A Kedran’s Wood Christmas

Hey guys! I have a couple announcements and then I want to share a snippet of a Tare and Chess Club Christmas scene with y’all!

NaNo Post

Firstly, if you missed it, I talked about how my 10th NaNo went in this post!

(It didn’t go out to inboxes because I accidentally scheduled it to post November 9th instead of December 9th… while it was December. Further proof of how dead I was after NaNo. *headdesk* Anywayyy…)

Blogging Hiatus

Secondly, I’ll be taking a blogging break for the next couple of weeks to enjoy the holidays, so this will probably be my last post of the year . . . and decade. :O

I will (hopefully) see y’all in 2020 with some recaps or something.

About this Snippet

Okay, on to the story behind this post!

This spring, I finished my Kedran’s Wood story set at Christmas-time (like I’m hoping to finish my Kedran’s Wood novella set in the spring . . . sometime this month if I can . . . which is Christmas-time. The irony).

But since it’s 145K words and book 2 in the (contemporary fantasy) series, and rather a mess, it’s going to be . . . awhile until such things as publishing or whatever is going to happen with it, happens. XD

However! Since I did finish it, that means I have actual Christmas scenes! With my characters!

(Not just a blog tag interview with my characters like I did last year for my Other Half of Everything peeps. Which was tons of fun and you should go read if you missed it. XD *I just re-read it myself and honestly had a BLAST* *cough*)

I wanted to share something Christmas-y with you guys here on my blog, and thought that a bit of Chess Club and Tare Christmas-spirit would be a fun thing to share. ^_^

Disclaimer: This is from a first draft. It’s also near the end of the book, and more happens before and after it. I also redacted a couple of spoilers. But it stands alone pretty well as an adorable Christmas scene with some of my favorite characters, and I hope y’all enjoy it. 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my dear blog readers!


Excerpt from the end of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2), work-in-progress by Deborah O’Carroll

They followed Tare and found themselves suddenly in a clearing surrounded by pines and firs, snow covering the ground, and in the very center grew a tall fir tree, decked out in glowing splendor—literally.

Soft white and yellow lights sparkled all over it, with a few garlands and red or gold or white globe decorations and other minor items hanging here and there, tastefully, with a white angel at the very top, and still some snow on it from the light dusting earlier that evening.

It was just the right time of night when it was not fully dark and the sky was velvet-midnight-blue and scattered with a few beginning stars, but it was dark enough to appreciate the radiant tree lighting up the clearing and bathing their upturned faces in golden light.

“So remember what I told you about being too busy to decorate?” Tare said. “And how I didn’t have a Christmas tree?”

“Trees live outside,” Lavender whisper-laughed.

He glanced at her. “Exactly.”

“It’s beautiful,” Robin breathed in awe.

“It’s perfect,” Marie said.

And several others murmured something along those lines.

“I figured it wasn’t much good for one person . . .” Tare said, folding his arms and looking up at it. “It kind of needs a few. So. That’s what I wanted to show you guys.”

“It’s like your gift to the Chess Club, huh?” Baz said.

Tare got a shifty look. “Maybe,” he said, and added, “[redacted] helped. A little.”

“Where is [redacted]?” Adrian asked.

“Off doing mysterious [redacted] or something.”

“Goodness knows you know nothing about going off and being all mysterious,” Ivy said.

“Exactly.” Tare either missed the point, or missed it on purpose.

Small Occasion was straining at his leash in Mr. Larch’s grip, trying to get closer to the tree—all the sparklies and hanging things that might be chewable! (There had been some small wars between Small and the tree in Mr. Larch’s house, which had resulted in it being blocked off where Small couldn’t get at it to attack it with his joy and love.)

“Well. Go look at it if you want. It’s not fragile,” Tare said, making shooing motions with one hand.

They laughed and moved forward, away from where they’d been clustered at the very edge of the clearing, to look at Tare’s Christmas tree. It was even more beautiful up close, simple but so elegant, and so perfect in this setting. Tare had brought Christmas into Kedran’s Wood.

“Oh, there are chess piece ornaments! How absolutely perfect!” Robin said.

Tare coughed. “Those are actually . . . for you guys.”

Everyone looked at him and blinked.

Tare crossed his arms tighter and went on, “They’re not ornaments, they’re necklaces, and I made them for you.”

All eyes blinked at him for a moment and he looked more uncomfortable than Lavender had ever seen him.

“Oh—!” She and Ivy apparently had the same idea and both spontaneously lunged toward him.

His awkward look vanished, replaced with alarm, and he staved them off by hastily raising both hands defensively. “Ah, no. I don’t do hugs. That’s too much like—you know—getting attacked. I might kill you or something. You never know.”

Ivy snorted. “Sure.” But she and Lavender respected his distance and reversed course.

“This one has your name on it, Adrian!” Jake called excitedly, looking around on the branches.

“Coming,” Adrian said, and walked past Tare, giving him a friendly slap on the shoulder, grinning.

Tare half-dodged it but didn’t seem to mind terribly, and stood by, watching with arms folded again.

There was something of a fun treasure hunt scramble as everyone searched the branches of the Christmas tree for the little natural-wood-colored chess pieces hanging on silver chains, with names carved around their bases, and everyone matched up everyone else with the proper names.

Small got loose and happily galloped around and around the base of the tree, yapping and joining in the noises of laughter. Finally everyone had their chess necklace and tilted them toward the Christmas tree light to examine them.

They were all the chess pieces except the pawns: Mr. Larch’s was a king piece, Robin’s a queen. Adrian and Ivy had knight pieces, Baz and Lavender bishops—“because I’m a saint and/or my head-slash-mind is so sharp,” Baz said, nodding wisely and causing much eye-rolling—and the Valerian siblings each had rook pieces.

“There have got to be some lonely pawns back at your place to complete the set,” Mr. Larch said with a grin.

“Nooo,” Tare said, “because I carved these which means they are the set.”

Everyone blinked at him again.

“You carved these?” Baz yelped.

“What?” Tare shrugged. “I had to have something to do all those sleepless nights to avoid nightmares. I do have some skills besides killing monsters and freaking you guys out whenever I use technology. So. Those are my gift to the Chess Club,” Tare clarified.

“They’re perfect—thank you!” Everyone said their thanks and Tare looked at his feet and muttered something—and it was a little too dark to be sure but he might have been smiling.

Lavender clutched hers and thought she was probably glowing as much as the tree. She hung the chess piece necklace around her neck and the others began to as well.

“You don’t have one, though,” Adrian said, once everyone was wearing theirs.

Tare held up his hands. “Fine with me. I’m not the Chess Club.”

“Yeah, but you’re like an honorary member,” Ivy said.

“Maybe,” Baz said, “but we’re ‘the Chess Club and Tare,’ and if Tare was one of us it would just be ‘the Chess Club’ and that’s not quite as cool.”

“It is really bothering me that I keep agreeing with him,” Tare muttered. “Got one thing wrong, though. It’s Tare and the Chess Club, not the other way around.”

They laughed and agreed, even Baz.

A peaceful quiet settled over the snowy glade and they wandered slowly around, just looking contentedly at the tree together in silence. Even Small had gone silent, since Robin had picked him up.

It was almost Christmas Eve. Despite the cold, the tree’s glow lit their faces and their hearts. The wood sighed in the breeze around them and the stars shone.

Someone started singing Silent Night. Slowly, everyone else picked it up and joined in—except Tare, who seemed a little distracted—standing in a ring around the Christmas tree and filling the glade with their soft voices.

Junely Ishness + Snippets + Hiatus

Hello, my Roadling friends! *tackle hug for everyone and also cookies*

It seems to be August.

*cue explosion of the world at this shattering news because it really should still be March*

*tries to recover from the tricks Time has been playing on us this year*

Ahem. Anyways. August.

Aaand that means it’s time for another Ishness since it’s been a couple months since I did one. Or rather, it’s been the-long-month-that-starts-with-Ju, namely June/July which for our purposes I’m calling Junely.

Three things for this post:

  • Junely Ishnesses (because you love me and hearing about my oh-so-interesting life)
  • Snippets! (From my impromptu Camp NaNo. Because I love you and am nice like that.)
  • Also, I’m hiatusing. Kinda.

Hiatus

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In brief, July was very busy. I spontaneously did Camp NaNo in July, which I did NOT have time for; plus life was crazy; I’m behind on things like reading and reviewing; the Silmarillion Awards were very busy and bloggy; not to mention I’m recovering from a weeklong sunburn; and I’m just BEHIND and very, very tired.

So! I kind of need a vacation, and the only one I’m going to get is from my self-imposed deadlines etc. like blogging and writing. I’m therefore proposing doing less internet, probably taking a break from blogging here (though I might post reviews on my other blog because I have some of those to catch up on), and taking a writing break.

Essentially, I’m giving myself permission to be online less and hoping to stress myself out less too. So if you see less of me, that will be why.

I’m trying to catch up on a few internet things in the next few days and otherwise cutting back. But I hope to return with some fun blogging topics in September. 🙂 (If not sooner, if I get inspired…) And remember that I’ll probably be reviewing books on the side. Probably.

Onward to the Ishness!

Writing

Not a lot of writerliness happened in June… I wrote about a thousand words (including Other Half of Everything fun!) and kinda-sorta decided on what I might write for NaNo this November… maybe. But otherwise, my writerly life was stalling and it was kind of frustrating. Until just before July hit…

Then I spontaneously signed up for Camp NaNo in July (largely due to Sarah; thank you! XD). THIS WAS NOT PART OF MY PLAN. But I’m glad I did. I decided to try an HOURS goal, which I’d never done and is a new feature. I was going to try 15 hours… buuut apparently they only let you put in a number as low as 30 (probably to figure out their graph algorithms or something), so I had to do that.

I made it, but it was hard. It did allow me to make progress on things besides first-draft words, though. I’M A HUGE ADVOCATE OF HOURLY GOALS NOW.

Here’s what I accomplished for Camp:

The Numbers:

30 hours total

14,468 new words total

  • 7K on 3 short stories
  • 5.5K on KW stuff
  • 300 words OHE
  • 1.5K SilmAwards presentation
  • Edited about 45K worth of words

The Accomplishments:

  • Finished a short story: Invisible Beauty
  • Started The Treasure of A Distant Storm
  • Started The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld
  • Wrote SilmAwards Heroine presentation (counting this; essentially fanfiction. XD)
  • Some minor Other Half of Everything snippets
  • Major progress on KW2 for the first time in a long time — finished a chapter that had been giving me major trouble, and started another. SO EXCITED.
  • Snippet of KW3
  • Edited Invisible Beauty
  • Edited above other stuff as I wrote it
  • Went through all my short stories — including IB — and edited them again (eight stories; nearly 35K total). I’d been meaning to do this for awhile.
  • Majorly restructured/re-titled my Starrellian epic fantasy series books — VERY excited!!!!
  • Solved some structural problems for a KW novella — yay!
  • Various plotting on a few other story ideas
  • Indexing some references/notes for KW books and OHE in my writing journals — which I’d been meaning to do for AGES; call it research, since I have oodles of notes spread across several notebooks and needed to find those notes in order to write those stories…

WHEW. I was especially pleased that I could count all those as “official” parts of my writing hours, because many of them are things that were rather time consuming, but I’d been wanting to do, and are equally helpful to my writing as first-draft words are (like major plotting, editing, finding notes). Too often, I only consider ACTUAL words “progress” and sometimes the quality suffers for that. XD The variety also kept it interesting and less overwhelming. I FEEL VERY ACCOMPLISHED AND I’M VERY HAPPY. ^_^ Also exhausted, hence the hiatus, but still happy. 😀

Will share snippets at the end of the post…

Reading

In June, I did ALL THE READING and actually finished my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year.

In July, I did much less reading because I was doing ALL THE WRITING.

That said, I read these beauties… (Listed in reverse order)

I love how, on the bottom row, it looks like The Archer is shooting an arrow across a planet — whizz! — and shooting a star out of the sky as a dog (a.k.a. Sirius), and probably landing in that forest where Martin and Elodie are looking for him or something. XD

I so enjoyed nearly all of these! My top faves, however, were Where the Woods Grow Wild, Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry, and Halayda and The Tomb of the Sea Witch (both of which I intend to review soon). So, so good, all four! ❤

Watching

  • Doctor Strange [2016] — Yes, I finally saw this for the first time! It was… interesting. I loathe hospital scenes on-screen, sooo I wasn’t a fan of a lot of it. *cough* But otherwise, it was quite fun! 🙂 And I loooved the timey things, and the credits-scene with Thor. XD (Also, Holmes from Sherlock and Irene Adler from the Downey Jr. movies. MADE MY DAY.) (Also, also: what’s with Benedict’s non-British accent, though?? THAT’S, LIKE, A CRIME.) (Also, also, also: I want the Cloak of Levitation, please.)
  • Superman Returns [2006] — Very… weird, but kind of enjoyable, I guess? Some classic Superman stuff to educate me about Superman. XD *shrug*
  • Despicable Me [2010] — Very strange, sometimes annoying, sometimes funny and cute. XD
  • Studio C — As per usual. 😛 Matt’s characters are my favorite; he’s hilarious. XD

Blogging Highlights

The biggest thing, of course, for me lately, has been the Silmarillion Awards! Which I had a blast with! 🙂

In the last two months, I also…

And I reviewed these books (click the covers to read the reviews):

             

Life-ing

I finished my first Bullet Journal, or bjournal as I abbreviate it (since it sounds more Nordic and awesome than BuJo; because banjos and I don’t get on) and started a new one.

This one has a cat on the front, captioned (on the back) “Max, Out on a Limb”. The picture is a fairly accurate depiction of how I feel most of the time. XD

This is “Max, Out in a Hurricane”… XD

I went kayaking and had a blast save for said dreadful week-long sunburn, so that was fun. 😛 Going to a lake did provide excellent photoshoot opportunities for The Tomb of the Sea Witch which I was reading that weekend though. 😀

I also did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I drew art! Specifically, fan-art for the Ilyon Chronicles contest. I actually had a lot of fun; I should draw more often.

Jace and his wolf Tyra

(Disclaimer: before anyone bombards me with “YOU’RE READING THE ILYON CHRONICLES? WHADDAYA THINK???”… I read Half-Blood and started Resistance awhile back and haven’t finished it due to life. I HAVE therefore met Jace and Tyra, however I haven’t read an entire one of the “big” books in the series. So don’t ambush me, please. XD)

And now what you’ve been waiting for (maybe)…

SNIPPETS

These are an assortment of snippets from various novels and short stories I was working on during Camp. Enjoy!

The Treasure of A Distant Storm (TOADS for short. XD)

“Hallo, Henley,” he said, almost cautiously. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Henley found herself sighing. “Neither did I.”

His suppressed excitement burst forth like a hurricane from a mailbox. “You’ve come back to say you’re sorry!” he exclaimed, in raptures.

Henley rewarded him with a glaring frown. “I. Have. Not. Done anything of the sort,” she said icily.

“Oh.” His face fell, then briefly perked hopefully up again. “You’ve come back to have me say I’m sorry?” he suggested uncertainly.

***

“When I heard you talking it sounded like an argument. Actually like a lovers’ quarrel or . . . ah . . . a . . . er . . . a something . . .” He trailed off as his face turned very white under the glacial stare both other occupants of the room were directing at him. “I’ll just . . . Yeah, I’ll just go.” He vanished and hastily closed the door.

A long Arctic silence built itself like an iceberg between the two occupants of the room.

The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld (TTPP for short)

Jenson Hillsong didn’t mind oddness, eccentricity, or tendencies to terrify—much—which was why he had gone to work for Lord Perrifeld as his apprentice.

Lord Perrifeld was not only a prestigious person, he was also an enchanter, and enchanters need apprentices the way large, gnarled, frightening trees need quiet dark shadows.

Jenson rather resembled a quiet dark shadow in his manners and dress, and Perrifeld Manor was up the lane among a great many of such similar large, gnarled, frightening trees, twisting this way and that through the winding fog that drifted through the shadows.

It was just past autumn, and just before winter set on, in the between-time when trees have forgotten their leaves, clouds have not yet remembered the snow, and the air is vaguely considering sending people scurrying for thicker coats soon—but not yet, not yet.

KW2 (“The Secret of Kedran’s Wood”, for the uninitiated)

Up and down some zig-zagging alleys Tare ran, across frozen asphalt with the sound of doomed-to-fall-behind pursuit behind him. Tare knew these streets like the back of his hand; better, since he’d spent more time wandering them than he had staring at his hand (he’d always thought that saying was idiotic; Baz probably loved it).

***

“What happened?”
“Tare happened,” Adrian said curtly.

***

When school got out on Wednesday, marking the official beginning of the official winter holidays, the Chess Club members had to decide what to do with their new-found freedom. At least, the ones who were still in school did, that is—leaving out Adrian, Mr. Larch, and of course Small Occasion; those three were busy with their jobs, namely: working at the mechanic shop, working at the cafe, and being adorably cute at Mr. Larch’s house while pining for Chess Club members to arrive to play with, respectively.

KW3 (I know, I haven’t even finished book 2… *cough*)

“I swear, if I find out there is even one more secret about you—” Baz warned.

Tare looked at the ceiling. “They’re not secrets. They’re just things I haven’t told you about.”

***

Tare grinned wryly. “Be my guest.”

“We are. We are,” Baz replied, glancing around at Tare’s home.

“You walked right into that one,” Ivy said, patting Tare’s shoulder as she walked past.

Tare almost imperceptibly tensed briefly, but remained leaning casually against the wall. “Maybe I meant to.”

“But—that would mean—” Ivy began, then broke off and shook her head, dismissing her thought before she finished.

It was too ridiculous to suppose that Tare would ever purposefully create a pun possibility for Baz.

Wasn’t it?


And there you are. How’s your summer going? Thanks for reading, and I will see you again in September — or sooner! 🙂

My Year in Writing {2016}

2016writingpost

2017.

A new year.

2017 always sounded like one of those far-away numbers, you know? Just fancy it being here now!

Time, my roadlings. Time is mysterious.

This last year of 2016 was in many ways a tough year for me, but filled with good things too. 🙂

If you’d like to see my Top 12 Books I Read in 2016 and other miscellaneous info about my reading life this last year, you can check out my post on my book blog! You know, in case you’re curious. 😉

This post, however, is all about my year of writing! (I know, I know, you would never have guessed from the title…)

2016 Writing

I wrote 71,854 words in 2016. Which… is less than my usual 100K, but I will be thankful for it. 😉

Since 51K of that was NaNo, my non-NaNo writing amounted to 20,720 words… which is why I feel like it was a slow year. Most months I was writing 2K in a month, which… well, let’s just say I won’t get my enormous 100K+ monster books written in a hurry at this rate. But all the same, I’m very pleased with the writing I DID get done, and I think I needed a slower, casual year of writing anyway. We’ll just go with that.

WRITING THAT I DID…

lscover

I started The Library in the Stars and wrote 51,000 words of that — huzzah! (Now I just need to write the ending. *cough*)

OHEcover

I “officially” started The Other Half of Everything, wrote part of the first chapter, and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? 6,000 words this year.

KW2coverP

Filled in holes in The Secret of Kedran’s Wood and did editing on a few chapters and officially finished the first draft of Part 1! *celebration* I also started the next chapter, wrote a bit of that… and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? (Wait, did I just say that earlier? *cough* Apparently it’s a trend.)

I wrote 6,800 words of KW2 this year.

On that note, I’m convinced Tare ambushed me and made me write an extra thousand words post-NaNo solely to be able to show Teague that KW is still ahead of OHE in the word department this year. Nicely played, Tare.

And we will NOT talk about the fact that I’m over 63,000 words into it and only a third done the story. AHEM.

IMcover3

And I wrote over 3,000 words of The Invisible Mask, and hit 20K, which was very exciting! I consider the “opening” done, so I’m kind of thrilled about this.

MidnightFearIMG

Rewrote an old short story, Midnight Fear, which used to be just over 1,000 words, and now is just under that. Very pleased with the rewrite.

silmarillion-awards-facebook

I also wrote that Silmarillion Awards Strangest Character presentation post poem, featuring Tom Bombadil and Puddleglum, which was 800 words.

Other than that, I wrote another 1000-ish words on random things like my New Year’s poem, short story Hairdo Havoc, The Silver Forest, and other Kedran’s Wood series jots, including Book 4… even though I’m still on Book 2. Yeah, don’t ask. #TareAndChessClubProblems

PLOTTING THAT I DID…

I did various plotting on various books, including The Silver Forest and The Invisible Mask, but mostly for The Other Half of Everything and the Kedran’s Wood series (mostly KW2), and for The Library in the Stars.

The biggest news was The Library in the Stars exploding into being, out of a bunch of different previous ideas, and being plotted and started.

I also had some exciting “clicking” moments for Once Upon a November, The Siren and the Skyship, and my short story Hairdo Havoc.

And new ideas happened too, of course. My Fairy Godmother Muse has been quite busy.

I suppose I should be grateful I only have half a dozen new “official” ones, if I include The Library in the Stars? (Which did actually combine some ideas, so maybe I’m at about the same number? I don’t know, my Fairy Godmother Muse confuses me so much these days.)

  • Painting Rainbows (Underground Rainbow spinoff involving heists & the painter artist Kevin Johnson)
  • From That Shadowy Land (inspired by various ballads and featuring Faeries)
  • The Treasure of A Distant Storm (futuristic London short story)
  • Wintertale (I don’t even know. Thankfully, it’s a short story)
  • (And an untitled novel to be written sometime farrr in the future, involving fantasy tropes)

#FairyGodmotherMuseProblems #PlotBunnyProblems

OTHER RANDOM WRITING FACTS…

  • Best writing day: 7,589 words (Nov 27.)
  • Completed my 7th NaNo!
  • Was an ML on my own for the first time
  • Was interviewed!
  • Got Scrivener (a.k.a. the Preciousss <3)
  • Started a book review blog and managed to write 61 posts on that during the year!
  • Additionally*, I wrote 76 posts on this blog
  • Yes, that is 137 posts total this last year
  • Somebody save me from myself

*I typed that as “addictionally” the first time. Oh the irony.


And that’s about it! Overall, not a bad year (Fairy Godmother Muse and her antics notwithstanding). ^_^

I don’t know what this new year of 2017 will hold for me in the writing arena (and I’m avoiding making plans, since historically plans and I do not mix well together — they tend to laugh at me, attack, knock me out, steal my everything, and leave me looking very foolish) but I’m looking forward to finding out! 🙂

How was your year of writing in 2016? Do you have problems with a Fairy Godmother Muse of your own? Any exciting writerly pursuits in the last year? Tell me all!

P.S. I’m thinking of going on a blog/internet break for two or three weeks… so I may disappear for a bit and come back around the end of January, give or take. Just a heads-up. Have a great month, everyone! ❤

where is the silence

silence

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“where is the silence where is it hiding”

do you ever feel like everything in your life is noise

everywhere surrounding you drowning you

so you can’t even think or do anything anymore

and all you want is some silence that you can curl up in to be alone and okay

maybe that doesn’t make sense to anyone else

but for me it just clicked when i heard this song by colton dixon

i really connect with it

give it a listen and maybe you’ll think so too

“every day is a car alarm
that I don’t know how to disarm
where is the silence
that simple silence

everything is noise

i’m getting lost in the sound

i need to hear Your voice
reminding me that at the end of the day
no matter what goes down i’ll be okay
even through the noise

whisper my name
whisper my name
tell me that it’s alright

where is the silence
can’t get no silence”

— some lyrics from “noise” by colton dixon

dock

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i might disappear from online for a bit

i’ll be back

it’s just that everything is noise

i’m getting lost in it

and i need to find some silence

*

keep being awesome

swing

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