Steampunk, Explosions (Almost), & All the Writing: May 2018 Ishness

Well… I’m back!

In the famous words of Sam Gamgee (I was creative about the punctuation, but still). Which most people consider to be the end of The Lord of the Rings — EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A PERFECTLY GOOD EPILOGUE AFTER THAT WHICH SOMEBODY CONVINCED TOLKIEN TO LEAVE OUT OF THE PUBLISHED VERSION AND WHICH I’VE STILL NOT FORGIVEN WHOEVER-IT-WAS FOR DOING BECAUSE REALLY. IT NEEDED THAT AWESOME EPILOGUE.

Ahem.

Pardon my Middle-earth rabbit-trail.

Anyhoo, I’m back from my May hiatus-of-sorts, and I’ll now proceed to fill you in on aaall the writing/reading/watching/etc. that happened while I was away from blogging!

Including snippets and the time my street almost blew up. Ish.


Writing

I wrote 15,000 words in May, which I’m extremely happy about! Especially since that’s more than I wrote for April Camp NaNo. XD

Most of that was due to a lot of lovely wordsprints during Indie E-Con, which had a week-long word-war… which I won due to my 10K words that week. 😀 I was kiiind of really excited about that! I actually wrote 11.5K words that week if you count Sunday — just over the amount of words I’d written in the entirety of April for Camp, so I’m very pleased!

I wrote parts of a couple other things, but mostly I was working on my steampunk-fantasy novel, The Siren and the Skyship, which is flying along quite nicely! I’m extremely happy about this. 😀 I’ve been writing mostly out of order, just a scene here and a scene there (but they’re connecting, finally!), sometimes in a messy draft-zero form, and the plot is still being stubborn and I KNOW I’ll have to rewrite a ton, but at least I’m making progress and having a BLAST. It’s so much fun and I love this story so much. ^_^

I wrote over 13K words on S&S in May, so last I knew, the story has reached about 67K words. I’m getting to write actual-big-important-scenes and it’s fabulous. 😀

In short, I wrote a TON (for me) this last month, and I’m having the absolute best time, and IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. ❤


Snippets (from The Siren and the Skyship)

Keller threw up his hands. “You were tracking me? I always knew the stories were right and stepbrothers are evil.”

“It’s stepsisters,” Gerias protested, “and I’m not evil.”

“You put a tracking on me without my permission. What do you call that?”

“People rarely put trackings on people with permission,” Tasmania mused.

Gerias sighed. “No offense, Captain, but you’re not helping.”

Keller pointed at her. “You are, actually. Thanks for that.” He sent a pointed look at Gerias.

***

“You know, we never did get that time hanging out and chatting, just the three of us,” Tasmania said.

Percy’s face dropped. “Oh. I—I forgot. I had that thing and then— I’m so sorry—”

“Don’t. I know you’re busy. It’s just… this is fun, you know? Just getting to chat for a minute. Alone. Ish.”

Ish here meaning in a ballroom surrounded by about three hundred people,” her brother said wryly.

Tasmania wrinkled her nose, but she was smiling too. “That’s exactly what ish means.”

“Well, you know what? Forget social thingamawhatsits and duties and whatnot; they can go hang,” King Percival said recklessly. “The three of us do need to find a time to just chat—let’s do it tonight.”

“What, after the ball?”

“Yes, exactly.”

“At, like, midnight?” Tasmania raised an eyebrow.

“We’re grownups. We can stay up late,” Percival said bullishly.

Tasmania laughed. “I meant, there’s that whole coronation thing tomorrow morning. Are you sure you want to stay up late talking all night the night before? You’ll be all bleary and half-asleep and red-eyed, and you’ll fall asleep while you’re being crowned or something.”

“Exactly. It’ll be glorious. Why not live a little, I say? And then I can always say anything that goes wrong was your fault, you know,” he teased.

“Just you try,” Tasmania said, smirking.


Reading

I read some lovely books this month!

  • If you’re curious about these, you can click the following links to read my reviews of: Kate’s Dilemma, The Story Peddler, Mythical Doorways, and The Stealthmaster’s Shadow. I really enjoyed all of them!
  • Oh, oh! And Mythical Doorways had some delightful short stories (and it’s FREE, so you should totally pick it up!), including one with my new favorite character, Jayden. I’ve only met him in short stories, but HE’S MY FAVE. If you hear me randomly flailing about him, this is why.
  • Common was SO SWEET. Lovely fantasy/fairytale-esque romantic YA, reminiscent of things like Ella Enchanted. I loved it. ^_^
  • Trial by Song was a FASCINATING modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and was SO INTENSE. O_O *collapses* It also ended on a terrible cliffhanger from which I’ve still not recovered.
  • A Sidekick’s Tale was a hilarious western novella — kind of like if a Bertie Wooster story was a western. XD
  • AND THEN THERE’S THE ELECTRICAL MENAGERIE. People. You need this book in your life. It’s a steampunk (ish) novel with a buddy story (kind of) and snark and humor and show business and illusions and murder and danger and plots, and I can’t really categorize it but IT WAS SO GOOD AAAH. I currently have a book hangover from this delightful book. How will anything ever be this good again? *collapses* The Electrical Menagerie is releasing this week. Anyway. If you’re not sure if you’d like to try it or not, you can check out Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers to see if you’d like more of the same, since it’s a short story which is free on the author’s newsletter and is HILARIOUS. XD (Butbutbut. Carthage and Huxley. They’re my favorites. :D)

(I’m not going to link to all the titles but if you’d like to check out any of these books, you can find links to them on my Goodreads Reading Challenge page.)


Watching


  • So, I saw Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. And, in an attempt to be a good blogger and share things I thought about them in this post, I wrote up thoughts on both at least three times and erased them and… yeah, no, not going to have opinions because I hate having those (or at least sharing them) and I don’t want to be roasted by (or hurt feelings of) any who feel strongly one way or another. I had mixed thoughts on both, disliked some things, enjoyed others. 🙂 The end.
  • I also randomly re-watched the Lord of the Rings fan-films Born of Hope (THE SONS OF ELROND!) and The Hunt for Gollum. XD
  • And just a few episodes of the usual suspects: Once Upon a Time, Trollhunters, NCIS, and White Collar. And a little re-watching Sherlock. Still enjoying all of ’em in their way! 🙂

Also, speaking of movies, there’s a poster for the next How to Train Your Dragon movie AND AAAAAHH LOOK AT IT!!!! ❤

(I’ll just be over here QUIETLY SHRIEKING about this, thank you. *muffled “squee!” noises*)


Life

I’ve been working on a website and some branding/theme stuff for my writing self, so I’m hoping to share some of that in the next month or so. 🙂


I guess the most exciting thing that happened was my street almost blowing up.

I may exaggerate.

Slightly.

“We may experience some slight turbulence and then… explode.”

Okay, so some roadwork people hit a gas line right in front of my house, and they kinda-sorta evacuated half the block. We grabbed laptops and went down to a cafe thing for a couple of hours and saw reruns of the Royal Wedding, and mostly just hoped they (the road workers, not the royal people) wouldn’t accidentally blow up the block or anything. But it got fixed and we went home and everything was fine. It was just… an interesting day. *cough*


My sis and I have also been jogging occasionally, which has been fun because we’ve named ourselves the “Like a Quick Lady” Writer Fitness Club. Because writers need to get out too.

It’s a reference to a line from Beggar Magic by H. L. Burke:

She started to run, but heard her mother’s voice in her head, “Do you want to be so out of breath you can’t even say ‘hello’ when you find your friend? Walk like a lady.”

Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.

(Beggar Magic is an excellent book I really enjoyed, and if you’re curious to read it, it’s currently the free thing you get if you sign up for H. L. Burke’s fun newsletter. FYI.)

I just like that line, and “like a quick lady” is something I say when I’m in a hurry. XD So when we’re jogging, we say that a lot, as well as “On your left!” (Because Captain America.) Because what fun is jogging unless there are lots of fandom-y, inside jokes? 😉


Also, fresh apricots are STUPENDOUS, I TELL YOU. That is all.


June Plans

Well… it’s June (HOW??) so Realm Makers is less than a month and a half away, which is TERRIFYING (I mean… exciting, too; but still terrifying), so I really have to get on that to-do list of mine and start finishing up some of the projects I’ve been working on, like my official website and things. 😛

So I’ll be focusing on various writerly pre-conference things and trying to juggle life, while also hopefully keeping up with a bunch of book releases and reviews because some little otter secretary seems to have signed me up for a lot of blog tours and review books right when I need to be busy with other stuff. 😉

But that’s how these things go, and I’m super excited for all the books (you can check out all the bookish things going on this month in my Bookish News post on my book blog!) so yeah. It’s going to be fun! I just feel extremely busy. XD


How about you? Thoughts? What are your June plans? Share in the comments — I’d love to hear all about it. ^_^ I hope you have an amazing summer! Thanks so much for reading. ❤

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Camp NaNo Ishness/Hiatus

Hello, reader peeps!

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to during the last few weeks of relative silence around here, you’re in luck!

It’s time for an Ishness post — hurrah!

In which I recap my Camp NaNo and other Ishnesses of April. It’s been a busy and exciting month! And also to say that I’m taking a bit of a blogging break for May.

There may also be snippets. And photography.

So let’s get to it!

Camp NaNo Writing Adventures

I participated in and completed Camp NaNo!

And it was amazing, guys. So, so amazing. I’ve missed writing.

Thanks to some awesome wordsprints courtesy of Jenelle and Sarah and some other writing friends, I discovered that I can write 1K in 40 minutes’ worth of wordsprints, which led to a whirlwind of Camp writing for me. I’m. so. excited. I had written hardly anything this year and it was so delightful to finally get back into it!

I made my goal of 10 hours of writing/writing-related-stuff-like-plotting-and-editing, hitting 11 hours for the month.

My April writing accomplishments included:

  • 11,439 words of writing.
  • Naming an important character (the hero of book 3 of my Sky Voyages retelling trilogy) — he’s a pirate and his name is Keller. 😀
  • Outlining the next several parts of The Siren and the Skyship.
  • Realizing I need to redo basically all that I’d written of the book during last November, but OH WELL, at least I know. XD I think I’ll try to power through to the end before rewrites… hopefully…
  • I wrote 10K words of The Siren and the Skyship, a mix of rough first draft and draft-zero, some in order, some later on. But it’s the first writing on this I’ve done since last year’s NaNo, so I’m excited to be back to it!
  • My characters seemed to spend a lot of their time meeting at night on rooftops. Okay, then! Also, I’m having the best time writing about my character Rook.
  • I also wrote 1300 words of The Other Half of Everything, finishing and editing the first chapter, which has been in a half-written-out-of-order state for years.
  • GUYS. I’M DONE A WHOLE CHAPTER OF THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING.
  • I have several thousand words of OHE written, but it’s all in snippets out of order. So having a completed first chapter all finished is SO EXCITING to me!
  • Anyway, between plotting, writing 10K of S&S, and finishing OHE’s first chapter, I’m very pleased with what I got done this month for Camp NaNo. 🙂 I’m hoping to keep up the writing momentum, but we’ll see what happens.

Snippets!

… exchanging the usual niceties one exchanged over tea.

“What did you want to see me about?” Rook asked finally, politely but warily.

He was not used to being called on by dignitaries, and was more than usually aware that his new little brother, sitting right at the table with them, was a street thief. Although Xasper had been silent and as well-mannered as could be, he could well be a ticking steam-bomb counting down to something disastrous.

It was all rather alarming, really, and the sooner it was all over with, the better Rook would like it.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

Percival chose this extremely inopportune time to wake up and hear what they were discussing. “Don’t even think about it, Mania,” he said blearily from his half-asleep and bandaged state. “You’re the princess, and as a princess, you can’t go there without causing an international incident.”

Tasmania shooed a hand at her brother. “I know, I know. As a princess, I won’t.”

“Not as a Royal Skynavy captain either,” he warned.

Blast. He shouldn’t even be alert enough to notice. “As you command, my king,” Tasmania said, saluting. But Auren and Noya were giving her Looks which meant they knew exactly what she was thinking.

Fortunately, Percival’s eyes had drifted shut again and he didn’t see.

Well then. Not a princess, and not a captain, either. She would go as herself—even if she had to smuggle herself in a pirate ship to do so.

Which, incidentally, was exactly what she planned to do.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

“Do try not to jump; it disturbs the books,” the young man remarked.

— The Other Half of Everything

***

He held out his hand and gave a rather absentminded smile. “The name’s Teague. Teague Aurelius. A pleasure to meet you.”

“Same,” I said, shaking his hand. What? A girl can’t lie occasionally in the interests of being polite? Somebody certainly needed to be that around here.

The Other Half of Everything

Reading

I… did not read very much this month. Between Camp NaNo and editing and life, not to mention starting about half a dozen books and then not finishing them (I’m in 5 right now; it’s embarrassing) I don’t have much to show in the reading department.

I managed to hit my 50-book goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, though! (I’ve been including short stories this year, okay. Don’t be too amazed. :P)

But I did read a handful of things. A picture book, ONE novel (The Lost Castle, which I reviewed), two short stories, and two non-fiction short ebooks about writing. Aaand that’s it. They were all pretty good, and I highly recommend Jamie Foley and Angela Castillo’s Busy Moms’ Guide to Writing even for those who are not busy moms but are still writers. XD

Not pictured but hopefully releasing in the next month or two is Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz, which I edited and therefore read a couple times this month. It’s hilarious, and is a fantastic magical wild west tale, so watch for that!

Watching

  • I re-watched the first couple episodes of the original season of Sherlock… which was neat to re-visit. XD (They’re so YOUNG, though! :O)
  • I saw a bit more White Collar, which I’m still enjoying aside from the usual bits I don’t care for that all TV has. But it’s still fun. XD Love these characters!
  • I started watching Trollhunters, just a few episodes, which is a lot of fun so far.
  • And a little NCIS and original Star Trek. To keep me on my toes.
  • I also re-watched The Last Jedi and… eh. I’m still mixed on it, but that seems to happen to me with ALL movies these days, so. 😛 (I need a crystal fox.)

Listening

  • I’m still listening to Wander with Me, Smoke and Mirrors, and Rise and Fall periodically from Brittany Jean’s latest album. ❤

  • Jen Ledger, the drummer girl for the band Skillet, started her own band: Ledger! I’m kind of excited because she’s so sweet and I love her voice, so this is great. I’ve been listening to the tracks she just released and having fun with those. 🙂

  • Speaking of Skillet, you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and listen to it all the time because it’s so catchy and the latest thing you love? Well I have that with Stay ‘Til the Daylight (by Skillet), which my character Rook informed me is his theme song for the sequel to The Siren and the Skyship.
  • It’s also been Camp NaNo so I’ve been listening to fast word-warring music and the Ren: The Girl with the Mark soundtrack because it’s perfect for the “feel” of The Siren and the Skyship — gorgeous and epic.
  • And Cara Dillon, because her voice is amazing. ❤

  • (Yes, I’m aware this is a strange mix of music. I have unique taste. *cough*)

Life

  • It’s been quite the busy month, juggling life and various projects/work and Camp NaNo.

  • I won my first writing contest with my otter flash fiction (my goodness, was that this month?)!
  • Camp NaNo kept me on my toes. XD But it was glorious focusing on writing again.

  • I randomly realized “OH, I HAVE A WATTPAD ACCOUNT; I SHOULD USE IT,” and posted Wintertale over there. I may put up another couple of short stories when I have time.
  • Arielle Bailey more or less convinced me that my personality type is probably ISFP even though I’ve tested as a couple other types (INFP/INFJ). I’m going to look into it more but from what she said, it seems legit. XD (Arielle, do that MBTI blog series!)
  • I got to attend a lovely writer retreat; it was fun getting to hang out with a bunch of fellow writer gals for a weekend! ❤ Not to mention appropriate, because it was like a real-live Camp NaNo! 😉 It was amazing. ^_^

sunset

cozy cottage

sunrise from the balcony

May Plans / Hiatus

I’m taking a bit of a blogging/internet break during May.

Before anybody panics (no panicking, okay?), this is not to say that I won’t be around at all. There are, after all, a few exciting things going on this month (like the ones I mentioned in my In Bookish News post on my book blog) which I may (haha, pun!) drop in on. Plus, my hiatuses (hiatusi?) don’t always turn out as hiatus-y (shh, it’s a word) as I plan; but it should help anyway. XD

(Goodness, that was a lot of parentheses. Please excuse.)

I just need to give myself permission to step away a little and breathe. Sometimes everything gets to be a little much, you know?

I’m a little worn out with all the busyness that’s been non-stop for the past four months, and I also need to catch up on things and do some more prep for Realm Makers (which is creeping up on us at an alarming rate!).

So for my own sanity (what’s that? O_O), I’m reining back a little, and if you need to get a hold of me I’m sure I’ll still be checking email. 😉

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a Merry Month of May, friends! ❤ And let me know what’s up with you, in the comments! ^_^

In Which I Do the Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge

springcleaningwritertagchallenge

Last week I shared my very first original tag, the Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge — and today I’m here to answer the questions myself, as promised!

So this is a chance to catch up on ALL my writerly news of late! 🙂

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

I didn’t so much have “goals” as “dreams” (like I mentioned in my New Year post), but a glance at those can show that I’m not very far on most of them. I did, however, start working on a few! So I’ll share those at least. Because #positivethinking.

  • Finish the short stories I’d started. I haven’t, actually, BUT I did write a new one, a flashfiction. Which I actually entered in a contest for the Fellowship of Fantasy — I think fan voting starts March 27 (tomorrow) so you can check it out if you like, and I’m so excited to see everyone’s entries! (And I had an idea for another short story. So many ideas. Halp.)
  • I haven’t set up my Facebook page yet (waiting on finishing my website first) BUT I did take the first step and set up a FB account. *cough* (What is this life.) So you can find me there if you’re so inclined. 🙂
  • I’ve been WORKING on my official website. It’s not done yet but I have clear ideas about where I want it to go and I’ve been working on it a bit… I will be sure to share it with y’all when it’s ready! (Going hand-in-hand with this is my newsletter, which, again, is not ready yet, but will be available to sign up for when my site is up, even if I might not start said newsletter for a little while.)

  • Spend more time with the stories and characters I love most. I’ve been doing a little of this, namely finishing a chapter with Tare & co. that I had been stuck on FOREVER, and which is full of so much tension but also fun and feels. ❤ And I plotted the first dozen chapters of The Other Half of Everything and have been thinking a lot about Teague and Meridian and the rest. I’m so excited to have wrestled part of this into an outline! 😀 Now that I actually know where the bits I’ve written out of order go, it’s rather exhilarating. (Writing a book out of order is exhausting and I don’t recommend it, but this book is something special, and it will be written how it pleases, thank-you-very-much, regardless of how I feel about it.)

  • I have NOT finished developing The Siren and the Skyship sequels, but I’ve been doing brainstorming on and off, making a little progress, and I might work on this project more for Camp? We’ll see?

  • I am actually working on my freelance proofreading/copyediting business, which I’m very excited about! I’ve done a couple projects now, and I love it. If anyone needs their typos caught, I’m available. 😉

  • And obviously Realm Makers hasn’t happened yet, but I have officially signed up for it. Guys. I’m going to Realm Makers in July! I’M SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to meet everyone there! 🙂

So my goals/dreams are still similar, and that’s just an update on the ones I’ve made progress on. 🙂 Those are mostly partial successes, and if I’m being honest, I really haven’t been able to focus much on writing this year yet — which makes me sad. But it’s heartening to see I’m making a little bit of progress in a few areas! ^_^

Tentative new goal might be to do Camp NaNoWriMo and focus on an hourly goal, working on plotting my Sky Voyages trilogy and hopefully finishing The Siren and the Skyship…

But I have no idea if I can pull that off, or even if it’s a good idea, because of how BUSY life is for me right now.

But I wanted to be more open about my goals, even the ones I’m scared won’t pull through, so. That’s a hope. I don’t know if I’ll do it or not.

(And yes, I know Camp is in less than a week and I haven’t decided. Shush. Let me live on the edge for a minute. XD)

2. Which Stage Are You At?

  • a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
  • b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
  • c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
  • d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
  • e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

On which book? O_O I think I’m doing most of these for one story or another. XD (Trust me to make a tag I can’t answer very well. :P)

How about a run-down on my WIPs (works-in-progress)?

  • The Siren and the Skyship = Limbo, in preparation for getting back to planning the rest of the story/writing
  • Sky Voyages sequels (Siren and the Skyship, books 2 and 3) = Blueprints
  • The Other Half of Everything = Cleaning out a closet (because writing out of order/plotting is a confusing state of being and I don’t know what category it fits in)
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) = Writing
  • Various short stories = Also writing (or rather, waiting to get back to writing)
  • We Otter Do It (flashfiction for the contest) = Re-reading it over and over because I for some reason think it’s hilarious/adorable and can’t stop. *hides*

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

He had a little half smile that melted her heart, and music that made it whole again. Or perhaps it was the music that broke her heart, and his smile that healed it. More likely, it was both.

(untitled short story snippet)

***

“Come on, what’s your price?”

“My what?”

“Price.”

Tare gave him a stony look.

Harold glanced up at the darkening winter sky as if looking for patience. “Come on, don’t pretend. Everyone has one. Name your price, I’ll meet it, and we can be done here.”

Tare shook his head. “What you seem to be having a lack of understanding about,” Tare said, very evenly and coldly, “is that I’m not everyone.”

(The Secret of Kedran’s Wood)

***

The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.

I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.

(opening of my flashfiction for said contest)

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture of your writing space/notebooks/computer!)

I did do a little Spring Cleaning to go with this, and took the opportunity to take a picture of my two usual writing nooks.

Here’s my comfy chair I sit in a lot (to read or write), and my bullet-journal open to my blog planner page, with my writing journal open to the next blank page (which I should go fill once I finish this; ‘scuse me), and of course my laptop, with 5 years of NaNo stickers.

And here’s my desk. (Yes, that’s my inner Tare showing in the form of the leather jacket on the back of my chair… *cough*) Note this post open on my laptop in a gloriously amusing way. Also note my Middle-earth map (yesterday was Middle-earth Day or Tolkien Reading Day, also known as the day the Ring was destroyed and the Gondorian New Year, so happy belated all-of-that to you!). And some of my writing books/reference books, my favorites being If You Want to Write, Pain Free at Your PC, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and a large dictionary (because #helpful).

So there you are!


In case you’d like to do the tag, consider yourself tagged! Copy-pastable rules and list below…

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5. Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them (via comment/message/email or hey, even carrier-pigeon or smoke signal; I’m not picky)

Questions:

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

2. Which Stage Are You At? Expound!

a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)


I hope you enjoyed this! 🙂 Which is your favorite snippet? Are you going to Realm Makers this year? Is Camp NaNo a yes or an absolutely-no for you right now? And would you like to do this tag? Because I’m tagging you if you would! Thanks for reading. ^_^

#WIPjoy: The Other Half of Everything

(images found on Pinterest, other than the title banner in the middle)

As you may or may not be aware (depending on whether you follow me on Twitter or not), I took part in this month’s #WIPjoy challenge, which was great fun! ^_^

I really enjoyed sharing all my answers to the prompts in one handy spot, here on my blog, when I did it last October for The Siren and the Skyship, so I’d like to do that again!

This month I featured The Other Half of Everything, and I thought y’all might enjoy another glance at that work-in-progress of mine, so here you go…

#WIPjoy (Work In Progress Joy) is a writing meme hosted by Bethany Jennings @simmeringmind

WEEK 1: INTRO

Day 1: Introduce your MC & their story

Meridian: 17, no-nonsense, unreliable narrator. <3’s music. Zero patience for Teague.

Teague: the other MC; writer, bookworm, Hero.

Their story: Fantasy world(s), unexpected romance, Teague’s broken/quirky family. Humor, snark, DWJ-esque.

(mock “cover” made by me from images on Pinterest)

Day 2: About you! List 5 things you value

  • Fantasy
  • Heroism
  • Truth
  • Humor
  • Happy endings

About me: Fantasy writer, reader, blogger, punctuation enthusiast (freelance copyeditor/proofreader), Tolkienite, Diana Wynne Jones fan, avid bookshelf organizer, secretly an otter. ^_^

Day 3: A line that’s attention-grabbing

But, I reasoned, it wasn’t the end of the world. It could be worse. Teague could have been an axe-murderer instead of just a writer. I’d live with it. I’d have to.

Day 4: Your main writing goal this year

I’m more doing Dreams than Goals, but some of the main ones are: finish another novel, expand writing platform (newsletter/social media/website), and maybe go to Realm Makers. Here’s a list of my 2018 writing dreams.

Day 5: Your MC’s greatest yearning

Meridian yearns to change the world with music.

Teague… well… who knows what he wants, vague man of mystery that he is…

(Okay, you never heard this from him, but he wants to fix his estranged family relationships and save a couple worlds…)

Day 6: An aesthetic/visual for the WIP

WEEK 2: PRIDE AND JOY

Day 7: Your writing victories of 2017

Wrote 86K (30K in short stories), 5 whole short stories, started a new novel I love, won NaNo for 8th time, NEW PLOTBUNNIES, wrote in my writing journal every week, 116 blog posts.

Day 8: Your strengths as a writer

I have strengths? O.o (JK… *cough* >.>)

I like to think a dash of humor, elegant writing, fun characters, and snappy dialog, are my strengths.

Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written: What do you think my strengths are? I’d love to know!

Day 9: A line that makes you grin

[How about THE WHOLE THING?? Ahem.]

“Pardon me, Miss Meridian, but did you live under a rock your whole life?”

“No, I lived under you,” I shot back. “Which is clearly the same thing.”

Day 10: A character friendship you love

Teague and Meridian. I LOVE their dynamic/snark (but pleasant too… kinda). He annoys her. XD And they’ll fall in love. OBViously. Especially since they don’t know it. Both will deny EVERYTHING if you ask ’em. 😉 *evil author is evil*

Day 11: Has this WIP made you cry?

Not yet. *cue ominous music* I’m writing snippets out of order, so I haven’t been in the mode/emotional. Anytime I think about Teague & his family problems I cry a little inside though. (And then I laugh/smirk/fangirl because I love them.)

Day 12: 5 things you like about this WIP

  • TEAGUE. Can’t describe him
  • Involves a writer (see above) + bookishness
  • Fun + banter (love writing/re-reading!)
  • ALL THE FANTASY. (Spoilers, sweetie. But fantasy worlds…)
  • The “feel” (Diana Wynne Jones-ish but not) + characters/relationships

Day 13: A magical moment in the story

“What happened?” I asked Teague, meaning: “how did you end up locked in an invisible enchanted prison-thing?”

“I made a Wind Chaser angry.”

“And how on earth did you go about doing that?”

“It must have been my charming personality.”

WEEK 3: BOLD CREATIVITY

Day 14: A poem about/from your WIP

No poetry in it as yet; anything serious would be spoilers.

Random/silly thing:

It horrified (or slightly bothered) Teague
To find Meridian and Lulin in league
About his lack of a good memory
But he quickly forgot and went back to his tea

Day 15: Your best tip for writer’s block

Turn on a timer and try writing just until it goes off, and see if you don’t find that you’re writing after all…

Day 16: (1) A line that feels daring

[Drawing a blank, so have this one.]

“Well, what’s wrong with him?” Gran asked.

I grasped about for the right words and couldn’t find them. “…Everything!”

I didn’t know the half of it.

Day 16: (2) Other creative outlets you enjoy

Wait, there’s something other than writing? O.o

Sometimes: graphic/web design, sketch, color, crafty things [origami/knit/crochet], play a line on piano/pennywhistle.

But who has time for that when there’s books to read/write??

Day 17: Your WIP described as a food

A coffee-cake, mildly brownish and demure and coffee-flavored at first, so it’s tasty; but when you cut it open, there’s a whole new world of a hundred different colors and flavors inside…

Day 18: 3 songs that inspire me (for The Other Half of Everything)

Touch the Sky (Brave)

Walls (After the Morning – Cara Dillon)

Into the Open Air (Brave)

(First: the wonder of worlds; other two: Teague & Ivan… ‘Scuse me while I go cry.)

Day 19: Doodle an image from the story!

I… er… haven’t drawn anything for this one, so have my very first fan-art, from my dear friend Skye Hoffert, instead. (It’s Meridian and Teague and it makes me happy. ^_^)

Meridian and Teague (art by Sky Hoffert)

Day 20: How is writing this WIP brave?

My first novel in first-person w/ unreliable narrator + nothing like me. Writing out of order. Throwing away all story conventions & doing what I want. Aspiring to be a bit like Diana Wynne Jones. Dealing w/ dark things but a fun story.

WEEK 4: CHARACTER TAKEOVER!

(Character takeover week is my FAVORITE! :D)

Day 21: MC: your favorite holiday

Meridian: Bonfire Night.

Teague: National Read a Book Day.

M: IS there such a thing?

T: I haven’t the faintest notion, but there ought to be.

M: You could look it up.

T: Too much work… *goes back to reading*

Day 22: Antagonist: your side goals

I’m skipping this one since my antagonist(s) are… erm… in the works. >.> Which is to say, I’m having a hard time pinning them down. -_- (Anyone have villain tips? *cough*)

Day 23: A line of dialogue

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.”

Day 24: MC: describe your work day

Meridian: I go upstairs & clean house/make food for THIS guy so he won’t burn the house down.

Teague: *blinks absently* Work? What’s that? I don’t work; I ART. *reads/writes/makes money on scribblings*

M: No idea how he gets away with that. -_-

Day 25: Sidekick: a day your life changed

Lulin: Classified. Sorry, sweetie. *smiles*

Me: You could —

L: If I told you, I’d have to kill you. Politely… But you’d still be dead = unpleasant for both of us. So. Classified. ^_^

Me: … The problem with questions like this… -_-

Day 26: Antag: do you relate to the MC?

(I’m using Ivan for this one; he’s slightly antagonistic, though not villainous.)

Ivan: No.

Me: I didn’t mention if said MC is Meridian or Teague —

Ivan: NO.

Me: (He kind of does because — )

Ivan: SHUT UP.

Day 27: Main Character: a memory about family

Meridian: I don’t really remember my parents, but one of my mother playing the violin I play now. Gold music and sunlight in her hair.
Teague: My siblings & I on some adventure. NOT the dragon one. (Me: Too late.) Very well, that one. Fun times…

WEEK 5: VISION

Day 28: How do you hope to publish?

AHAHAHAHA.

Ahem.

I have no clue yet. Hence the insane laughter. (Hope you enjoyed that, by the way, because it’s all the answer you’re getting, unfortunately… Come back in a century or two once I know. *tips hat* Good day…)

Day 29: Who do you write for?

Teens, twenty-somethings, and those young at heart, who enjoy a good fantasy tale with a dash of humor and elegance and (I like to think) a unique twist on a thing or two, and don’t want to worry about content or an agenda. Just a good ol’ enjoyable story. 🙂

Day 30: A line about hopes or goals

Teague sighed as if he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders. “My new life goal is to turn you into a bookworm. Preferably of fantasy. Read this.”

“Why would I want to read a book?” I protested.

“Because I am selflessly lending it to you.”

Day 31: Where to find you (link day!)

Still working on that official website; stay tuned. 😂


What do you think? Comment below — I’d love to chat! Thanks for reading! ^_^

NaNo Snippets: Siren and the Skyship

And now for the long awaited party I mean snippets I promised you!

The time has come, the blogger said, to take you on some trips

Through NaNo! Clouds and sirens, and Royal Sky Navy Ships!

Or something like that.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse at my YA Steampunk-Fantasy Little-Mermaid(-ish) 2017 NaNo novel, The Siren and the Skyship . . .

Snippets

“Skyship off the starboard bow!” cried the lookout.

Auren wondered a) how the lookout had managed to see anything in this abysmal weather, and b) how anyone could possibly hear him.

* * *

In the mellow lamp-light in her cabin, Tasmania’s fine penmanship filled white pages with ink as black as the night the skyship was currently sailing through.

Nearly died today. Again.

Otherwise an uneventful day.

* * *

Rook crouched forward astride the dragon, keeping Emmy safely in front of him with his arms to either side of her as he steered the clockwork dragon into the night. He did not know if they had been spotted in the light from the explosion, or if they were being followed, and he did not intend to stick around to find out. Protect Emmy.

Navyman and girl flew with all speed through the clouds and mist, wind in their faces blowing back her fair hair, and what had escaped from the tie he kept his long dark hair tied back with. The barest silver crescent of the moon emerged from the clouds above and radiated soft white light into the dark night, gleaming on the metal of the clockwork dragon’s beating wings, and showing the looming forms of several dark stone pillars rising up in the night.

* * *

“And we’ll just be careful.”

“Always,” Tasmania said cheerfully.

“Says my reckless captain,” Gerias said, but he smiled as he said it.

“When was I ever reckless?” Tasmania said, and she breezed out the door on her way to some breakfast and tea.

* * *

Tasmania swiveled back toward Rook.

“Stirling Rook,” he said.

She frowned, looking somewhat confused. “What about him?”

“He’s me,” Rook said, knowing there was probably something wrong with the way this conversation was going, but not quite sure he had the brain power to rectify the situation.

Captain Tasmania blinked, then folded her arms and shook her head. “Impossible. Can’t be. He’s dead.”

Rook raised his eyebrows. “News to me…” he muttered. “I mean, I feel terrible, but not that terrible…”

* * *

Before Captain Tasmania could ask any more questions, a tall man with blond hair and a chiseled jaw, in an officer’s uniform, came down the steps into the infirmary room.

“Captain, you’re wanted on deck,” he said. “And how is my patient?”

“Fine,” Rook rasped warily, looking at the man.

“Mr. Rook,” Tasmania said, “this is Gerias Bridgington-Cramley, the First Mate and Medic aboard the Star Dreamer. Gerias, we have a name to our mysterious rescue: this is Stirling Rook.”

Gerias’s blond eyebrows raised. “The Stirling Rook? Admiral Rook’s son?”

Rook sighed. Not this again. “Yes.”

“I thought you were dead.”

“So I keep hearing,” Rook said.

* * *

“Why, oh, why, can’t I touch things!” Auren howled in exasperation and panic. He thought he was slowing her fall just a little, but not stopping it. The skyship was out of sight above them, obscured by clouds, and she was rapidly falling straight toward whatever was below the next batch of clouds. Auren hoped, for Tasmania’s sake, that it was one of the rope nets…

No such luck. They were near a net stretched between two pillars, with grass growing on the tops of the rock, but the trajectory of her course was aimed straight for the pillar or, worst case scenario, even down beyond that to who-knew-what—probably jagged rock or maybe a crevice down into no-man’s-land.

All Auren could think was: She’s going to die. Tasmania’s going to die and I can’t save her. And that was when he realized. I love her. It was completely a miserable thought to have at a moment like this, and extremely inconvenient too. Why did he have to care so much? But he couldn’t stop it now. Determination and anger flowed through him. He wouldn’t let it happen.

Auren bent his entire will and all his thought and strength toward becoming a wind, pushing her up, slowing her descent, fighting the air currents with wind of his own, fighting them to keep his Tasmania alive.

And as he did, he sang.

He sang with all his heart, siren song words which welled up from somewhere deep inside of him, half lullaby, half war song—a song to keep the most tired soldier fighting, to wake and put to sleep a child all at once, to say You are safe in my arms—let’s fly together, and don’t worry about anything.

Every part of his mind and wispy-wind-like body strained as hard as he possibly could and—he—slowed—her—down.

His nearly insubstantial touch that had never been able to hold anything, held her, stopped her fall, and, still singing, he slowly, gently, ever so gently, laid her very softly to rest on the green sward of grass at the top of the mist-wreathed pillar of rock.

* * *

Auren woke to find Rook standing by the side of the bunk bed, arms folded, looking down at him.

Auren stretched and yawned. “ ’Morning?” he said.

“Are you an assassin?” Rook asked calmly.

Auren blinked. “Pardon?”

“I didn’t hear you come in last night,” Rook said, as if this explained everything.

Auren yawned again and rubbed his eyes, wondering if this was a human thing to have no idea what someone was talking about this early in the morning. “I’m sorry, why is that a bad thing? I was trying to be quiet; that was just me trying to be considerate and let you sleep. What’s wrong with not hearing me come in and— why do you think I’m an assassin? Because no, I’m definitely not.”

* * *

“So . . . what you’re saying is that I’m an assassin, but I’m just a really bad one?” Auren said, incredulous. “I feel like I should be insulted, but I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why you think I’m an assassin.”

* * *

So he did the only thing he could do: he spun the wheel and steered them directly between two of the pillars. Auren had never steered a skyship before, but he knew the air and the wind currents, and if there was one thing he did know how to do, it was fly.

* * *

“Because like it or not, someone wants you dead.”

Tasmania sighed and dropped her face into her hands to rub her forehead. This was turning into a long day.

* * *

Auren had fallen in love with hammocks and abandoned his bunk in favor of sleeping on one.

“It’s like sleeping in the air, or flying,” Auren had said in raptures, completely delighted at this concept for some reason Rook could not make head nor tail out of.

Rook grunted. “We’re on a skyship. You’re already flying.”

Auren ignored him.

At least Rook had the bunk to himself now.

* * *

She saw Auren, across the deck, vault up onto the railing, rope in hand. Without hesitation, he leapt in a graceful arc, as one with the air, over the side of the skyship and out of sight into the sky below.

* * *

As soon as he was gone and the door closed behind them, Tasmania relaxed and slumped a little in her chair, grimacing. “Back to civilization, is it? Civilization can’t pluck you out of the sky when you’re falling a thousand feet through a storm. You’re very welcome for picking you up on this little not-civilization ship, sir.”

* * *

She laughed. “It’s Tasmania. Really. Or… my brothers call me Mania.”

Auren’s eyes widened. “I could never call you that.”

Her grin was infectious. “Believe me, if you’d known me as long as they have, you would.”

* * *

“I thought you were dead.”

“Yeah, I… get that a lot,” Rook said.


What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks very much for reading — I so appreciate it! And Merry Christmas! ^_^ I’ll not be blogging next week, so I’ll see you all in a couple of weeks with the turning of the year! Love you, lovely readers! ❤