Butterflies or Ghosts

Butterflies or Ghosts

I should probably keep resting–it’s only been two weeks since I finished my novella. My writer’s brain needs time to recharge.

Besides, I have library books to consume, a closet to organize, and that batch of muffins.

But stories flow through my mind, flitting like butterflies or lingering like ghosts.

The mermaids wait in the ocean, thumping their tails on the floor to communicate–congregation, location, danger.

Five siblings need their personalities to be explored and tied into ordinary wartime adventures.

A young nun must set out on her own to find the family she was sure she lost.

There’s a prophesied apocalypse to outrun. A WW2 hospital ward to visit. Ashkenazi Jews surviving in space. The girl in the compression suit. The girl who loses every friend. Something very wrong with clones.

I wouldn’t blame me for resting for a while longer. And I also wouldn’t blame me if I dove into a project head first. πŸ˜‰

I Did It!

I Did It!

Remember when I shared I was part of A Very Bookish Easter anthology and my plans for a Heidi-inspired novella? I wrote a large chunk during my escapades as a NaNoRebel but soon fell into writer’s block and dissatisfaction with the tone and direction of my story…

Each day as my deadline drew closer, I knew I couldn’t continue writing it.

Two days before the year ended, I took the plunge and completely started over. Square one, fresh document, no borrowing words from the original draft (except a short description).

Back when I was just starting chapter 3 😭

I wrote like a crazy fiend for the next two weeks through vacation, illness, and ginormous work projects. I wrote in the car, in bed, at the coffee shop, in my living room. Lots of tea was consumed. πŸ˜‰

Chai and cupcake Squishmallow for support

As the story took shape this time, I found both the joy and the deep theme I was missing. It became a celebration of spring, of a hometown very inspired by my own, of a close-knit family and community.

And it became an exploration of church hurt and longing for wholeness again.

I really am so grateful (and mildly shocked πŸ˜…) to have this novella completed. It’s been three years since my last new book, so this feels like a huge step and a big blessing.

My coffeeshop buddy πŸ’–

It’s currently in the hands of my fabulous beta-reading team and after that it’ll be sent on over to my editor. πŸ™Œ

I named it “Addie’s Mountain”, and I can’t wait to share it with you. πŸ’–

Crunch Time

Crunch Time

Greetings from crazy author HQ. I haven’t updated you all on my WIP for the Easter anthology in quite a while because I’ve been frantically writing it. In fact, tomorrow I turn “Addie’s Mountain” over to beta-readers. Tonight I finish writing it…

I truly can’t believe this is happening. It’s been a while since my last project, and this one has had so many setbacks. To get to this point, well… I’m both excited and terrified out of my mind. πŸ‘€

*stares into the void* *flexes writing muscles*

As this week is proving too dynamic and busy for blogging, I thought I might pacify you all with a (very rough draftish) excerpt… πŸ˜‰

Addie awoke to soft gray light playing with the curtain and a chill running through the room that made her want to burrow deeper into her blankets and never leave. She yawned and rolled over to face Claire but her sister was already awake, sitting close to the window with her blanket draped over her shoulders.

“What is it?” Addie asked. She sat up but her body shivered in protest. 

“It snowed,” Claire breathed, and she was over to the window in seconds.

Soft, glittering snow had covered the whole backyard, dormant orchard and dead garden, and even balanced on the fence that separated yard from pasture. Small flakes still floated down here and there like butterflies skipping from flower to flower. Penny ran by wagging her tail and twisting with joy as she tried to snap up the flakes. The sisters exchanged glances and made a snap decision, changing into snow clothes and charging out the backdoor before breakfast could even be mentioned.

Addie chased Claire around the big maple tree, throwing handfuls of snow and dodging Penny who was determined to get under foot. Claire’s cheeks grew rosy with the cold and laughter, and she stopped suddenly and shoved a handful of snow right into her.

Addie shrieked and the snow battle was on. They sank down on the porch together and stared out at the slushy yard that was beginning to melt. A movement near the barn caught Addie’s eye and she looked in time to see a tall boy turn away and duck into the building.

I’ll be back next week with more project details and a very fun bookhaul. For now, send help and Chai. πŸ’–

(Also, J and I got a library card!)

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

Welcome, 2023! Make yourself comfortable and stay awhile. πŸ˜‰

As in past years, I’ve decided to share a few of my hopeful bookish goals for this year. πŸ˜‰

1. Publish my A Very Bookish Easter novella

My entry to this anthology is coming along well, and I can’t wait for you all to read the finished product. 🀩 I think it’s gonna give you allll the cozy feels. 😁

2. Commission character art

This was actually something I attempted last year, but it didn’t end up working out, and I’m really excited to give it another shot. I have some gorgeous art of Kiera and of characters from the Arrows and Archers series planned. 😍

3. Dive back into dormant projects

This includes but is not limited to… promised sequels, “Awake” draft bazillion and seven or something, and a middle-grade WWII homefront novel. I am hoping to ease back into regular writing routines, and the big dream is to publish at least one new project this year. πŸ™

4. Sell books in person?

It’s been a few years now since I’ve had the opportunity to sell my books at an in-person event, but I’m really hoping/praying/scheming to get something together this year. πŸ™ˆ

5. Read 35 books

I barely made my goal last year, but I am planning to read a lot, so I’ve started my challenge at a nice, moderate 35 books. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ I’m hoping a high percentage of them are new indie releases. 🀞

There you go! Those are my bookish goals for this shiny new year. πŸ˜πŸ’™ In the personal sphere, I’m also planning to continue working on my mental health and to move on from my current day job to something that fits my needs better. Also, more baking, but that’s a given… πŸ˜‰

What are your hopeful goals for 2023?

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

If I had to choose three words to describe this year, they would be “sorting”, “softness”, and “new” memories. πŸ’™

Year one of marriage has been great! We’ve had so much fun getting settled in our little house, bringing his dog Nugget into the mix, and becoming pros at grocery shopping and communication (almost). Also, hospitality makes us feel like really cool adults. 😎 My favorite new memories have been us sitting on the porch watching it rain and our very bookish vacation this summer.

My mental health journey has been a ride. Oh boy. πŸ₯΄ Lots of coping with comfort shows, a cute computer game, and amazing naps, lol. I feel like I lost a lot of time this year to survival mode, but I’m so grateful to be six months into treatment and feeling way better. And just this month I got answers and a plan for 3+ years of “mysterious” physical illness. πŸ™ŒπŸ˜

It’s been an amazing author year in ways I could have never expected when I dove back in! It’s been encouraging and fun to find you all stuck around, and growing my bookish Instagram community has been great too. πŸ’™ I released the special second edition of Kiera, a literal dream come true, published Enjoy the Poodle Skirt in adorable tiny paperback form, and wrote Operation Robin and most of a novella. I’ve also been gaining confidence (and a low-key obsession) with cover design. 😎

So much more reading happened this year! And a huge percentage of it was indie, which makes me ridiculously happy. πŸ˜‰ From debuts to short stories to years-in-the-making comebacks, I’ve been delighted to support my authors and discover new fictional worlds. I’ve also gotten to experience a couple buddy reads which is always quite fun. Check out my Goodreads “Year in Books” to see what I enjoyed.

My husband and I really bonded over movies while we were dating, and the fun has continued into our marriage. Thanks to him, I’ve seen a TON of really good movies this year, so I had trouble choosing my top 5. (That’s why there are six. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘€) If you have any questions about a movie/content, I’m happy to share my thoughts. πŸ˜‰

I got to bake a lot more this season, and my favorite repeat recipe has got to be these cookies. So delicious and light. 🀀 I had to buy a new computer early this year, and collecting stickers on it makes my nerd heart so happy. 😍 As does my growing Funko Pop family and the book sleeve collection I accidentally started. 😊

It’s been quite a year, and I’m really, really grateful for it. πŸ’š I’ll be back next week (next year! :O ) with my nebulous goals for 2023.

Thank you for being part of my 2022!

A Little Bit of Writing, and That’s All // NaNoRebel Wrap-Up

A Little Bit of Writing, and That’s All // NaNoRebel Wrap-Up

Despite my optimism, best intentions, and strongest will to write… Well, no more writing happened. πŸ˜‰

It was a deadly combination of the world’s weirdest flu, holidays (and baking and decorating for them!), fatigue and depression, and being distracted by some pretty cool books and an adorable computer game (oops).

Goals are hard for me.

I blame myself when I don’t squeeze out every last minute, when I look back and realize I let quite ordinary energetic days pass without writing, when I’m confronted by my procrastinating and lazy tendencies.

I get discouraged when in this season of life it’s more than likely my body or my emotions (or both) will randomly go on strike for daysss at a time and leave me catching up and choosing between work and pleasure with the time I get.

I feel embarrassed when I have to update you all that I failed another goal, again.

Now comes the part where I let go and move on. I remind myself to be grateful for the words I have written and focus on the numerous other joys that have come about and will continue to come as we turn toward Christmas hope. πŸ˜‰

I hope, whether you accomplished your goals last month or not, that you lean into grace and joy. ❀

A Little Bit of a #Fail // NaNoRebel Week Two

A Little Bit of a #Fail // NaNoRebel Week Two

The goal hasn’t been goaling, and I’ve had to extend a lot of grace (and the mini-deadline) for myself again. πŸ˜‰ *sigh*

I only wrote another 800 words this week, but I got through a tough chapter (in more ways than one), so I’m hopeful this next week will be more productive. πŸ˜‰

For now, I feel you all need a very first-draftish excerpt. For context, my main character Addie is visiting her grandfather and gets to see the small country town for the first time…

β€œTown” was a loose term for a dozen houses, the church, and a small country store, as Addie soon found out. Still it was all so cute like right out of a cheesy movie, that her sense of adventure was in full swing when Grandfather parked his rattling truck and they jumped out.

Old-fashioned windows cluttered with contemporary art and an unenthusiastic porch dog greeted them. Grandfather opened the door and a small bell announced their arrival.Β 

Short aisles of dry goods filled the front of the store while a bar and cafe nestled in the far end. A round table of older men called out to Grandfather, and he removed his hat and joined their card game.

Addie stood in the middle of the store taking in the lingering smells of breakfast and the tidy rows of products ranging from flour, sugar, mousetraps, and an entire machete. She gravitated to the circular rack of touristy items and selected a postcard claiming to be a picture of original settlers.Β 

When she carried it up to the counter, the woman at the register smacked her gum and took one look at her. β€œYou’re Uri’s granddaughter? That one’s free for you, honey.”

Addie thanked the woman, then settled down at a free table in the corner, and slid the postcard into the copy of Heidi she’d brought from the farmhouse book room. It was one she’d been meaning to read for a while, especially since she still wondered what happened after the one traumatizing scene she’d seen as a child.Β 

Laughter from the card table brought a smile to her face, and she soon sunk into the simple yet comforting tale. A while later, someone brought a sandwich and a basket of crisp fries to her table and Grandfather gave her a thumbs-up from across the room. If this was a daily tradition, she wouldn’t mind accompanying him to β€œtown” every time.

Fun fact: this store is inspired by two different country stores I went to when I lived in a small town. It’s been really fun work to bring it to life. πŸ˜‰

Here’s to more words this week! πŸ’™πŸ™ How are your goals going?

A Little Bit of Progress // NaNoRebel Week One

A Little Bit of Progress // NaNoRebel Week One

Last week I shared my (hopeful, rough, overly optimistic, creative, CRAZY) plans for NaNoWriMo, and with the first week in the bag, I thought I’d give a small update. πŸ˜‰

Goal One: Novella Wrap-Up

I’ve actually written quite a lot this month and nearly doubled my wordcount, but the novella is still coming more slowly than I want it to. I’m having the ups and downs of “this is horrible” “this is amazing” “what even are words” on a small scale, and I even had an internet scare (everything was saved, phew!) and did some late-night writing in my email drafts. πŸ˜‰ Basically the whole NaNoWriMo experience just for these 5,000 new words. πŸ˜‚πŸ«£

I planned to wrap it up by the 7th, but I’m going to need more time, and since I’m a Rebel, that’s really okay. πŸ˜‰ *insert Rebel Alliance flag* *gives self a nerdy space nickname*

Goal Two: Organize My Novel Notes

Transferring the scribblies on my manuscript to more clear, useful notes in my notebook was something I thought would take forever (since the manuscript is a literal minefield of red ink), but I got it done in a day or two. ❀ Y’all, it’s sooo satisfying, and I feel ready to take on this next draft.

Goal Three: Fantasy Novel Edits

*stares longingly* Gotta knock out Goal One first… πŸ˜‰

Miscellaneous Happenings

I am (as usual) absolutely loving a good cup of tea. It pushes me into the cozy, focused space writing needs, and I also feel infinitely British (which is also important).

I invented myself a lapdesk! I prefer writing on the couch but also don’t want to overheat my computer, so I took a wooden food tray and flipped it upside down over my lap, and voila! #socool

I got distracted by making mock-up covers for NaNo projects (and they’re actually available for sale if you want one πŸ˜‰). Not to mention mental health, family events, a very cool computer game, and the cat who adopted us. πŸ˜‰

This month may not look exactly as I planned, but I’ve accomplished some good things, and I’m excited to continue my projects. πŸ˜‰ And I seriously can’t wait for you all to meet my adorable characters. 🀩

A Little Bit of a Plan

A Little Bit of a Plan

Happy November!! You know what this means… πŸ˜‰

It’s go crazy writing month!!! This turtle of a writer is joining NaNoWriMo as a Rebel. 😎😎

I planned to commit November to editing my fantasy novel, but my October project is running late so there’ll be a little bit of overlap.

Which is okay with me, since having writing to do helps keep editor-me sane. πŸ˜‚

So here’s the current optimistic plan…

1. Wrap-up my current project, a.k.a. the first draft of my Easter novella, within the first week of this month. πŸ˜¬πŸ™

2. Organize my notes for the next draft of my fantasy novel in the first week as well. πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

3. Get my fantasy novel safely through an entire draft and all shiny for beta-readers. 😍😍

Now, my life is very dynamic right now, so I hold these plans loosely, but I’m having fun making them and feeling hopeful and ready to go! 🧑

Do you have writerly plans this month?

Mostly Reading, Chance of Writing

Mostly Reading, Chance of Writing

I took a hiatus last week from Instagram and Facebook, and between that and finishing up a job, I had a nice time of rest and creativity. 🧑

I finally finished the book I’ve been stuck in for two months (wowza!), then discovered my reading slump was quite over and started reading through some of the indie books I’ve picked up on Kindle.

Crook Q and its supplemental novella Prisoner 120518 (both by Rachel Newhouse) reignited my love for the Red Rain series and kept me up late a couple nights. πŸ˜‰

For Elise by Hayden Wand was a really cute read for spooky season, and I finally got to experience Should We Tell Her? by Lillian Keith. (*sobs*)

I also started this deep and beautiful remix of Little Women called So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow. πŸ˜πŸ‘ It’s one I need to really savor, so for now it hangs out with the fall decorations a little. πŸ˜‰

In my plan for the week, I promised myself that I must write, but each day passed with no new words. Until Saturday rolled around and my writing plans were further encouraged by a lovely rainy day, and I completed an outline of my new project. 🧑

How was your week?