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Everything Update – September 2, 2017

Sorry for the long gap in between posts. The past month was a busy one. I went on a long vacation, school started, and my brother had surgery. I haven’t been in a mental space that allows for much writing. I hope to change that starting now.

Writing: As mentioned above, I haven’t written much this month. I did a little work while on vacation, but until this week, it’s been sparse and sporadic.

Yesterday while grocery shopping I needed to take a break from walking around, so I sat down at a table in store and pulled out my notebook. I wrote down every major scene from the first book in my middle-grade series with the intention of finding gaps. In the process, I came up with eight new scenes and managed to discard a few (too bad I already wrote those).

It was nice to have communication with my muse again. I will capitalize on that today and continue to do so until the book is finished!

I’ll admit I got distracted twice, but I still managed to accomplish the goal I set for myself. The two distractions were my oldest son who works at that store and started his break while I was writing. The other was sitting a couple of tables in front of me. My ex-sister-in-law, who hates me, was there with a group of people.

When I saw her, I inwardly groaned but kept working. When she saw me, the conversation she was having with her friends switched to what appeared to be a tirade about me. I’m human and can’t stand the woman, so I admit to being amused. I’m almost positive she inspired one of the new scenes, haha.

While I plan to work on this series, it’s no surprise other story ideas pop up again. There was one that tried to take over, but I jotted down everything I could think of about it and went back to the fairy story.

Also Writing: I miss my writing group. It’s been a month since I’ve seen everyone and I can’t wait to get back to it!

Reading: I tried to stick to only urban fantasies but The Wheel of Time pulled in for a reread. It was inevitable after I read eight books in as many days in the same urban series. It was great, but I was overloaded. I figured re-reading anything was in order.

I still plan to pick up more urban fantasy books but perhaps not while I’m working on a middle-grade fantasy series.

Medical: My back hurts. It will continue to hurt until I give in and have another fusion. Even then it will probably still give me problems. So I’m resisting for as long as I can. That is all about that pesky subject!

Family: My oldest brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer. They told him it was stage 2, but when they did further tests, they found some cells were stage 3. He had surgery on August 28. It was also the first day of school, so the day was pretty stressful for our entire family. A group of us sat in the waiting room trying to make each other laugh. We succeeded a bit, but it was definitely forced.

The doctor said with a ‘magnified eye’ the cancer looked contained (they feared it had spread) but we won’t know for sure until the pathology report comes in, which could be as soon as Tuesday.

Blogging: My goal for this month is to post to this blog more often. I would like to get back to regular weekly posts on Wednesday, and anytime I think I have something to say. As you can tell from this post, I’m out of practice. I would go back and fix all my passive sentences, but then I’d have to work on it all day!

Everything Else: I love the fall. Many good movies and books come out. Number one of both is Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. Also The Core, by Peter Brett. Wonder woman on Blu-ray and Thor at the theaters are both on my list.

Sometime this week I have to clean off my desk. When I say clean what I really mean is take everything off, dust, clean with window cleaner (it’s glass, I hate it), then rearrange everything as I put it back on (or put elsewhere). The arranging extends to the three large shelves above and my bookshelves across the room. Add in the stuff I piled up on the closet floor to be gone through, and it will be a massive project for me.

My gym is taking gently used clothing to send to Houston, so I need to go through my three large bins full of clothing either too small or too big for me. I don’t plan to ever need the larger size and reality tells me I won’t fit into the smaller ones again, so why am I keeping them when there are women displaced by the hurricane who desperately need them.

I live in what we call west Texas, but it’s more north-west, near the panhandle. Houston is 520 miles from me, so we were not affected by Harvey, but I weep for those who were. It’s sad and horrifying. Yet there is hope. So many people stepped up to rescue others, risking their own lives in the process. There are so many volunteers that many are turned away. Donations are pouring in from businesses, celebrities, sports teams, and everyday people.

I’m not a spokesperson for anything, but I would urge everyone to do whatever you can to help in this time of crisis. Even as simple as donation points for hotel reward programs can make a difference.

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Everything Update – July 28, 2017

I must have had a powerful dream about an evil sorcerer last night. When I woke up, I was a frog! Okay, so it was only my voice that was frog-like. I didn’t know for a while because I feel a little off so I didn’t get out of bed right away. My throat felt weird, but I assumed it was drainage (gross right?).

After playing silly games on my phone for an hour, I got up and dressed. I opened my bedroom door and was ‘attacked’ by my dogs. Like every other dog owner in the world, I used that horrid high-pitched voice to greet them. Well, I tried anyway. A few squeaks were emitted, to the confusion and delight of the furry members of my family.

As I walked into the living room, I kept trying to talk, but this time it was croaks, gasps, clicks, grunts, and a few of the words I attempted. Okay, I’m exaggerating, there were no gasps. All the sounds I made were particularly manly though. My son laughed at me while I amused us both with my Castiel voice (points if you get my reference).

So now I’ve developed a headache, and I feel like I ran a marathon even though all I did was give my dogs a treat, walk through the house once, and grab breakfast. I figured it was a great time to post an update, haha.

Medical: By now you’ve figured out I’m sick. My throat is starting to hurt, and I might go to the doctor if it doesn’t get better by morning. I don’t normally go to the doctor for things like this but I’m going on vacation in a week, and I don’t want to risk being sick for that.

My back is giving me the same attitude it has quite some time. I am starting to consider that second surgery, but I’m holding out for now. One of my doctors wants me to think about getting an implant that delivers all day, low doses of morphine, but she’s an idiot. So for now, it’s take pain meds or another fusion. We’ll see what I decide.

Writing: Okay, hold your index finger and thumb close together, with about a centimeter between them. That’s how much writing I’ve done lately.

There are many reasons excuses for this. I’m in some kind of writer’s funk. I suspect it has more to do with chronic pain getting to me mentally than a true writer’s block. Still, I’ve done a lot of pre-writing. This includes trying to plot the story on a dry erase board, rearranging scenes, deciding character traits, coming up with back story, etc.

It’s not like all my creativity is gone, but my motivation is fleeting. I’m working through it, but I’m frustrated.

My plan for this week is to write flash fiction whenever I can. I’ll be busy with getting ready for my vacation, but I will try to get as much work done as possible.

Vacation: As previously mentioned, I’m going on vacation soon. I’m excited and dreading it. There are two things I’m worried about. First is the drive. We will be in a car for three days, driving from Texas to New Jersey. I hate long car rides anyway but with my back, I know it’s going to be miserable.

The second concern is my August curse. Every year something momentous happens around the beginning of that month. Sometimes it’s the end of July, and once it was more mid-August, but it’s coming. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while have heard it all before, but I’ll recap.

One year my apartment was struck by lightning and burned down. The next year, a lady crashed her car into the fence surrounding my porch while trying to run down her husband. There was the time I woke up and found my car sitting in front of my house, totaled by what I have to assume was a drunk driver. Since it was a hit and run, we’ll never know.

How about the time my appendix tried to burst while I was on vacation, in New Jersey, and had to have surgery half-way across the country from home. That one is the winner for worst ever manifestation of the curse. It was much worse than the year before when we got a flat tire and went through a full day of semi-nightmare crap with the car rental people.

Now, remember, I said momentous. In 2011 the curse decided it was time for a big, but good thing to happen. I got married. It was supposed to be an outdoor wedding, but it was particularly hot that year so we decided a week or two before the big day that we should move it indoors. Turns out that was the best decision ever. West Texas had been in a drought, and it hadn’t rained for four months. That day it did. Four inches in just a couple of hours. We were able to get all the pictures taken outside before it started. The sky was an awesome steel grey/blue, and the photos are unique and beautiful.

It was perfect! Not only do I love the rain, but the area also needed it desperately. Plus ‘they’ say rain on your wedding day is lucky. What a great day. It was the one exception to anything curse-like in August since 2008.

So this year, as it’s gotten closer to the end of July, my stress level has risen in anticipation of whatever life will smack me with. Maybe something good will happen this time. We’ll see. Hopefully, we’ll just have a nice, relaxing vacation.

Reading: I keep adding to my to-read pile. I find myself coming up with more urban fantasy than high fantasy stories these days. My muse has been trying to steer me in this direction for years, and I’m finally listening.

Therefore, I need to read more urban fantasy. I have some, but I always bought the old school, epic fantasy series. Now I must buy books set in the here and now. I have some, and I’ve re-read them, but I have to get more. This means all the books waiting for my attention get pushed aside again.

I’m okay with it. I kept resisting until I read a newer book by Terry Brooks. I’ve always loved his books. They were a little basic but always fun, and great light reads. But something changed. I can’t figure out if my taste in books has evolved or if it’s Terry. Actually, I think it’s both.

I still like entertaining light reads. In fact, I’m sick of all the grimdark. Going back to something less gruesome is nice. However, as much as I hate to say this, this latest series Brooks wrote it awful. I struggled to get into it, and as I read, I found myself mentally listing all the bad stuff about it. From the name of the villain being so trite to the recycled storyline boring me.

Reading a bad book by an author I loved was disheartening but potentially beneficial to me. You see, now I don’t want to read another crappy high fantasy novel. So it was easy to pick up an urban fantasy to change things up. Precisely what I needed to do.

If anyone has any good urban fantasy suggestions, let me know. I prefer stories written in third person but will consider a first person if it’s got solid reviews.

There are several epic fantasy novels I still plan to read this year. Each comes up in the next few months, and I will buy them and read them as soon as I can get my hands on them. How can I pass up Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Peter Brett and Trudi Canavan?

Everything Else: I’ve been binging on TV shows lately. Supernatural, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, Jessica Jones, Orphan Black, and more. There are even two shows that must not be named that I watched, over the course of three days. We’re going to call it research. Both were YA, and I kind of liked them, haha.

Actually, I really did watch them for research for a YA urban fantasy novel I want to write. I just didn’t expect to mostly enjoy them.

I accidentally bought the first season of Highlander on Amazon yesterday. Once I did it, I thought it over and decided not to click the handy link that would allow me to give it back. I am not ashamed to love the show (so shut it, Jesse). It’s not for everyone, but it is for me.

Writing/Reading Too: I bought a couple of writing books, and I’m so in love with them I am recommending them to all writers. The Negative Trait Thesaurus and The Positive Trait Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. They are nice references to have around. I also own The Emotion Thesaurus by them. There are three other books in the series. One is called Emotion Amplifiers and is free on Kindle. It’s a companion to the Emotion Thesaurus but is useful on its own. The other books in the series are around six bucks on Kindle and well worth it.

Blog: I plan to get back to posting regularly. However, since I’m going on vacation soon, for three weeks, it will be a little while before I get restarted on this.

Expect reviews, rambles, writing prompts, tips, rants, my experiences, quotes, photos, etc. I might even bring back my regular Wednesday and Saturday posts.

Blog Anniversary & Nanowrimo Update

It’s my anniversary with WordPress! One year ago today I wrote my first post for this blog. Like this post will be, it was all about Nanowrimo. Back then I was so afraid I wouldn’t succeed in reaching 50,000 words in thirty days. I’m nervous this time but I’m in a completely different situation. We’ll see what happens.

I went to the last-minute planning/kick off event for my region on Halloween. I’m normally asleep by 11pm so it was a bit of a struggle but I managed to start writing at midnight and got the first scene out ending up with 718 words in about half an hour before I gave in to the sleepies. When I got up in the morning. I was miserable. My back hurt. I felt weird. I was starving and a little light-headed. Eating solved most of the problems and muscle relaxers and Naproxen helped with the rest. I felt a little off for most of the day but eventually took a twenty-minute nap and it made all the difference. Plus the ice cream my awesome husband went and picked up for me helped me feel better.

I didn’t start writing again until late afternoon but once I did I got lost in it. Before I knew it I had blown past my daily goal and I stopped contemplating giving up. I wouldn’t have actually given up, but pain does weird stuff to your head, or maybe it’s just me haha. Since I did well I didn’t have to feel guilty when I sat in the living room and watched a show.

So now I’ve started November off well and I’m looking forward to getting more writing done today. Wish me luck, I suspect I’ll desperately need it!

Current word count: 2462

Blog-ish Update

Just a tiny update. I haven’t been able to sit at the computer much lately so I’m behind on responding to comments (I have been reading them) and actually reading blogs. I’m not the type to follow someone simply because they follow me. If I follow you, I read your blog. If I hit the like button it’s because I actually liked what you wrote. I am sorry I haven’t been able to do these things as much lately.

With all these pain issues I now spend as much time laying down as I do sitting up. It’s hard to type when you’re laying on your side but it’s not hard to read, so I should be able to catch up. There are so many interesting blogs out there! I’m excited to read as much new content as I can handle.

I apologize in advance if I overload anyone with comments, likes and/or ratings!

Another Blogging 101 assignment that I have to skip

Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

This is not a bad assignment but I’m not really sure how to handle it. I do not have a specific ‘dream reader.’ I am happy if anyone reads what I write, so everything I post is geared to anyone. I don’t value one type of reader over another. That probably sounds like BS. A lot of my posts are talking to other writers. This blog is, after all, about writing. But it also has MY writing and I hope that none of my readers feel like I’m not talking to them as well.

If I’m forced to define my dream reader then I will say that it would be someone who enjoys reading what I write. That could be short stories, writing tips, prompts, rants, updates, etc. You are all my dream readers.

Does this count as skipping the assignment?

How do you define flash fiction?

There are many definitions for flash fiction. I looked it up and the first thing I found said:

a style of literature in which stories are extremely short and often consist of less than 300 words

Three hundred words! I see that as more micro fiction but I’m pretty wordy so I could be wrong. Several sites that publish flash fiction take submissions that are 500-1000 words. I am working on a course that says 500 words. I guess I think anything under 1000 works.

Using a fantasy prompt I wrote a piece last night that was intended to be flash fiction, in this case, under 500. In the end, before any editing, it was 1075. I also wrote a few questions for myself that I suspect, when answered, will up the word count considerably. Now I’m not sure what I should do with it. I could answer my questions and write whatever else comes to me and let it be a short story. I could cut away at it and force it down to five hundred. For all I know there could be thousands of words in my head waiting to spill out for it. Since I’m trying to work on getting good at flash fiction the logical side of me says to pare it down. The other side says not to restrict myself. I may have to put that story aside for now to let it finish cooking in my brain!

For those of you who write flash fiction, I have two questions

  1. What would you do in a case like this?
  2. What is your take on the definition of flash fiction?

I’m sure a lot of you would not have used a fantasy prompt but I’m trying to challenge myself. Also since I normally write fantasy, I have a hard time coming up with ideas for non-fantasy fiction, short or long. If you are curious, the prompt I used was:

Your character finds dragon bones in a cave. What happens when he/she picks them up?

Any suggestions are welcome!

Liebster Award

Thank you to Blackbird’s Nest over at https://bbnest.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for the Liebster award. I was very surprised! I’m glad you like my blog and thanks for being patient as I’m trying to figure all this stuff out. It’s taken me days to figure out how to answer the questions posed to me and come up with questions. I’m not really good at this kind of thing.

There were eleven questions posed to me so here are my lame answers:

1) If you could punch any public figure in the face right now, with no repercussions, who would it be?

I don’t normally talk politics but I will say that if an elected official is caught in a lie, a big one, they should lose their office. Actually punching someone would probably hurt me more than them.

2) If you could pick three evils to rid the world of forever, what would those be?

Hunger, Intolerance, Hate

3) What are you wearing? What is the comfiest item of clothing you’ve ever owned in your life?

My fluffy robe.

4) What is your comfort food when you’re sick?

Chicken strips. I know that’s an odd one but I love them and would eat them any time. I even ate them the day I had my top two wisdom teeth removed. I would say it’s an addiction but..actually it IS something I’ll never give up!

5) What was the most emotionally involving story you’ve ever heard/read/watched?

I do not like to watch or read things that will stir negative emotions, so I avoid sad movies and books. The Sandy Hook shooting made me cry

6) Which is more awesome: Dragons or Zombies?

Dragons!

7) What is the most ridiculous situation you ever dreamed yourself in?

I don’t truly know how to answer this one. I dream often that I can fly, but only until I realize I’m flying. Then I can only jump really far. The most ridiculous situation I would have Never dreamed, but found myself in was once many many years ago my oldest son was less than a year old and I was eight months pregnant with the second. I was in the check out line at the grocery store. I was getting over heated, so I was trying to take my jacket off when I started feeling dizzy. The next thing I remember was opening my eyes and seeing tons of people standing over me looking terrified. I glanced around and saw that when I passed out I had taken out the candy rack and broken the door to the little fridge that has soda in it. I thought ‘oh crap, I’m going to have to pay for all that.’ The manager brought me orange juice and some terrible cookies. We spent ten minutes apologizing to each other. I was so confused. I was still foggy and he kept saying things that made no sense. Finally he asked me not to sue. I was astounded. I broke stuff and he’s worried that I’ll sue them! I assured him that I wouldn’t and I bought my groceries and left as quickly as I could. I didn’t go back to that store for years because I was afraid the manager would recognize me lol.

8) If you were a tree and you were chopped for wood/paper, what would you like to be made into?

A book, of course. Not a bad one though. Maybe a Brandon Sanderson novel

9) Do you have anything you keep for sentimental reasons that would otherwise be considered junk?

My fingers would cramp if I typed out all the things I keep. I’m a pack rat and sentimental, which is a terrible combination.

10) If you could meet any fictional character and give them a great big hug, who would it be?

This one is harder than I thought. Ce’Nedra. Look her up.

11) Is there anything seemingly harmless that when people do around you drives you completely nuts?

Besides listen to awful music? I can’t stand when people argue in front of me. It’s very uncomfortable. Also, stupid drivers, which is not really harmless I suppose. My city has the worst drivers on the planet. I don’t particularly like it when people click their pens a lot around me.


So I’m supposed to tell you eleven things about me. This might not be the most exciting list. I froze up when trying to think of things to say.

1. I am NOT a morning person. I don’t like to be around people who are, at least not until I fully wake up.

2. I’m incredibly shy, at first, for about three seconds when I meet new people. After that, you can’t shut me up.

3. Speaking of not shutting up, I talk a lot. All the time. I even talk in my sleep.

4. I love pens. When I look for souvenirs, I look for pens first. I don’t like blue ink though, that’s a deal breaker.

5. Baked fruit grosses me out. Therefore, I don’t eat pie. Cheesecake doesn’t count as pie, yum.

6. My first two cars were Chevy Cavaliers, yes by choice. Oh and I’ve owned four red cars.

7. I’m a creature of habit, which is why I bought the same kind of car twice.

8. I don’t drink coffee, but I love hot tea. British Breakfast, English Teatime, robust black teas are my favorites.

9. I don’t have a favorite song. It’s more accurate to say I have a lot of favorite songs. I couldn’t possibly narrow it down.

10. I’m a super taster so broccoli is the enemy. I also don’t eat much in the way of spicy foods because of it and another issue (see bonus 2).

11. My handwriting is truly awful.

Bonus 1: The Fifth Element is my favorite movie. I’m not claiming it’s the best movie out there, but it’s fun and entertaining. It doesn’t make me cry or feel bad. I have it on DVD and Blu-ray.

Bonus 2: I am allergic or sensitive to weird things. I can’t eat strawberries or drink from an aluminum can because both make my lips swell up and burn. I’m seriously allergic to bell peppers, one of my daughters inherited that one. Cooked spinach makes me ill. I can’t take certain antibiotics, which was a developed allergy. I cannot take narcotic pain relievers, ever. Not even a half dose, yep, learned the hard way.

Bonus 3: Today is my birthday.


My Nominees:

http://zoeambler.com/blog/

https://elizabethswriting.wordpress.com/

https://eamusgrove.wordpress.com/


The Very Simple Steps To Acceptance:

1) Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog that nominated you.

2) Copy and paste the Liebster logo onto your blog.

3) Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

4) Answer the 11 questions posed to you by the person who nominated you.

5) List 11 random facts about yourself.

6) Nominate and link to 3—11 other blogs you enjoy that have less than 3000 followers.

7) List 11 questions for your Liebster Award nominees on your blog.

8) Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.

(I copy and pasted this from Blackbird’s Nest, hope you’re not feeling too used today)


I am terrible at coming up with questions so if you don’t like one then make up your own and replace it. Also I’m stealing some from Blackbird’s Nest.

1. Why do you write a blog?

2. Do you listen to music when you write, if so, what kind?

3. Rose or Amy?

4. If you could live in a novel-world, which world would you choose to live in, and why?

5. What was the most emotionally involving story you’ve ever heard/read/watched?

6. What is your normal day like?

7. What is the weirdest or most unique thing about you?

8. How many snacks are sitting on or near your desk?

9. Are you a plotter or pantser?

10. How many books do you own? (Estimate)

11. Insert your own question here.


This was the hardest post I’ve ever done. If my nominees choose not to answer, I Completely understand! Either way I think you are all great.

How often is too often?

I’ve thinking a lot about quantity when it comes to blogging. For me personally I haven’t fallen into any particular pattern for when I write posts. Part of that is nanowrimo, but that will end soon. I don’t know how I feel about setting a schedule. I’ve always been the type that when the mood strikes, I write. There have been a few days where I posted more than once. There have been times where I skipped days. Honestly I have no idea how anyone else feels about how often one should post. I know that of the blogs I read I’ve not felt strongly one way or the other if they post really often. I do find that when someone only posts sporadically,  I kind of lose interest, but I’m still new at this so that could change over time. Overloading your readers sounds like a bad idea of course. I suppose I should just write what I want when I want and perhaps not publish immediately after writing each one. If I do go on a blogging bender and it bugs anyone feel free to tell me to shut my trap.

On another subject, I wrote eleven sentences in my nanowrimo project. I’m not ashamed, I’m proud because I’m sick today and I still made myself do a little something.

Busy busy

I haven’t posted in a while. I’d love to say it’s only because I’ve been busy but mostly my creativity has been sapped, or it’s hiding. Part of it is World of Warcraft. Another is I’ve had a lot to do. Mostly it was setting up a new domain. I had no idea how clueless I could be until I did that. Today my cousin is having a baby so I’ll be at the hospital for part of the day. It’s my husband’s day off so I’ll be hanging out with him on WoW. I do plan to get some writing in for my nanowrimo project. I’m extremely behind but I have some new ideas so I should get caught up over the next few days.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post something tonight. Don’t surprised if it’s all about a minotaur named Raythe who doesn’t want to be evil. Maybe a pretty troll or a near sighted Centaur.

Random changes to my blog and Nanowrimo update

Anyone who has read this blog is probably aware that I’m new to the blogging world. I still have a lot to learn. Over the next couple of weeks/months I will be making many changes. I’ll be experimenting with themes and widgets and well, everything. It’s entirely possible I’ll change the site title repeatedly. In fact I’ve changed it twice already this morning. All I can say is pardon my mess while every little thing is under construction. I am also participating in nanowrimo this month so all the alterations will be sporadic and unpredictable, much like my writing.  I’ll find my way eventually. Thank you for your patience.

What I write about won’t change. This month it will be mostly about nanowrimo. After that, mostly writing related, with a sprinkling of whatever else is on my mind.

Bonus note: I’m caught up on nanowrimo. Word count: 11,798. Hopefully I’ll get ahead this weekend. My story also took an unexpected turn that I’m in love with. I’ll do a post soon describing my story. Write on everyone!

P.S. A big thanks to my daughter for making me an ‘under construction’ sign.