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. ^_^

Ishness! (First of 2018!)

Iiiit’s time for… ISHNESS!

Because the last time I shared one was the beginning of December, at the end of NaNo season! So it’s high time for another one. 😉

Here are some of my ishnesses from December and the first month of 2018!

December 2017 Highlights

A lovely day in December: editing a short story, with cozy new slippers and my lovely Jayne-from-Firefly hat and bullet-journal, when it had just snowed outside, with my Tolkien collection at my feet.

  • Went on semi-hiatus post-NaNo but wrote 900 words scattered across half a dozen different stories, and had plotbunny explosions (of course; this is why I shouldn’t go on break).
  • The Siren and the Skyship decided it was a trilogy, so now I have two sequels to write as well as finish it. They’re all going to be retellings (the other two might be two each?) and I’M EXCITED.
  • A couple of my older ideas gained new titles and awesomeness (also retellings) and it’s going to be glorious. I have so many back-burner novel ideas that want my attention, but at the moment they must wait…
  • Edited and posted Tare and the Puppies! ^_^
  • I FINALLY read the much-hyped first book of the Wingfeather Saga, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and really enjoyed it! SO FUN. I also saw the mini film episode thing online AND IT IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING. Seriously, go watch it if you haven’t!
  • I also read The Stroke of Eleven and alskdjfldkj MY FEELS. I need more Beaumont and Beasley! And I read a few other books, some of them actually Christmassy! (Look at me being all season-appropriate!)
  • Speaking of seasons: THERE WAS SNOW. It only came down for like ten minutes and none of it stayed, but it was sooo pretty! ^_^
  • Watched the second half of Once Upon a Time’s first season, and started the second season. Muchly enjoyable. SO MANY THINGS.
  • Re-watched the BBC Pride and Prejudice, which was lovely. I love both film versions, but hadn’t seen this one in ages, so that was fun. (I still love the book best; sorry! XD) This was one of the three rewards I promised to myself if I finished NaNo. I still haven’t gotten to the other two. *cough*
  • And, naturally, had Christmas, which was quiet and lovely. ^_^

JANUARY

And now on to more recent history: the beginning of 2018!

life

  • Started new journals! Always a highlight of the start of a new year. XD 9th writing journal (yay!). My new bjournal (which is my Nordic-ish abbreviation for bullet journal) is blue and fuzzy and I love it SO MUCH.
  • In December I won a gorgeous mythological creature coloring book, and this year I’ve started coloring for twenty minutes most days for relaxation. It’s wonderful and I love it. I’m trying new productivity techniques, which include some exercise and actually taking care of myself. (I know; shocking, right?)

  • Won a little dragon and his name is Benedict Pendragon and he’s SO ADORABLE and I love him.
  • Went out to see the Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse Thingamy, but apparently got out like 2 minutes too late because it went behind clouds and I didn’t get to see it at all. XD
  • Was cold. (It got down to 8 degrees at one point and just — no. I live in Texas for a reason and that does not include being this cold thank you very much.)

writing

Added 3K words to The Secret of Kedran’s Wood. A little slow but it’s the first real writing I’ve done since NaNo, so I’m just happy to be starting up again! 🙂 And I’d been stuck on this chapter FOREVER. It had dibs and dabs of snippets out of order throughout it, so I finally went through and added to it and filled in the “holes” with “draft zero” writing, and basically have a completed chapter of a patchwork of snippets/draft-zero, so I just need to smooth/turn it into a first draft. But I’ve been stuck on it for a long time, so this makes me happy to have it sewn together! *wonders if any of this makes sense to anyone besides me*

This writing was largely due to my Writing Day. Each year on the 20th of January I write something; it’s a tradition I’ve kept up since 2010. So that got me to sit down and work on SOMETHING, and I’m very pleased. 🙂

Also, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood is officially growing alarmingly large. I’m trying not to worry about that, and just writing, buuut… you know. XD

I also did some plotting on a few stories (including my old NaNo 2013 story, Underground Rainbow, which this month decided to chop itself up as a trilogy, effectively meaning that book one is basically done and book two started; so I accidentally more-or-less “finished” a novel without writing anything. XD).

Other Writerly Things

  • Did #WIPjoy for OHE.
  • Started my new writing journal, which now has 10 pages in it.
  • Blogged a fair amount.
  • And I did some more business-y things like a bit of freelance editing and making some plans. 🙂

Not a huge amount done, but coming out of a month of hiatus, with NaNo before that, I’m slowly easing back into the writing world, and happy with what I did accomplish!

reading

I read 15 things in January! I’m counting short stories on my Goodreads reading challenge this year, so it’s not as many as it sounds, but still. XD

Re-reads, short stories, non-fiction, new novels… quite the collection. I’m also getting back into my Tolkien hobby and this makes me marvelously happy.

Highlights of the month are DEFINITELY The Last Motley, which I got for review and is my favorite thing I’ve read this year (releasing tomorrow!) — simply STELLAR fantasy; and the first Ranger’s Apprentice book, which is precious and I love Halt. 😀

watching highlights

  • Once Upon a Time: Season 2 — Just a few episodes of this. Still enjoying it. I think I liked the first season better, but it’s definitely still intriguing. 😉
  • Persuasion (1971) — I’d seen two film versions previously, but this one was much longer, and I really enjoyed it! I enjoyed them all, actually, and can’t pick a favorite. 😛 This might be my least-favorite version of Captain Wentworth, but it was my favorite version of Anne, so…? Anyway, ’twas enjoyable. ^_^ Anyone else seen this one?
  • Re-watched some The Deputy episodes (one of my favorite buddy-stories!) and re-watched Zorro (1975) which is my FAVORITE Zorro thing of all time, I think… though I love pretty much all Zorro things to bits. ❤

listening

  • Brittany Jean’s new album, Wander with Me, has been one of my main listening things lately. I got it for review and it’s lovely! Review to come. ^_^
  • Kyle Robert Shultz started a podcast for writers, and while I’m very bad at keeping up with podcasts, I did make sure to listen to the first 3 episodes, and enjoyed them very much. Some great advice. 🙂
  • And in general I’ve been listening to beautiful calming music while coloring/exercising in the morning; it’s been splendid and so relaxing.

Upcoming Plans

Awesome things going on in the next couple of months are February Fantasy Month and March Magics just around the corner… I hope to take part in both to celebrate fantasy and Diana Wynne Jones, two of my favorites!

There are reviews and other posts coming up on the blogs… I’m also doing a couple of hashtag games on Twitter this month: Jenelle’s #FantasyMonth and also #StoryWarriors.

I still have many projects I’m in the process of working on, including some of my writer dreams I shared last month, so we’ll see how those go.

I need to pick a WIP to focus on, but keep thinking about Kedran’s Wood, The Other Half of Everthing, and the (untitled) Siren and the Skyship trilogy, as well as being vaguely aware I have some short stories to write, and other stories popping in to my attention from time to time as well. I just can’t seem to settle on ONE!

Life looks like it’s going to be very busy for the next few weeks (isn’t it always), so I’m mostly just hoping to get through that and still focus on some of my creative pursuits and keep up with my oh-so-many online commitments too! A little overwhelmed right now; wish me luck. XD

So there you have my ishness of late! How about you? How was your January, what have you been up to, and what are your February plans? Can you believe we’re already a month into 2018?? Talk to me! Thanks for reading. ^_^

New Year, New Dreams

Oh, look, 2017 is over. Imagine that.

I now greet you from the amazing FUTURISTIC YEAR 2018. (Seriously though, who gave that number permission? I swear it’s still 2013…)

I’ll get to some quick writerly highlights of 2017 in a minute, but first…

Now is about the correct time to list goals and resolutions for the year.

But they’re funny things, goals.

They are things to mark off, and every moment spent NOT marking them off (other than moments spent actively working toward them, of course) can be seen as a failure… (Or is that just me? *cough*)

Which means that most of the time, goals can leave a person deciding to throw in the towel and move to the Alps to live with the goats instead.

(And don’t get me started on Resolutions, because those can be even worse. The second you break one: NOPE, DONE.)

Dreams, though… Dreams are different.

Dreams, you’re allowed to — well — dream them. And yes, you work toward them if/when you can, but they’re something more elusive; maybe they happen and maybe they don’t; maybe they’re out of your control but you can hope anyway; and maybe, just maybe, one day they’ll come true… especially if you work on them.

Dreams are less guilt-oriented and less of a rigid To Do List You Must Mark Off Or Else You Are Not A Decent Human And It’s Alps And Goats For You. (Don’t ask about the analogy, just… yeah, just roll with it.)

That’s why, here at the start of 2018, instead of resolutions or goals, I’m going to share some of my writerly dreams.

2018 Writer Dreams

  • Finish another novel. Not particularly picky as to which one, though The Siren and the Skyship would be my first choice at the moment.
  • Finish the short stories I started. (The Treasure of A Distant Storm, The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld, Hairdo Havoc.)
  • Stop getting hung up on perfection and not-starting and just WRITE A LOT.
  • Which also means not getting distracted or letting other things get in the way of actually letting myself have some writing time. (This is harder than you might think.)
  • Start a newsletter. (Is this a terrible or awesome idea? Please advise!)
  • Start Instagramming. (I actually have one, I just… can’t post there yet because you need a smartphone to do so. *cough*)
  • Start a Facebook page. (Shocking, I know…)
  • Set up my official website. Which I’ve only been meaning to do forever. (Don’t worry, this blog and my book blog aren’t going anywhere! I’d just like a central hub, is all. Because #professional. And because — let’s be honest — MORE PRETTY WEBSITES!)
  • Get a crystal fox from The Last Jedi for a pet. (Wait, what? How did THAT show up on my writing dream list? O_O Ahem. Moving on…)
  • Spend more time with the stories and characters I love most. Like Tare and co., The Other Half of Everything, and The Siren and the Skyship. Speaking of which…

  • Develop the sequels to The Siren and the Skyship. (Yes, it’s a trilogy now. Yes, I know I haven’t finished the first one. Yes, there are more fairytales, though I’m not 100% as to which. Yes, I’m insane. Shush.)
  • Get my freelance proofreading/copyediting business off the ground. (This is the part where I get annoying and actually *gasp* market my services, and say: “Does anyone need a book edited? I love catching typos! I’m good at it, too!” But I’ll skip that part, because it’s boring. XD Oh, wait…)
  • Be more open about my writing dreams and thoughts on my blog. Wait, what? Isn’t that what this post is about? Well, yes. I’m not saying I’m not open and honest on this blog, because I am. But I’m somewhat of a shy, introspective person, and I was realizing I don’t actually share about things that really MATTER to me and are important to me, like my deeper struggles about publishing and writing and all of those goals and things. Would anyone care, I wonder? Is it only me? Sometimes I don’t share my writing goals because I’m afraid of failing; because, somehow, I expect to fail — and I need to stop that. So being more open with you, my lovely readers, might be a step in a better direction. Tare and I need to realize we need our Chess Club. (That’s you.) And as much as he and I like to work alone… “it’s more friendly with two.” 🙂
  • Figure out what on earth I plan to do about publishing, because I’m dreadfully confused and have been for years now. I think I’m pinning down some of what’s going on with my struggle, but it hasn’t shown the answer yet. I should probably post about this…
  • Speaking of: Write more awesome blog posts. And have a giveaway or two, because those are fun. And basically continue (hopefully) epicness and keep all involved happy. (Everyone: me, you, and the pixel-fairies who carry the words between us across the tangled web of internet. No idea where that came from. It must be getting late, y’all.)
  • Gather all the info I’ve accumulated over the years about publishing and marketing and make a sort of list of said tips. Because I feel like I know and have learned SO MANY THINGS, and would kind of like to see how much there is.
  • Get closer to publishing something, somehow.
  • (And… while I’m dreaming — hey, why not a really big one that I have no idea if it’s even feasible?) I would love to be able to go to Realm Makers this year. 😉 No idea if it could even happen, but it would be nice!

(My inner editor is squirming about that missing comma before “darling.” Unfortunately, my editing does not extend to gifs… Also, yes, I went from Tangled to Inception; problem? I have wide tastes. XD)

2017 Writing Highlights

  • Wrote a total of 86,000 words.
  • Wrote 5 short stories (Wintertale, A Tale of Two Boxes, a Kedran’s Wood “fanfiction” for myself and Lauri, Invisible Beauty, and Tare and the Puppies) — 3 of which I shared online! *shocking*
  • Started two other short stories (The Treasure of A Distant Storm, and The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld. Wow, their titles are almost short stories in themselves…)
  • I hardly ever write short stories, so working on 7 this year has been very interesting.

  • Some work on Kedran’s Wood 2 (which is getting long and rambly and unwieldy; I should do something about that).
  • Also dibs and dabs of The Other Half of Everything, which is at around 15K words, despite not having a complete chapter written. XD (Writing things out of order and only when you’re 110% inspired is fascinating. If I ever get it done, it’s going to be the most awesome book ever, is all I’m saying.)

  • Started The Siren and the Skyship (and got maybe halfway).
  • So many plot ideas and lightbulb inspiration moments and restructuring of various books and series. There’s a lot going on in the fictional worlds inside my head, lately! I’M SO EXCITED.
  • Met with many amazing writer friends throughout the year. It’s been incredible! ❤
  • Participated in my 8th NaNoWriMo (as well as two Camp NaNo sessions, even though I didn’t plan on either. XD) and won.
  • Was an ML for my NaNo region for the 5th time, and ran a writing group sometimes.

  • Was in print for the first time! (Okay, not really… I was in a print copy of the collected Tales from a Modern Bard stories from that blog, which just the authors got copies of. But I did get to hold in my hands something with a story of mine printed in it! Thanks to Hazel!)
  • Got my first fan-art from the lovely Skye! (Thank you! ❤ )
  • Did lots of beta-reading and editing and such.
  • Built the Vintage Jane Austen website — such a joy to work with these talented authors! It’s been beautiful seeing this series release into the world this last year!
  • Was part of the second annual SilmAwards!
  • Announced my freelancing services.
  • Wrote more or less 50,000 words of book reviews this year. (Er… yeah… I write them in Scrivener and it tells me I’m pretty close to that, and I know I wrote some I didn’t put in there, so… yeah, more or less. Plus other blog posts, so who KNOWS how much of that there’s been. No wonder I don’t write as much fiction as I used to! O_O It’s been fun, though!)
  • Started a bullet journal. (Not super writerly, but it does keep me vaguely organized. I’m so excited to be starting a new one for the New Year today! The blue journal pictured in the header image of this post.)
  • Wrote in my writer’s journal every week this year. (Wow! o.o)
  • Posted 50 posts here on The Road of a Writer, and 66 posts on The Page Dreamer.
  • I’m positive I’m missing something EXTREMELY important, but this will have to do. XD

I’ll be sharing my top 15 favorite books I read in 2017, on my book blog soon, so watch out for that!

So, there you have my 2017 and a look forward to this new (futuristic *coughcough*) year of 2018!

And as I type this on New Year’s Eve, there’s snow on the ground outside, which is practically unheard of around here…

So you see, dreams do come true.

***

Happy New Year, my beloved Roadlings! May you have a most glorious and fantastic one indeed! ❤

How was your 2017 and what are some of your dreams for this year?