Sunday, December 29, 2019

We Wish You a Merry Power Outage

This is my third winter here in Twin Peaks, and there are three big things I've learned:

  1. The first two winters were a joke.
  2. You need a generator to live up here.
  3. must enjoy reenacting primordial days of lighting candles and stoking fires for warmth to live up here.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we got hammered with snow, and our mountain lost power for four days. This week, we got hammered with more snow and lost power for two more days.

Our local tavern, the Bearclaw, is usually dead in the middle of the day. But here it was yesterday afternoon, day two of the outage:

The Bearclaw doesn't have some big awesome generator, but they do have a small one in which they're able to plug in a few things...enough to entice mountain folks to seek refuge there.

That being said, we actually have a generator. Our property came with one, and it's amazing. It runs on natural gas and turns on automatically during an outage, powering everything on our property. So we pretty much live like kings during a power outage (though we do look like assholes when our Christmas lights are blazing National-Lampoon-style against the pitch-black canvas of our street). The problem is during outages we have no WiFi, and spotty cell service at best, which is why we went to the Bearclaw. Boredom of course, but more than that, the community up here relies on each other for information during storms--we have what we call "Rim pages" on Facebook for this very reason--so you feel cut-off from everyone when you have no WiFi, and start craving interactions with others going through similar issues.

I have to admit, the Bearclaw yesterday was spirit-lifting. The atmosphere was warm and festive, with all of these bedraggled mountain peeps gathered together, making the best of the situation.

Which makes me realize there are three kinds of people who live in the mountains:

  1. The ones who complain about everything.
  2. The ones who get annoyed by the ones complaining about everything. (i.e. "Suck it up buttercup. You chose to live here.")
  3. The ones who go to the bar and have a beer.

I've decided to be person #3. 

Here's a quick video of our last snow: Let it Snow

Here's Mr. Lump, our lazy snowman (built into the hillside by Trin and Elijah so he can look out over the street).

And here are the icicles growing from our roof. 

Anyone up for a good ole' throwback game of Frogger? You get to be the frog, but instead of dodging cars, you're dodging icy spears that could very well impale you. Fun for the whole family!

Hope your Christmas was wonderful and you have an amazing 2020.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Working with Hubby

Image result for teachers holding hands
I work with my spouse. I guess this isn't the strangest thing in the world. Couples who own a business, for example, work together. I have acquaintances who work as a husband/wife team in their real estate business. The winery down the street from my sister's house is owned by a married couple, so those two work together every day.

But there's something different about it when you work at the same workplace as your spouse. Maybe it's because there's a social dynamic with work settings, and now you're mixing your marriage into that. For Clint and I, our jobs are even further enmeshed. Not only do we work at the same school, we both teach 7th grade, we have the same lunchtime, we're both on School Site Council and the Leadership Team, and we're both friends with the same teachers here on campus. Not to mention we commute to work together 45 minutes each way, every day.

So what are the pros and cons of working with your spouse? I don't think I'm even sure about this, so let me write them down and figure it out!


Shared Interest
Working the same job means Clint and I share a huge part of our lives. Talking about work comes easy when your partner is going through the same experiences as you, and you don't have to pretend to be interested (sorry, that sounds sorta cold).

Carpooling Buddy
Carpooling can get boring after awhile, but working with your spouse means you get to make that daily trip together. I'm especially grateful for this when we have treacherous road conditions due to snowy weather. 

Help on the Job
Technology meltdown? Call hubby. Broken cabinet? Call hubby. Out of glue? Call hubby. Clint has saved my hide in the classroom more times than I can count.

This one can go the other way too--if you work with a spouse who's underperforming, it might embarrass you or make you feel judged by your admin/staff. But in my case, Clint is a creative, tech-savvy teacher and overall fun person who's respected on our campus. It's cool to feel this level of admiration for a colleague, then remind myself "Oh yeah, I'm married to the guy."

When Clint makes his breakfast, he makes mine. I come downstairs every morning to a travel mug of coffee and an egg/avocado/burrito-thing ready to go. (Though honestly, even when we worked separate jobs, he would still make my breakfast, so this is more an 'awesome hubby thing' than a 'working together thing').

Clint is exposed to different staff members throughout the day than I am, so by the time we reconvene, we're both loaded with juicy gossip that the other wasn't privy to. And the best part? It doesn't count as gossiping when you share it with your spouse, because married couples are allowed to share everything. ;)

Misery loves company. I love my job, but sometimes I'm so tired and drained that the idea of going to work makes me want to curl up in the fetal position. But when Clint and I are both dragging ass at 5:30 a.m--going through the pain together--it makes work an easier pill to swallow.

Clint's always been a great sport about going to wine nights and other social events with my colleagues. But now that we work together, my friends are legitimately his friends, too. We both love hanging out with people from work, and it feels good that he's no longer tagging along as my 'plus one.'

Clint and I have a bit of a "professionalism be damned" attitude at work. We have no problems hugging in front of people, saying "I love you," or even dropping the occasional innuendo. Our colleagues have grown accustomed to our flirtiness and just roll with it (or jump in), and it adds a fun dynamic to what would otherwise be an ordinary day.

Work feels less like work when family is there. I felt this dynamic back when my kids attended my school too. Maybe it's because no matter what curveballs are thrown at you throughout the day, knowing that the people you love the most are nearby, ready to give you a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on...well, it softens the blow.


Attached at the Hip
There's truth in the expression "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Being together 24/7 means never having time apart to miss each other. Little nuances, habits, etc., can be charming in smaller doses, but can compound to frustrating levels when you never get a chance to hit the reset button.

Toxic Negativity
I'm an upbeat "roll with the punches" person who doesn't like to dwell on negative stuff. My preferred commuting style is to blast my music and ignore any jackholes on the road. So when Clint blows off steam over a bad driver or road construction or whatever, it verbally craps on my entire morning. He also likes to fester in work politics, which I prefer to brush off (why dwell in things you can't change?). If we do get into an argument, there's no way to 'get away' to clear our heads. Honestly, this is the biggest con. I feel like this one should be in bold red.

Leaving Work at Work
In the old days when I came home, Clint and I would spend a few minutes at most talking about our workday before moving on to greener pastures. But now, having our livelihoods in common means work tends to consume all of our conversations. This makes it difficult to "leave work at work." We had to come up with ground rules last year (i.e. No talking about work once we hit the trees, no talking about work in bed, etc.), because living and breathing work from 5:30 a.m until 10:00 p.m is mentally draining. Unfortunately we're still struggling to follow our own rules, so this one's stuck on the list.

No Mystery
Back when Clint worked for the railroad, my job as a teacher held a sort of mystery and prestige (and vice-versa). Things you don't fully understand tend to be an enigma in your mind. I was 'the teacher in the family', he was 'the railroad conductor in the family', and it was cool having our own niche. But now that he's working the same job as me, it's lost its enigma-status. Sometimes that makes me feel less special in our marriage.
See the source image

That's about the most I can brainstorm this round. But that was pretty enlightening! I'm happy to see the pros outweigh the cons.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Future

It's one of those rare moments where no one's home except for me, so of course I'm sitting here lavishing in some gourmet cheese and red wine. I love alone time to a degree that's probably unnatural, though I'm sure I'll feel differently someday when I'm an empty nester and these kinds of moments happen more often.

So I'm sitting here, enjoying my wine, and I decide I want a little music. I tell our Google Assistant thingy "Hey Google, play some music." "Okay, playing music from your Spotify," she responds, and awesome music starts piping from my living room speakers. I say, "lower the volume by twenty percent." "Okay," she says, and lowers the volume. I realize it's a bit too low, so I say "Increase the volume by ten percent." "Okay," she says, and increases the volume. Now it's perfect.

And while all this is accomplished casually without any fanfare, it hits me. I'm living in the future. I can barely comprehend it. The fact that I can turn my music on and adjust the volume without so much as lifting a remote has me feeling awed (isn't this the stuff we used to see on sci-fi shows as kids?), yet simultaneously underwhelmed. It's all happened so fast, yet I feel like the proverbial frog boiling, where technology has crept upon me with such rapid stealth that I've barely noticed. My sister wrote a great post on this concept years ago: The Last Time I Loved Technology.

Not only do I feel a combination of awe and ambivalence, I also feel a mixture of giddiness and trepidation. Giddiness because--how lucky am I to get to live in this amazing century where the world's information is more than doubling every twelve months? Trepidation because (and maybe this is the writer in me)--I see the dystopian nature of it all. Language devolving to the digital version of cavemen drawings, personal connections forsaken in lieu of relationships over screens, and so on. I won't get on that soapbox because it'd take me at least 50K words to step back down, but this oldie from 1969, in all its ridiculous insanity, sums it up nicely: In the Year 2525. Some of these lyrics might take visions of the future to preposterous levels, but you have to admit--this song has some sharp and interesting insights given that it came out well before the internet and cell phones.

So yeah, the curious and inspired human in me feels blessed to live in this era. But sometimes, something else in me waits for the other shoe to drop.


*Update: Since I drafted this post, Clint and Elijah came home about two hours earlier than I expected, and poor Clint is sicker than a dog and puked down the side of our Pathfinder. See why I bask in Me Time when I have it? :P

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cringy Character Tropes

I have a few character tropes for heroines that kinda make me want to throw my Kindle at the wall. I don't have anything really insightful to say about them--if you're an avid reader, you've come across these tropes a few times yourself, and have likewise come across people like me who are also irked by them. But I have to get these out of my system, so here goes.

Trope #1: The Short Fuse Chick
This protagonist is moody and angsty. Other than her one best friend who she confides in, she has a tendency to treat people like crap, especially the boy she has a crush on. She also tends to fall into teenage-cliches, such as perpetually being annoyed at her siblings and despising her parents. That is--if her parents are alive. Often her angst is attributed to the fact that one or both of her parents were killed when she was a kid. Her childhood is often tragic, but (in my humble opinion) no excuse to be a jerk to everyone all the time.

Trope #2: The Wet Blanket
This protagonist has no personality. Onwardly she may have original thoughts and clever ideas, but outwardly she is dull and has nothing interesting to say. Yet, for reasons unknown, men vie for her attention (think Bella from Twilight, here). She may be pretty, or plain in doesn't matter. Despite her doldrum demeanor, she exudes some kind of pheromones that make every girl want to be her best friend and every guy want to be her boyfriend. Because of her mysterious desirability (which is in no way backed up by one iota of personality), these heroines are often involved in another annoying trope: love triangles.

Trope #3: The Immune Bad Ass
This protagonist wears leather pants, wields weaponry with the ease of an added appendage, has ninja fighting skills, drinks her coffee black, and would never be caught dead in a dress. Basically she's toxic masculinity with a vagina. She almost never loses a battle and has zero flaws, other than being emotionally unavailable and refusing to let anyone get close to her. Males in her world often serve as sidekicks to her badassery, or comic relief. Some feminist authors fall for this trope believing that giving their heroine any emotions, softness, or traits typically associated with femininity is making her weak. Whereas I'm scratching my head thinking "Um, why can't a female be 'girly' and a badass? (Cue Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Don't get me wrong, I love a strong heroine and can't stand Mary Sues. But there needs to be a balance here, because (other than in comic books) very few readers can connect to heroines that are essentially emotionless fighting machines. Relatability is the key to connection, and this character is totally unrelatable. 

I wonder if these tropes bother others? I am pretty picky. To be fair, none of these are deal-breakers, but they will make me roll my eyes and care less about the MC, which in turn makes me feel less invested in the outcome of the story. On the other end of that, I have awesome character tropes that I adore, but I'll save that for a future post.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Postpartum Book Blues

Black Lilies has officially been released. I should be ecstatic, but instead I'm feeling kind of blah about it. I'm sure part of the reason is due to some publishing glitches, which puts me in a weird sort of limbo as far as celebrating. But also, it's the fact that while doing the back-and-forth dance with Amazon and waiting for the book to be finalized, I've been stuck between writing projects. I have no multitasking skills and have never been able to move on with a new project when the current one still needs to be squared away. So as a person who loves writing, I should feel antsy that I'm not writing right now, shouldn't I? I should feel agitated and unhappy. But instead, not having a project to work on feels amazing. I love having free time. Work is stressful (there's no getting around that), but my time at home feels so much more relaxed right now without the 'burden' of trying to finish a book. I'm having a blast doing stuff with my family without any of the writer's guilt that usually comes along with it. So ironically, feeling happy has got me feeling...blah. Because why am I not aching to write? Isn't it kind of a big deal that I haven't clacked away at a keyboard for a good two months, yet I don't miss it?

Basically, writing is something I have to do (due to the obsession), but it doesn't always make me happy doing it. Take this summer. I spent most of the season working on Black Lilies, and I'm suffering with a case of missing-out-syndrome. Now I'm back to work, and I'm in a state of shock that summer is already over. My brain is fixated on all the things I could've/should've done over break, like hiking with the kids, riding quads, painting/drawing with Trin, shooting bows, etc. Instead, I worked on a book. I tuned out my family for the better part of most days so I could write, edit, revise, etc. Am I going to regret this someday? I mean, of course I will, because it's not even 'someday' yet and I already regret it. Trin's 19 now, so her days living with us are winding down, and Elijah is 15. I feel like in my quest for publishing a book or two, I'm letting life slip by.

If I wrote standalone books, I could take time off after finishing a novel and focus on my family. Six months, or even a whole year. I could go ice skating with them, and to the movies, and out for smoothies. But I don't write standalone books. Not yet. Chasing Echoes--the first book I ever wrote--is part of a series. I wish I could go back in time and tell past-me not to do a series. The flippin' thing is holding me hostage. As much as I love the Aevos sisters and their incredible world, I just want to be free of it. I want one completed project so I can take a break. I want to work on a brand new novel that I feel no pressure to write, one that finishes and ends in the same cover.

So instead of feeling accomplished right now for finishing book 2 of the Chasing Echoes series, I feel frustrated that I still have one more book to go before I can call this series done.

*Update: All of the above was from awhile ago. I talked to Clint and the kids that night about how I was feeling. I told them I was thinking about not working on the third/final book of Chasing Echoes until Elijah started college, that way I could make sure I don't lose these final precious years with the kids. They were appalled by this and insisted that I need to keep writing, and told me they would help me come up with a schedule next summer that allows me to divide my time between family stuff and writing. They also said that I didn't need to worry about neglecting them, that they were totally fine, and Trin pointed out all the fun things we did as a family this year (which was more than I remembered!). So now I'm feeling better about things, but...I still feel a little 'off'. I think I'll feel better once Spring of Crows is outlined and I have a schedule to ensure that it doesn't take over my life.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Cover Reveal: Black Lilies

Are you ready? Okay, take a deep breath. Or drumroll or...something. (Although I already posted this on Facebook last week. So yeah, it's probably totally anticlimactic. But pretend you haven't seen it yet.) Here it is...the full cover wrap for BLACK LILIES! 

I know, right? RIGHT? It's gorgeous. I'm allowed to brag on it since I didn't create it. Once again, this cover was courtesy of the amazing Naj Qamber.

I'll update all of my social networking once the book is released, but right now we're looking at sometime next week. For reasons unknown to me my proof copy has been delayed until September 5th, so I'm stuck twiddling my thumbs right now. It is really nice being between projects right now though, so can't say I'm hating it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Artisan Street Fair - Book Products!

As promised on my last post, here are some pics of the items we're selling during this year's Jamboree Days. I'm reusing a few old pics for repeat products 'cause I'm lazy efficient.

Sands of Time Necklaces

Always a hit!
Each with attached Legend of the Sands of Time mini-story.
Pictured here without the chains.

Chasing Echoes Soaps & Stationery

These were made by my amazing mother in-law for past events. As much as I love them (especially the soaps--the "Topaz Apple" one smells AMAZING), I won't be resupplying these.
Once out, they're out!

Scents: Topaz Apple, Phoenix Energy, Aviva Gardenia, & Krystal Ice

Jacob Jax and the Watermelon Tree

Pink Peppermint Potion & Grow Your Own Watermelon Tree
Made from Orbeez. The Watermelon Tree bottle includes 
a watermelon seed on the top of the cork. 

Watermelon Fans
Watermelon Beach Balls

Watermelon Lollies

Glow Sticks
(These having nothing to do with the books, but are great for the fireworks later)

Price Sheet for Jacob Jax Merch:

I'm not sure how slime got on here? 

I have some pretty Chasing Echoes bracelets too--different colors and seasons to represent each season--but I forgot to take a pic of them and they're already packed away. I also forgot to take a pic of my price sheet for Chasing Echoes merch. So...that pretty much covers it! Here's the collage I posted on Facebook:

I'll be sure to take pics of our booth this Saturday!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Almost There!

Black Lilies is now in the hands of my editor and beta readers, and I get to relax! I anticipate a few more revisions, but nothing compared to the mass overhaul I've been dealing with this week.

It's such a weird feeling to finish a book. I love this free time looming in front of me. Like, should I launch myself straight into the next book? Or maybe take a few days off and bask in the knowledge that I'm done with a project that took me over four years? Paint something? There's a steampunk cat I've been wanting to draw...maybe I'll work on that. Or just drink a beer and work on nothing.

Next weekend is Jamboree Days, and Teri, Elijah and I have been working hard to make some cute stuff to sell at our booth. I'll try to post pics of all our fun trinkets and book swag in my next post. It's a shame Black Lilies won't be ready in time for the event, but we'll still have Chasing Echoes, Jacob Jax and the Watermelon Tree, and Trin's new comic book: The Branch. We've got some super cute stuff to go with Jacob Jax and the Watermelon Tree. Kids' books are super easy to accessorize. 

That's all I've got for now. I just had to come on here and proclaim how good it feels to have the toughest part of the publication process behind me! *knocks on wood*

Monday, June 10, 2019

Summer in the Hills

I doubt I'll be discussing summer, or hills. I just wanted a pretty post title.

Writing update. Here it is: Editing sucks and I quit.

Except for I'm not really quitting. But...arghhh. Black Lilies was finished at 102K. I've been going through and making cuts, and now I'm at 109K. See the problem? Any more cuts and I'm going to end up with something the size of Roots.

Change of subject. Hey, it just occurred to me that I live in the mountains (hills) and it's summer, so maybe I can make that post title work after all.

Summer. Summmeeeeeer.

Okay, I've been on summer break for a little over a week. It's been amazing with two little specks of not-amazing. The not-amazing specks include: 1) Said-editing issues above, and 2) Being hammered with a cold since the first day of break. Nothing that a little Ibuprofen can't help with, but it's still a bummer launching into summer as a stuffy ball of flem.

Aside from that, summer is wonderful so far! The weather has been gorgeous so we pretty much live outside, and every day is full of quaint little activities that make me feel like I'm living in a different era. Like, Trinity and I were invited to this sweet old lady's house yesterday for tea. Tea! Her name is Evelyn, and we met her at church. Her house is adorable; it looks like a little mountain cottage surrounded by a half acre of woods and lush vegetation. Tea time at Evelyn's is a legit event, complete with porcelain teapot, fancy cups/saucers, sugar and creamer dishes, and little cookies/pastries. When we finally left (after two hours), there was a white tailed deer chilling out in Evelyn's front yard. I mean, come on. It was too perfect. Pretty sure she planted that deer there just to make me swoon.

On Saturday (the day before tea) Teri and I, along with Elijah and Caleb (Trinity's boyfriend), walked to Alpine Camp to relax with some blended iced coffee and to play games. Afterwards, we rejoined the rest of our gang to decorate paper lanterns.

Trinity, Caleb, and Elijah coloring their lanterns

Later that night we all went to the Water Lantern Festival. This is our second year attending, and the releasing of the lanterns is breathtaking in person. They play beautiful music during the release, and it echoes across the lake. It's truly one of those "Damn I'm happy to be here on planet Earth" kind of moments.

 Trinity and Me

 Release of the Lanterns (ours are the colorful ones)

We also attended our town's annual Strawberry Festival earlier this week, where we enjoyed strawberry shortcake and freshly squeezed strawberry lemonade while taking in all of the different games and booths. I know, right? I can't even tell you if this is more or less quaint/cheesy than teatime at Evelyn's.

Besides all that, I've spent my days sprucing up the yard, reading the Little House on the Prairie series (I'm on a pioneer book kick right now--probably because my town has things like Strawberry Festivals and Evelyns inviting you over for tea), taking walks to the creek, playing Beat Saber with Elijah, and yelling at my manuscript.

I hope your summer is off to a good start. And maybe more 21st century than mine.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

When the Power is Gone

When the Power Is Gone (A Powerless World #1)When the Power Is Gone by P.A. Glaspy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The writing is mediocre, but the story is intriguing and the survival tips are interesting.

I had two major issues with the book that would have been dealbreakers if this were any lesser of a story:

1. The characters lack unique voices. All of the men sound like the same person. I really can't tell the difference between Bob, Bryan, Bill (is there a Bill?), Ryan, and so on. One might say this is simply because there's a huge cast of characters, but this was a problem for me even in the beginning of the novel, when there was only five. The only male characters who stand out as individuals are Russ (due to him being the group's leader) and Mike, due to the author giving him more 'screen time'.
2. The lack of water in the town is never addressed. This is a huge problem. The water turns off fairly early in the novel, and while the human body can survive weeks without food, it's only got about 3 days without water. Glaspy portrays scavengers and marauders who are ransacking homes looking for food and weapons, even attacking others on the street to steal their wagons of supplies; why aren't they searching for water? Or those bad guys who were blocking the interstate and were willing to accept women as a toll payment. Um, no. There's no way they'd be stationed on the interstate or even thinking about sex. They'd be desperately hiking to a stream, river, or lake. The whole town would be dehydrated by this point of the novel. It's like the author totally forgot that running water no longer exists, an unfortunate oversight that almost ruins the experience of the novel for me.

Smaller Issues: The narration was all over the place. One second it's first-person narration and we're in Anne's head, the next second we jump into third-person omniscient narration where we're in "anyone's" head. It's disjointed and scattered. Glaspy would have been better off to choose third person omniscient narration for the entire book. Furthermore, I found the dialogue amongst the men frequently corny and forced. I also thought it was a little unrealistic to demand that the family brush their teeth three times a day in a survival situation. When water is scarce, once a day (tops) is more realistic, especially considering sugary foods are no longer on the menu. Also, in these kinds of stories, I find it a little too convenient when the main characters have access to an amazing farm that happens to have everything they need to not only make life livable again, but to also make you forget there even was an EMP in the first place. This is not very relatable to all of us average Joes out there who (even if we're small scale preppers) will never have such a fabulous advantage. This is why I enjoy books such as One Second After, in which readers get to see what survival looks like from the perspective of characters like you and me who don't have back-up farms up their sleeves with unlimited water, solar panels, etc.

Despite the novel's shortcomings, I found this to be an enjoyable novel and an easy read. I enjoyed Anne's tough-ass character, and overall appreciate the author's no nonsense attitude about people who leech from the system. And added bonus: Glaspy officially convinced me to up my disaster preparations a notch. (Though I'm still crying because I don't have a farm). I've already started the next book in the series and look forward to see what's in store for all of the survivors. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I Blew It

My New Year's resolution was to write one blog post a week. Not only did I miss that mark, but I didn't manage a single post for the entire month of February.

So now the question is: Do I get back on track with my resolution and try to write that one post a week? Or do I succumb to the fact that I'm just not going to do it?

Black Lilies is currently at 118%. It's turned into one bad dream where I'm running and running but not getting any closer to my destination. I stopped updating my word meter because, what's the point? I'm doing an author's booth for Jamboree Days in July, and months ago I assumed I'd have Black Lilies at the event too, instead of Chasing Echoes alone--my one hit wonder. But now I'm having to face the fact that Black Lilies might not be ready in time. Even if I finished the book tomorrow (which I won't), the process of editing, revisions, beta reading, publishing...that's all going to take months. 

I'm being house-blocked at every turn. The time I should be spending on writing has been devoted to home improvements. Right now I'm painting all the ugly brown wainscoting in my house white, and it's turned out to be the most grueling project ever. Why can't I be one of those writers who's perfectly content in a whatever-house? Why do I have to want everything pretty? Like, I'm sure Hemingway was surrounded by total disarray and filth, yet continued to happily tap away at his typewriter.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Not a Real Post

I was in Death Valley for a geology course this weekend and have been going nonstop for eight days now, so as soon as I have a chance to breathe I will write a real post. Consider this one a placeholder. ;)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Two Blog Syndrome

I'm down to one blog! Okay, this means nothing to you.

Quick background: When I have one blog, I do pretty well with keeping up with it. But for reasons unbeknownst to me, I always try to add in a second one. Examples include "It Makes a Sound" (my blog geared specifically for poems and short stories), Middle School Dribbles (my teaching blog), "Glazey" (my art blog) get the point. The problem is when I add in that second blog, I fail miserably at both.

In 2014 I made this mistake for the...fourth time? Fifth? If insanity truly is repeating the same mistake over and over and expecting different results, then yeah, I'm insane. So toward the end of 2014, I published Chasing Echoes, and I thought it would be professional for my website ( to feature a blog...a forum to post writing and/or marketing updates. I decided Ocean in a Cup would be my personal blog, and would focus on my writing. At the time I wanted to keep my personal life separate from my writing life.

Well that was stupid. It turns out my personal self and my writerly self are the same person. Separating those two is like trying to separate conjoined twins. Sometimes it works, but it ain't pretty. It resulted in me giving up on both blogs. 

So tonight, I finally buckled down and transferred my posts from to here (which technically isn't possible through my website host, so I did some ninja tricks to make this happen). After accounting for similar or duplicate posts, there were only nine entries left, which are now located at this label. They are also in chronological order with Ocean's original posts, as if they've always been here. Now when readers go to my author's website and click on "Blog", it diverts them here. It's a little weird since this blog features posts from nine years ago, way before I was even a, do I really want Chasing Echoes fans to know that my hubby and I had a shaving cream war in the bath tub or that one time I dreamed about a giant copper toilet? But I've decided it's worth the weirdness, because I feel a million times lighter already! 

The next time I try to take on another blog, someone please knock some sense into me.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Rough Draft Blob

I was cleaning up my Google Drive and came across my old Chasing Echoes folder. Within it I found 57 drafts of Chasing Echoes. 57! Included with these drafts were several rewrites of the very last chapter, each with titles such as Ch. 37-Drastic Rewrite, Ch. 37-Not so Drastic RewriteCh. 37-Take Bazillion....

I also discovered the novel has gone by six titles. Here are the titles in order from original to final:

Daughters of Time
Face of Brahman
There is No Dawn
Chasing Echoes

I remember I was never satisfied with any title (and frankly, I'm still not), which is strange because I've had no issue settling on a title for Black Lilies.

But back to the heaps of notes, drafts, etc. Thank goodness we're living in the digital age. An entire room could easily be gobbled up by the makings of one novel. My heart goes out to people married to writers twenty+ years ago. My husband already puts up with a lot being married to my insanity, but back then, writers' spouses would have had to deal with the Blob taking over their house. Except for in this case, the Blob is one big, fat, gelatinous mass of drafts and notes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Back to the Grind

I started back to work this week. Two weeks of sleeping in until 9:00 every morning has spoiled me rotten. Now I'm back to eleven hour work days that begin at 5:30 a.m. I'll get used to it soon, but right now it's brutal.

On the plus side, look how close I am to finishing Black Lilies!

It looks like one mere day of writing left, doesn't it? But, nope. Now that I'm back to work, it'll likely take me the whole month of January to finish this last sprint. I just have nothing left in me. Teaching middle-school wipes a girl out.

I'm only on here to meet my once a week quota, so that's it for now. My blogging friends who have new posts: I promise I'll read your latest updates soon! But right now I have to go crash.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

It's 2019! I want that year to sound like something special, but it really sounds so ordinary, no different than 2018, or of those years that just blends. I think 2020 will feel more monumental. 

But still, we had a great new year. Just like we did last year, we went to a party at our local bowling alley. I guess that doesn't sound too exciting, but it's such a blast. There's unlimited food, drinks, chocolate fountain, bowling, and a DJ playing awesome music. Between friends and neighbors, Shannon ended up booking four lanes for all of us--21 people total. Our first game or two of bowling was taken more seriously, but toward 1:00 a.m., our bowling devolved to singing and dancing and gutter balls and total ridiculousness. Pretty sure the human body wasn't designed to bowl for more than two hours.

My pictures came out dark and blurry, so here are a few of Shan's:

 Shan & Jeremy (he's such a goofball!)

Me and Cass (my awesome niece), with Elijah & Dylan sort of in there too.

Trinity face-painting her boyfriend, Caleb

 Me, like, "Will you put the damn camera away?"

 Trinity & Caleb (they are so darn cute)

I have more but I don't want to violate friends'/neighbors' privacy by posting them. 

Happy New Year to you and yours!