My Writing Space: 5 Things That Aren’t Writing Related

Hello, hello!  How is everyone doing this bright and beautiful July day?  I’m still finding motivation and focus hard to achieve, which means most of my writing goals have failed miserably.  Slumps suck, but I’ll get out of it.  Anyway, I don’t really have anything writerly or exciting to post about, so I thought I would reintroduce you to my writing area.  I know I posted about it before, but writing areas aren’t entirely about writing.  They’re also about the writer (in this instance, me), so I wanted to introduce you to some of the non-writerly things that I keep nearby.

025
An old picture.  Things have changed, like a new stereo and different pictures, but still a good representation of my work space.

1. Yarn.  I decided to teach myself how to crochet, so I have a slowly disappearing skein of yarn and an 85% finished project sitting on my computer.  I just have to make a few more rows, then figure out how to sew it into a hat.  As usual with my creative endeavors, I’m finding it difficult to work up the motivation to finish.  Mostly because the next project I want to undertake scares me.  It’s supposedly fairly easy, but it looks so complicated!  And kind of big, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it physically.  But I’m enjoying the new hobby even though it scares me.  That’s about all it has in common with writing.  Well, that and shitty first attempts being acceptable.

2. Tequila.  I actually have two bottles of tequila on my desk.  One is an anejo from Republic Tequila in a bottle shaped like Texas.  It hasn’t been opened yet, even though I’ve had it for years.  I also have a Kah reposado in a sugar skull bottle.  I’ve only had a couple of shots of it, so it’s mostly full.  I’m not a lush.  I swear.

Kah
This one is similar to my bottle, but the designs are always a little different because each one is hand painted.

3. Assorted treats.  I keep a jar of chocolates on my desk, plus various candies and Pocky that I pick up or that people give me.  I still have chocolate from Christmas and Easter, plus candy and Pocky that are at least a couple of years old.  I keep forgetting they exist.  It’s weird, I know.  But my sweet tooth only activates at random times and I usually go for the chocolate instead of the rest.

4. Random creepy creatures.  Well, they aren’t really creepy.  I have a little rubber rat finger puppet that a neighbor gave me one Halloween.  His name is Yuki (it means snow) even though he’s black.  I just really like Fruits Basket.  And he cheers me on from my computer or right next to it.  I also have a tiny glass octopus named Tako that a friend sent me during one of her visits to Italy.  He watches me from one of my shelves.  And I have a bunch of other random figurines I’ve collected over the years.

tumblr_inline_pjbb69nrGn1snz1fk_540
Sohma Yuki, year of the rat.

5. A pile of CDs.  My new stereo doesn’t have a multi-CD function, so I have 60+ CDs sitting around in plain sight (many more hidden in my cabinets), waiting to be ripped to my computer.  But I’m lazy and keep forgetting about them.

So, that’s some of the non-writerly things I have in my writing space.  If it tells you something about the kind of person I am, feel free to share.  What are some of the things you keep in your work space that have nothing to do with your work?  Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts, or questions here or on my social media pages!

To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read…

Howdy, howdy!  First and foremost, I want to thank Lew Andrada one last time for his awesome post last week.  If you haven’t read it, you should go do that after you read and comment on this one!  As for this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff I read as a teenager or in my early 20s.  And there are a lot of books that I would love to read again for various reasons, but I’m afraid it’ll ruin the love I hold for them.  Like, what if they’re actually really bad and I’m just in love with the notion of them?  I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from friends to go ahead and make 2020 (and probably 2021 because I’m a slow reader and would still have to read new books to review) the year(s) of book nostalgia and re-read all the things, but the fear is real.  So, I thought I’d list the 35 books I want to read again and ask everyone for opinions on whether it’s a bad idea in general or which ones would best be left in the past, etc.

66ce22f264e4003a88a80cff82ec2c6709b1f05ddb5ace0160d9bd350b00b0a9
Probably stupid.

1. The Harry Potter series (7 books).  I’ve only read the series all the way through once.  Yeah, I’m a bad fan.  Whatever.  But I’ve been getting the itch to go through it all again.  I’m not too worried about ruining this one, though.  It’s the series I remember the best.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books).  I blew through this series in my mid-teens and can only vaguely remember it, which is why I want to read it again.  Granted, the memories are fond ones, but I still worry that maybe it wasn’t that good.  It has a decent sized fan base, but I often dislike books everyone else seems to love.  It’s worrisome.

3. The Anne of Green Gables series (9 books).  Normally, I hate slice-of-life (not sure if that’s an actual genre, but it’s what I’ve always called things like this series) books.  It makes me curious as to why I enjoyed this series as a teenager.  It’s one of the few that I’m most afraid of ruining for myself.

giphy (15)
Will it, though?

4. His Dark Materials (3 books).  This was a series I read in my early 20s.  I remember a bit of it, but not enough to read the Book of Dust series or any of the stories connected to His Dark Materials.  This is the usual predicament that forces me to re-read things.

5. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (4 books).  I’ve actually read these twice already, but I wouldn’t mind going back to them.  Just because.  There are some books that call to you.  It happens.

6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and The Talisman (2 books).  It’s not often that I feel the desire to re-read Stephen King stuff, but these are two I’m feeling drawn back to.  Will they stand up against the test of time?  I don’t know.  Am I willing to risk it?  Don’t know that either.

7. Neverwhere (1 book).  So, I have a love/hate relationship with Gaiman.  I absolutely love his work, but there’s always something I hate about his stories.  Neverwhere started my love of his work.  The problem is that I can’t remember hating anything about it.  That worries me, because what if it’s truly horrible and I’ve blocked it out?

tenor (6)
So many worries…

8. Ransom (1 book).  This one I actually read back in 4th or 5th grade.  I’ve never read anything else by Lois Duncan, but this one stuck with me.  It’s the first book I read that had someone with a disability who played a major role.  Granted, he wasn’t disabled like I am, but it was cool.  I’m afraid that connection was the only actual good thing about the book.

9. The Wild Iris (1 book).  I fully admit that I re-read poetry more than anything else.  This is a collection I’ve been meaning to read again for years.

So, what are your thoughts on reading things more than once?  Is it a worthwhile endeavor or would you stick with new books?  Anything on this list that isn’t worth a second look?  What’s on your list?  Feel free to share your comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

She’s a Pisser, All Right…

Hello, hello!  How is your month going?  Things are about the same as usual around here.  Writing is a struggle, submissions are on schedule, reading is being accomplished, and I’m slowly getting into my new hobby of crocheting (we’ll see how far I can get with it).  But I have nothing writerly to talk about, so I thought I would formally introduce you to the dog we got on Christmas.  You’ve seen pictures of her if you’ve been stalking me, but it’s time to let you know all her dirty little secrets.

cropped-52983164_10155952235331716_8614103558385565696_n.jpg

On Christmas, Dad’s friend and the friend’s woman-friend brought over two Pomeranians, husband and wife.  The woman had inherited them from her dead husband who had inherited them from a friend who had passed away.  Due to the hours she works, she didn’t have enough time to dedicate to properly caring for the dogs, so Dad’s friend suggested us as potential pupper parents.  Unfortunately, they neglected to mention that the boy dog had congestive heart failure (claiming repeatedly that he just had a cough and was always lethargic like that) and didn’t bring his medicine until the next day, so he passed away.  It was a bit traumatic for Dad (especially since the dog died in his lap while he was trying to give it its medicine) and I, but the girl dog stuck around.

Her name is Lady.  For the record, we didn’t name her, not that it really matters since she doesn’t seem to know her name anyway.  She answers to “Hey!” more than anything.  I tend to call her Fuzzybutt, but Dad thinks she should be named “Rocks” since she’s about as smart as a box of ’em.  She doesn’t know any commands and doesn’t seem keen to learn any.  But aside from being on the dumb side, she is the happiest dog ever!  Always prancing around like she deserves ALL the treats.  She demands cuddles and pets, but she won’t kiss for them.  As long as you’re touching her, she’s your friend for life.

dee
Pretty much.

She’s a great dog.  Super sweet.  She goes outside to poop.  The only problem is that she pees wherever she wants, which is usually in the house.  Dad even installed a doggy door for her, but it makes no difference.  In the beginning, we assumed it was her bedwetting problems, which she has medicine for but refuses to take recently.  Apparently, she just likes peeing on soft things.  The sofa, clean laundry, pillows, our beds, her bed.  It’s weird.  And it’s like she holds it all day or night just so she can soak things down.  She’s just doing it out of spite, because it seems to get worse when we leave her alone for a few hours (like to go get dinner).  She’ll be fine while we’re gone, then she’ll soak her bed or a pillow or something after we’ve been home a while.  Suggestions for how to break this habit are welcome.  Everything on the Interwebz starts with “put her bed there because she won’t pee where she sleeps!”  But I call bullshit, because she most certainly does.

1d2dd7b5c0df88d8759f808350cbea38
And they do.

Other than the peeing thing, she’s such a good pupper (she’s 8, but all dogs are puppers).  The vet and staff love her.  The groomer loves her.  We love her, but shhhhh… don’t tell her that.

Summer Reading List

Hello, hello!  It’s already the first day of May.  Can you believe it?  And even though it’s not technically summer, we’re starting to warm up around here, so I’ve been thinking about what to sit outside (at least until we hit the triple digits, then I’ll probably stay inside) and read.  Do you have your summer reading list ready?  I thought I would go ahead and share mine.  These are just my “for fun” books, not the ones I plan to review.  Also, the list is a work in progress, so I might add some or replace some.  Nothing is concrete, but these are all part of my current plan.

305412-Goodbye-April-Hello-May-

Anyway, here are the books in no particular order!

81GwjBywtML

1. A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael AlbuquerqueRafael Scavone, and Dave Stewart.  It’s been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel, so this should be a fun read.  Not to mention that it’s a Lovecraftian Sherlock Holmes story with Gaiman at the helm, so it’s right up my alley.

From the back: This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.

The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!

81EeGQrNhTL

2. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse.  It’s the second in The Sixth World series and I’ve been looking forward to it since I read and reviewed the first book.  Can’t wait to see what Maggie and Kai get up to this time!

From Amazon: It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.

Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.

517nw0ETj2L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_

3. Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien.  This is the third book in the A Noodle Shop Mystery series, of which I reviewed the first.  It’s a cute little cozy series and I really enjoy the characters even if the mysteries have been a little predictable so far.

From Amazon: Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

91JGvD21LBL

4. Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert.  This one is also the third cozy in a series (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery) where I reviewed the first one.  I really don’t know why I keep coming back to this series except that I find the love interest and side characters amusing, but I will give it another shot.

From Amazon: Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire. 

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy. 

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

81SruQBYmrL

5. Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen.  Ever since I read Briar Rose, I’ve been meaning to look into more of Yolen’s work.  This seemed like a good opportunity for a quick read by an awesome author.

From Amazon: A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself

51CyZP9FyAL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

6. A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes 1 by Jin Yong (translated by Anna Holmwood).  A friend sent me this one a few months ago and I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet, so I’m looking forward to it.

From Amazon: China: 1200 A.D. The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Half its territory and its historic capital lie in enemy hands; the peasants toil under the burden of the annual tribute demanded by the victors. Meanwhile, on the Mongolian steppe, a disparate nation of great warriors is about to be united by a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan’s army. He is humble, loyal, perhaps not altogether wise, and is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way: privileged, cunning and flawlessly trained in the martial arts. Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China – to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing – to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn.

That’s my list so far!  Plus, I plan to read a poem every day starting today.  Recommendations for books or poetry are always welcome.  Feel free to share your own summer reading lists here or on my social media pages!

Hobbies Are Important I Guess…

Howdy, howdy!  I’ve kind of been in a funk for a long time.  None of the things that used to excite me (anime, manga, even music) have held much interest for me.  While I was sick, I even stopped playing my mindless games for a few weeks.  The only thing I’ve been consistently doing is reading, and that hasn’t really drawn me in either.  I read a chapter or two at a time, then get bored no matter whether I’m enjoying the book or not.  And I think we all know (if you’ve been following my blog) that my writing schedule has been super inconsistent.  So, I decided to try finding some kind of hobby that might interest me.

5bee4c9035325
Apathetic, not sad.  Thank you very much.

While we were running errands on Friday, Dad and I stopped by Hobby Lobby for some yarn for a project he’s doing in the pond.  As he was searching for a certain type of yarn in green, I looked around the aisle just for the fun of it.  I like yarn and random crafts.  I used to love cross-stitching.  But I don’t do anything like that anymore because I have a stupidly limited range of motion and can’t get my hands close enough together to manipulate everything that needs manipulating.  It’s the same reason I stopped playing video games.

Anyway, when I was younger, I had tried crocheting.  I never finished anything and have no idea why I stopped, but I never started back up because the hooks were all too short for me to reach with both hands.  Needless to say, I was surprised to see a few hooks that were super long hanging above the normal crochet hooks at Hobby Lobby.  After much internal debate, I decided to get one and a skein of multi-colored yarn.  Actually, Dad got them for me (thanks, again!).

290448bbf3972effbe5a996f96ea4383--judith-memes
This is going to be more fun than I thought.

A lot of writers I know seem to knit or crochet or have similar hobbies, so when I saw that hook (which is apparently a Tunisian/Afghan hook designed for a special type of crocheting, but can be used like a regular hook) I figured I could give it a shot.  Granted, I remember absolutely nothing from my earlier attempts at the craft, so all I’ve been doing thus far is research, but I feel that little tug of excitement that I’ve been missing.  I have a project picked out (and approved of by a friend who crochets as something a beginner can handle).  I’ve been watching videos of how to do the chain and single crochet, as well as how to sew the project together when I reach that point.  All I’m missing is a yarn or tapestry needle, but I won’t need that until I get the crocheting done.  I hope to start on that part soon.

200 (2)
Me: “Wish me luck?” Also me: “Nope.”

What about you?  Do you have a particular hobby (or two, three, forty)?  What drew you to it?  Are you currently looking for a hobby or learning a new one?  Feel free to share your thoughts or comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

P.S. If I succeed at my first project, I’ll make sure to post pictures!  If I fail, I’ll probably just let this whole thing fade into oblivion with no further mention.

It’s In The Bag…

Hello, hello!  Hoppy April!  Yes, I did the corny bunny joke since Easter is coming up later this month and I’ll probably forget about it that week.  Anyway, I had zero ideas what to blog about today, so I went to this post and convinced myself I would do the third thing on the list (because it’s the 3rd).  It seems pretty silly to me, but apparently people believe that what people carry around in their bags (purses, backpacks, fanny packs, whatever) can tell you a lot about them.  You probably won’t learn anything about me, but if you do, feel free to share it with me!

Happy-April
Pretty.

First off, I don’t have a bag or purse or anything extravagant like that.  I have a pouch that Dad bought me from Thatcher’s Leather Artistry during one of our long ago trips to the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival.  It’s small enough to tuck it away for short trips out of the house and, if we’re going to be out for the day, there’s a little loop on the back so we can hang it on my seatbelt where I don’t have to worry about it falling off somewhere.  It’s durable.  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it and it’s still going strong.  But most importantly, it has a dragon on it and I love it.

011
Be jealous. ^__~

As far as the stuff that goes in it, there isn’t much.  I keep a handful of my own business cards that I always forget about, thus never giving them away.  There were originally ten of the new ones and I’m pretty sure there still are.  I also have at least one of my old cards as well.  Plus a bunch of other people’s business cards that I collected along the way, though those get purged about once a year, whenever they get unruly.  There’s also a library card that I haven’t used in years and some other random cards.  But, of course, I always forget to toss the gift cards I’ve accumulated in there, so I never have one during my rare stops at Starshmucks or whatever.

There’s also a little baggy of pills hidden in its depths.  Don’t get excited, pouch thieves.  It’s just Dad’s diabetes pills in case we’re out for our first meal of the day and he hasn’t taken his meds yet.  Anyone who steals those won’t get high, but they might end up in a low sugar coma!  I suppose that could be fun.  But yeah, that’s in there.

11768580_hi
It’s a nifty little thing.

I also got this little card holder thing recently.  It holds the few semi-important things I have: my ID, etc.  If the sigil makes no sense, it’s from Supernatural, so don’t worry about it.  I mostly just got it because it was on sale and the colors match my pouch.

Other than that, I don’t keep anything in my pouch.  Not even change.  I might drop a lipstick in on the extremely rare occasion that I wear makeup and we’re going to be out all day, but that’s a once every five years thing.  What about you?  What does your bag say about you?  What does mine say about me?  Whatever it is, it’s probably wrong.  Feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

Revised Goals

Howdy, howdy!  It’s mid-March, and as many of you know, I’ve been sick most of the year thus far.  I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t say that I’m definitely better, but I think I’m on the right track.  Anyway, I thought I would take this week’s post easy and revise my goals for the year since everything is screwed up.  I’ll try to post something writerly or personal or worth reading next week.  Suggestions for topics or questions are always welcome.  For now, let’s get to it.

je1gx
This has been me for a while now.

So, yeah. Goals: revised.

1. Finish revising LR1.  I was hoping to get this done by early April, but that’s not happening.  All I’ve managed to do with this story is figure out I forgot to swap some scenes around as I was going through it.  So, I’m hoping I can get it done by late June or early July.  At least I’ll know where to start when I can dig back into this one!

2. Begin revising DS1.  I was hoping to get this novel polished up by the end of the year, but with all the work it needs, that’s a tall order.  I’ll be happy if I can get through a second draft and end up with something vaguely readable by the end of the year.  There’s always next year if I need more time.

97ec07f5643ba6f922e3d8b550580a2d
That’s also the secret to finishing second drafts!

3. Submit short stories/flash pieces (at least 2 subs a week).  I admit that I fell a few weeks behind on this while I was sick, but I did take a day to send a bunch out in order to catch up.  Now, I’m back to doing it regularly, so this is one goal that gets to stay the same.

4. Write 5 short stories/flash pieces.  I highly doubt I’ll get the story I wanted to get done by the end of March finished.  However, I still believe that five new short pieces is a reasonable goal.  It’s less than one per month.  Maybe I’ll also add some poetry, but I can decide that later.

5. Shop LR around to agents.  Still hoping to meet this goal.  If I can get it revised by July, I don’t see why this isn’t something I could accomplish.  It’s not like I’m saying I want to get it published or anything.  That’s more of a five year plan goal.

just-keep-reading

6. Read 25 books.  This was originally 30 books, but I’ve lost a lot of time and don’t know if I can make it up.  I’m a slow reader.  But I’ve still got a long list of to-be-read books!

I should also throw it out there that I need to socialize more and write to people and take care of my health.  Hopefully, I can do all that plus get to everything on my list.  What about you?  Do you have any goals you need to rework this year?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

The Year of Pestilence

Hello, hello!  Apparently, 2019 has decided it wants to be the year of disease and crud and general unpleasantness in this house.  If I’m not sick, Dad is.  If he’s not sick, I am.  We don’t know where we’re getting sick or even what we’re sick with, but it seems like every time we feel better for a couple of days, something new pops up.  We keep blaming the dog (that’s what we have pets for, right?  To blame everything on them), but she doesn’t care as long as she gets her cuddles and food.  Anyway, this weekend it was my turn to get sick and I’m still in that post sickness haze where every time I feel halfway decent, I ask my body what kind of trick it’s pulling.  Needless to say, this post will probably be short and just a rant.

52983164_10155952235331716_8614103558385565696_n
Speaking of dogs, this is Lady after her bath.

I’ve been sick pretty much since January 22nd.  I’ll have days where I feel pretty good, but never enough in a row to get any significant amount of work done.  That means my goals for the year are all screwed up.  Once I get over whatever is going on with me, I’ll have to rework all my plans and see what’s salvageable and what I need to push back.  But, honestly, I’m at the point right now where I just don’t care.  All I want is to go more than a week without feeling like crap.  But I don’t want to complain, so I’ll just leave you with a little ditty that describes how I feel.

Warning: profanity.

A Time For Goals

Hello, hello!  Welcome to 2019!  Since it’s only the 2nd day of the year, I thought I would share my goals.  I did this type of post for last year as well, but I failed pretty miserably.  In 2018, I finished the first draft of DS1, started revisions on LR1, wrote 3 new short stories/flash fiction pieces, submitted 2 short stories/flash pieces/poems a week (earning myself a publication and a handful of personal rejections), and I read 29 books.  I started out strong early in the year, but eventually lost steam.  Hopefully, I can find a steady pace that won’t wear out on me in 2019.  On to the goals!

NewYearsMemes
True.  Also, I guess 2016 just kind of disappeared into the aether.

1. Finish revising LR1.  I still have a lot of work to do on this book, but I adore the characters and the story line.  I’m shooting for a finish date of early April.  At least finishing the second draft, at which point I’ll have to find some trusty beta readers (always the hardest part in my experience).  I might even look into prices for professional editing, so I can get some expert feedback.  We’ll see how it goes.  First, I have to finish revising it.

2. Revise DS1.  My mind has been randomly drifting to this book for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been reading so many cozy mysteries that I really want to get back to working on my own.  It’s a series I’m considering using a pseudonym for, though that means I’m getting ahead of myself.  I have to revise it and get an agent or publisher interested, then I can worry about names and all that fancy stuff.  A woman can dream, though.

Pen-Names-1
Non-existent Jekyll. Has a nice ring to it.

3. Submit short stories/flash pieces (at least 2 subs a week).  I want to keep this habit going for as long as I can.  It’s sometimes really difficult to find at least semi-pro paying places to submit a story that’s been out in slush limbo on and off for over a year, but I keep looking.  I haven’t had to retire a piece because of that yet.  Hopefully this year will bring more acceptances and more awesome venues for submitting!

4. Write 5 short stories/flash pieces.  A break between revisions is always a good thing.  Last year, I aimed a little too high on my short story goals, so I decided to be more sensible.  I already have one short story brewing for a project with some friends.  Maybe getting that one written will help grease the wheels, so to speak.

5. Shop LR around to agents.  This is a goal that is a tad ambitious, which is good.  It all depends on how well the revisions on LR go and whether or not it requires another round of them.  It’ll give me something to strive for.

25aa61d9bcb07839559744143bf853a1
Look at the cute puppy!

6. Read 30 books.  I didn’t include a reading goal last year, but my goal was 24 books.  I managed to read 29 books, so I thought I would try to one up that.  But I’m a slow reader.  Hopefully, I can get through 30 books.

What about you?  What are your goals for 2019?  Feel free to share them or your thoughts here or on my social media pages!

2018: It Was A Year

Hello, hello!  First and foremost, I want to once again thank J. R. Dawson for her awesome guest post last week.  If you haven’t read it yet, go and do the thing.  Now, on to this week’s post!  Since December is speeding toward its end, I thought I would take a moment to look back on the year.  Don’t worry.  I don’t plan on getting all insightful and nostalgic.  But I do plan on sharing five memorable things that have occurred this year in no particular order.

New Year 2019 replace 2018 on the sea beach summer concept
Before the year washes away completely…

1.  The great wheelchair debacle of 2018.  As many of you know, I recently got my new wheelchair after months (about 7 months) of fighting for it.  Technically, Dad did most of the fighting, I was just stubborn about what I wanted.  Instead of telling us up front that they didn’t normally deal with Quickie chairs, the company we were getting the chair through assured us they could get one, then proceeded to try pushing an Invacare chair on me.  They talked me into trying a molded seat despite the fact that I’ve always hated that type of seat.  All along they said it would work with a Quickie, but when they went to send it out, chair and all, they told us it was an Invacare chair.  They tried to convince us that’s what we agreed to, which went over like a lead balloon.  After much arguing and being punished by not getting a seat I didn’t want in the first place, I have my Quickie and it even has the motors I wanted (though we had to pay the extra for them out of pocket, which is fine).  I just don’t have any pictures of it to share yet.

2.  Getting published (and getting paid for it).  I know you’re probably tired of hearing about it, but it was an exciting part of my year.  We even went down to Port Neches for the book launch, which was a nice little vacation for us even though the seafood was severely disappointing.  And, of course, I can’t write about it without dropping a link where you can purchase the book.  So, if you haven’t read it yet, you can find my story “Lying Eyes” in Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3.  You can find purchase info at the bottom of the linked page.

41XFIjx220L
It would look good on your bookshelf!

3.  A new Thanksgiving tradition?  I don’t know if it’ll become a tradition or not (we’ll see what happens next year), but we had a lovely meal at Texas de Brazil this year.  After 32+ years, Dad wasn’t up for cooking the usual feast, so we took our neighbor to the Brazilian steakhouse.  They had a few Thanksgiving staples alongside their normal menu.  It was delicious as ever.  The only sad thing was there were no leftovers.

4.  Saw the Moody Blues live.  I admit that 2018 wasn’t the best year for concerts, but with everything going down in Deep Ellum, it didn’t feel like a good idea to go down there too often.  Plus, there weren’t many bands I actually wanted to see.  But back in January, Dad surprised me with a trip to the Toyota Music Factory to see the Moody Blues play.  They are an amazing band with some awesome music.  Seeing them live was a real treat!

5.  Dad’s hernia surgery.  Most of you already know, but Dad had hernia surgery on the 11th.  His primary doctor finally confirmed he had one last month even though Dad had been vocal about pain and swelling for the last 6 months.  The doctor acted like the swelling was something new.  Then again, this is the same doctor who forgot he put Dad on a diet.  So, Dad found a place called NTTC Surgery Center, which provides routine surgical procedures for a flat (affordable) rate.  It’s basically a collaborative effort from local doctors to provide affordable options for people without insurance.  The facility is nice and the staff was wonderful.  Though, it was a bit of a surprise when the surgeon required his portion in cash, which we weren’t warned about.  But other than that, the whole experience was smooth and everyone was very reassuring.  Dad just had his post-op check up and is healing well.  He’s getting a bit antsy to get back to his normal routine, but he has to take it easy for three more weeks.

How was your year?  Feel free to share some memories (good, bad, scary, exciting, or otherwise) here or on my social media pages!