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. ❤

Writing Wrapup (2020)

Well, I haven’t blogged regularly at ALL in quite awhile, but I wanted to post a wrapup of my writerly accomplishments this last year, if only so I’ll be able to look back on it one day.

It was definitely a slow year of writing, for me. I have difficulty writing when I’m stressed, so between that and spending a good deal of extra time on my copyediting business, the words were rather fewer than usual. But at least some writing happened!

2020 WRITING (ISH) ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Writing

  • Total words written: 76,160 (not my usual 100K+ but ah well)
  • 53K of Tare/Kedran’s Wood books (starting book 3 for NaNo plus some edits on book 2)
  • 12K of Operation Foxtail
  • 11K on short stories — The Secret Piano (hopefully coming soon to a newsletter?), and three serial episodes of Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole. (I had written the first episode in 2019. The second was posted last January. So I have two more written, and one more planned, which would total 5 episodes. I hope to share them on here when I get the chance!)
  • I also did some plotting and editing on various works, including making some exciting breakthroughs in various books!

Blogging

I didn’t have home internet for the last 8 months of the year so any blogging that actually got done . . . I’ll take it. 😛

Faves:

Instagram

(My top 9 most popular Instagram pics of 2020. Lots of googly-eyed books, some Tolkien, Cress, and of course that time I cosplayed as Selene Ravenwood back in February.)

I also focused more on my Instagram in this last year, largely due to said issue of a lack of internet aside from my phone. I can’t really blog on my phone but I can Instagram on it, sooo…

  • 285 Bookstagram posts (daily posts aside from a couple of hiatus months and breaks when I got busy)
  • Hit 800 followers
  • I finally did more with themes, even seasonal ones (which was fun) — and aaall the flowers!
  • Finally made a Linktree and some highlights. XD *is almost getting the hang of this Instagramming thing*

Copyediting Business

(Some of the books I had the honor of copyediting last year.)
  • Words copyedited or beta-read in 2020: 2.9 million words
  • Novels/novellas copyedited: 15
  • Short stories copyedited: 11
  • Beta projects (for friends etc.): 8
  • (Curious to know more about my freelance copyediting? Info is here! :))

Miscellaneous

  • Writing journal pages: 136
  • Won my 11th NaNoWriMo and 20th Camp NaNo (actually did two camp sessions this year)
  • Attended Hutchmoot: Homebound online (delightful), as well as a one-day writing conference in January, and read 6 books on writing
  • Sketched my character Teague
  • Was “in print” for the second time (I mean, just like the first time, it was a private bindup collection for authors of the Modern Bard blog stories, so it’s not like it’s… available? But it was still neat to see A Night in the Life of Glassman printed in a real book, personal collection though it may be!)
  • Set new word-sprinting records during November
  • Got a new laptop (after 9 years of writing adventures with my first laptop)
(2020 November writing stats)

So there is a brief (?) look at my 2020 in writing! Although the wordcount was less than I’d hoped, and I didn’t finish any novels (two-thirds into both Operation Foxtail and Kedran’s Wood 3), it still wasn’t a bad writing year, apparently. I’m quite happy with a lot of these things. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed that! Thanks for reading — and let me know if there’s a writing-ish accomplishment you’re proud of from last year!

Know the Novel: Tare 3 (NaNo 2020)

Um . . . hi, guys! Long time no chat! A lack of internet and a general insanely-busy time has distracted me from blogging for the last few months.

But today I want to join in on the fabulous Christine Smith’s Know the Novel writer linkup to talk about my writing plans for November/NaNo! (How is that so soon?? SEND HELP.)

So. I’m writing the third book in my modern fantasy Kedran’s Wood series, so that I can hang out with Tare (my fave) and the Chess Club and have a hopefully chill/fun November for once!

THE QUESTIONS

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Wow, it’s been so long . . . Well, I guess since it’s book 3, it would be because of starting a random modern fantasy back in April 2012 . . . which then had more spinoff ideas. I don’t remember the original spark for this one off hand, but origianaly it was going to be the sequel to book one, to be the adventures the Chess Club and Tare had the next summer, after The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. But then a snowy Christmas short story crept between them, eventually becoming a massive novel (145K words; please send help), so book three this one became! But the idea of the Chess Club and Tare on vacation has long been a fun one for me, and various things from the first two books and other Tare backstory stuff are leading up to this book. I’m excited. ^_^

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!

(I’ve had this cover foreverrr. Maybe someday I’ll update it or come up with a new title, but it works for now. XD)

The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, #3)

Road trip from Kedran’s Wood!

All the Chess Club wants is a fun vacation at the cabin Robin found them for the summer. All Tare wants is — well, probably for the Chess Club to stay out of trouble. (Saving teens, as well as the world all the time, gets exhausting.)

They find more than they bargained for with agents, a sinister secret lurking in the pine woods, a new side to Tare’s past, and of course McAllistair Mansion — which, let’s face it, is cooler than a cabin.

A storm is coming for the Chess Club and Tare.

So much for a quiet vacation . . .

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

Still set in a vague/undisclosed part of modern-day America, but this time since the Chess Club road tripped away from their hometown, I have some new settings to play with. Pine woods and a cabin and a cool mansion and . . . other . . . things. I’m excited because, while I adore Kedran’s Wood itself, this gives me some new settings/dynamics I can play with — and Tare has an unexpected connection to this place too, so I’m going to have loads of fun with that! *cackles*

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Meet the cast!

  • Tare20 years old – black hair – Enigmatic monster-fighting, black-leather-wearing guy and also my favorite character I’ve ever written

Chess Club

  • Lavender17 – blonde – Shy, softhearted, heart of the Chess Club
  • Baz17 – brown hair – Happy-go-lucky, fun-loving prankster and pun king
  • Ivy18 – red hair – Feisty, no-nonsense, go-get-’em Chess Club member
  • Adrian19 – blond hair – Easy-going, laid back guy, very protective of the Chess Club
  • Mr. Larch32 – brown hair – head of the Chess Club, dry and reserved, voice of reason
  • Robin Larch26 – light hair – Mr. Larch’s sister, enthusiastic, planning The Perfect Vacation

New Players

  • Arielle Everglade20 – long black hair – Appeared briefly in book 2, now shows up mysteriously (spoilers, sweetie)
  • Roderick Hendricks29 – dark brown hair – British, lawyer, basically an awkward penguin, lives at McAllistair Mansion, permanently anxious about Tare (not that we can blame anyone for being anxious about Tare)

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Um. Spoilers? But there mayyy be a group and it mayyy be connected with villains of earlier book(s) and there is also a return of a side antagonist-ish or two . . . it’s complicated.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

That it’s a new book with Tare and the Chess Club! I finished a novella with them last December, and while I’ve fiddled with things since, I haven’t actively been writing a KW book in ages (a.k.a. all this year!) and I’m excited to start this one. Also, I mean, it’s going to be a blast with Chess Club vacation and new characters and Tare being done with everything and yeah. 😀

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Well, it’s in a series . . . book 3 of 3! :O Sort of . . . I currently have an “official” trilogy of novels in the series, but also (either written or planned) 4 short stories, 2 novellas, a sort-of-for-fun alternate-ish novel that doesn’t really count, and a spinoff novel that also spins off of some other books I have. Not to mention sometimes my short story ideas turn into novels, and I have ideas for new adventures occasionally . . . (So there’s 10 . . . or, well, 11 . . . currently. But kind of just 3. XD I’ve drafted 2 novels, 2 short stories, and a novella so far.) BUT I still think of these three being the main books, so in that sense I’m starting on the last “official” (currently) Tare and Chess Club book. But I’m so excited because I felt like I’d never get this far! XD

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Hooopefully plotting? I haven’t done a lot yet but I do like to have an idea of how things will go. I have tons of it in my head already, and some basic notes/lists/snippets. I always mean to plot more for NaNo than I usually get around to, resulting in some flailing around, and with Tare and co. you never know when something might dash out of outline plans, so . . . call it a mix?

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Um. Mansion + secret agents (ish) + modern fantasy + British penguin lawyer (he’s not actually a penguin but he’s basically an awkward penguin, more or less) + Tare Doing Things + Chess Club shenanigans + road trip + camping + Tare backstory info (bwahaha) + I’m also planning a cameo of a character from one of my non-KW books. 😀 I don’t know how unique any of that is, but I’m looking forward to it!

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

I’m drawing a blank on this since I don’t have a playlist yet (oh, help) and haven’t really made any fun things . . . Sooo, here, have my ancient KW series Pinterest board which I haven’t messed with in ages but should have some inspiration stuff for all the books, including this one!

Talk to me! ^_^

And there we are! Do join in on the linkup if you’re writing anything for NaNo, or just, you know, writing! (Find me on NaNo here!) And let me know what you think of this? I know I’ve been very absent from blogging, sorry! *hides face* I’m looking forward to hopefully starting writing this in November, and I wish you luck if you’re writing as well! Thanks for reading! ^_^

8 Year Tare-iversary!

Happy Tare-iversary to me!

Eight years ago today, I wrote the first chapter of The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, my first foray into contemporary fantasy . . . and what I thought would be a brief standalone novel, something just for fun that I’d write and set aside.

Eight years later, my Kedran’s Wood stories have completed (if rough) drafts of two novels, a novella, and two short stories (plus dabbles of non-canon “fanfiction”).

I have plans for another novel or two, another novella, two more short stories, and a spinoff novel.

I’ve written over 300,000 words of Kedran’s Wood stuff and it’s one of my happy places.

These stories have been a big part of my life, a constant writing companion, and Tare is my favorite character I’ve written (shh, don’t tell the others). 

(Some images are mine; others found on Pinterest here.)

I’m so happy that I took that random idea, that odd and not-me-like modern story (I mostly wrote medieval-type fantasy at the time, because I didn’t like modern fiction — so I ended up writing the type I would like to read) and ran with it.

I’m terribly glad I sat down on that day eight years ago to write and met Tare, Lavender, Baz, Ivy, Mr. Larch, and the Wildlings, for the very first time.

The moral? Take those shots in the dark, those leaps of faith, those random steps that seem like they might not come to anything. Try new things. Try.

No matter how strange, no matter how small, you never know what that moment could look like, looking back eight years later.

(Who knows? Maybe some future April 5th I’ll look back and some of these stories will be published.)

So hi from me and Tare and the Chess Club. We’re celebrating. We wish you all a wonderful week. (Even if Tare won’t admit it. ;))

(He’s also judging me for not writing these last two days, since it IS Camp NaNo, even if I’m not writing about him. XD)

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.