever, actually. I was quite occupied with work and copyediting (yes, both from home), and throwing Camp NaNo on there meant that I felt terribly busy basically every day of April. I’m kind of exhausted. πŸ˜›

Since there’s not much to share in the life category, here, have a couple of photography attempts and some Easter cake!

A genuine yellow rose of Texas. πŸ˜‰

Pretty!

Delicious.

MAY PLANS: HIATUS

I will leave you with today’s Instagram photo! I’m so glad I was able to get these lovely flowers the day before Hobby Lobby closed. o.o

Anyway, I’m really tired and just need to take a step back after running non-stop since basically September? I often end up taking hiatuses in May. XD

So I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of May, and also getting off of social media — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads . . .

But! You can absolutely still get in touch by email, and I’ll still be checking Messenger/Instagram DMs, etc.

(And there are a few book releases I’m super excited about . . . so I mayyyy pop back on for a couple of those; we’ll see how I’m feeling. XD)

Thanks for reading, and let me know in the comments how your April went! I love you all and I hope you have an amazing May, and I will see you on the other side!

Wander With Me

Good morning, my Roadlings! Happy Valentine’s Day! πŸ™‚

I’m doing something different today — reviewing a music CD!

I’ve been curious to try Brittany Jean’s music for awhile, so when I heard about her new album and a chance to review it, I decided to go for it. I’m so glad I did!

Wander With Me is a collection of Americana songs. There are nine original songs by singer/songwriter Brittany Jean — she’s so talented! — and two cover songs (of John Denver’s Wild Flowers in a Mason Jar, and Bob Dylan’s Forever Young) which are quite well done.

It’s like summer and sunshine and the dust of a country road, and heartbreak and laughter and life, and love and smiles and wandering.

My favorite songs are Smoke and Mirrors (haunting), Wander With Me (charming), and one gorgeous part of Rise and Fall (inspiring). I’ve been going around with lines from those three running through my head for a couple of weeks now and it’s fantastic. πŸ˜€ I know I’ve found some new favorites to listen to again and again!

Dear Heart, Like No Tomorrow, and Forever Young, were also lovely. I enjoyed the others too, even if they’re not top favorites. There are always a few that just click best with me. πŸ™‚ But there’s something for everyone, I think!

The instrumentation/style is unlike what I usually listen to (being mostly a Celtic music person with a side of Christian pop/rock) but it was actually neat to try something new for a change.

Brittany’s voice fills all the songs with a sort of down-to-earth, light enchantment. There’s so much spirit and warmth to her singing! And you can just tell the whole thing — the music, the singing, the words, and even the pretty packaging of the CD — is infused with love and care. πŸ™‚

I’ve heard the album a few times and it’s been nice having something different to listen to. The songs feel much more summer-y and it’s a little like some sunshine during this cold time of year. It feels like you should listen to them driving down a dusty country road with the window open and a warm summer breeze in your hair… Or, well, doing dishes works too, and it’s a nice accompaniment to otherwise mundane life chores, I’ve found. πŸ˜‰ Everything’s more fun with a friend, and that’s how I felt listening to this CD.

Anyway, although not all of it was my usual cup of tea, it’s lovely music and I’m so glad I decided to try it out. πŸ™‚ If you’re curious, I do recommend giving it a listen, particularly the title track (Wander With Me) and Smoke and Mirrors. If you like what you hear, check out the rest of the album! Won’t you wander with us?

“We rise / We fall / We climb / We stall / We lose / We win and then begin again /
We overcome / We come undone / We give it all…”

— Brittany Jean, “Rise and Fall” from “Wander With Me”

With thanks to the artist for the free copy of this CD.

You can visit Brittany Jean online at www.bjeanmusic.com or in these places:

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Spotify, and Instagram.

And you can find this album on her website, iTunes, and Amazon.

Well, readers — or should I say listeners? — what do you think? What sort of music do you love? Let me know in the comments! πŸ™‚