Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Winter – as told by goats

All right, so we’re going to stray from the usual writing topic for this post. Partially because I’m not sure what to write about here, and partially because I want to.

As many people around North America are experiencing, spring time is here. (Except not in Oregon apparently, because we got freaking SNOW just earlier this month.) I thought I’d display my winter, as according to goat pictures… You’re going to be subjected to many pictures of goats. Goats in the winter. Goats in snow. Baby goats. Goat noses. I’m pretty sure you’ll survive the torture.

If you follow me on Instagram, many of these pictures many be familiar — but never in a fun story and all together like this!

Let’s start with a moment from Fall.

Three of my goats traveled to my parent’s house during the summer to clear some of their brush. As the weather turned, they came home. And it was a little comical. First, we had Phe and Duchess, who wanted to drive.

And then there was their expressions when they arrived…

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What… where have we been taken to!?

Phe and Blackberry immediately got into a fight, as they were herd bosses in their respective herds, and they had to work out who was herd boss of the overall herd now.

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They eventually figured out there differences and everyone loved each other again.

Now let’s talk about the holidays. Thanksgiving I ended up spoiling them. Look at this masterpiece of edibles I created for them. Apples, two kinds of grain, vitamins sprinkled on top…

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The boys were a little lost on how to eat the apples, but everyone else pretty much thought they’d died and gone to goat heaven.

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When Christmas came around, we (the humans) were a bit more selfish. We decided to drag all the goats out to my parent’s house Christmas Eve, so we could spend the night and not worry about having to run back home to feed them. I have many sides of the family, so the holidays become pretty hectic bouncing from house to house. Moving the goats made it so we didn’t have to run back to our house as well.

(Goat Brains: torn between eating the food
— and staring at the world as it sped by them)

They weren’t too happy about their small temporary enclosure, but they sure did like the walks that the whole family took them on for the days we were there. Things to eat EVERYWHERE. My parents definitely enjoyed their company, and my extended family was eager to meet the ladies I talk about so much…

(Sari is very concerned I’m leaving in the loud metal machine)

Not long after that, the first snow hit. I’m pretty sure that the goats have never seen snow before… or at the very least, never seen that much snow, where it actually stuck around. It’s too bad WordPress doesn’t support video files; I have a fantastic video of them racing back and forth with me once they figured out it didn’t hurt them.

No one wanted to leave the barn, but I kicked a few goat butts outside one day to make them get exercise. Needless to say, they weren’t really happy with me (Sari stood there pathetically while trying to only stand on two feet at the time).

And they had NO idea what to do with all the white cold stuff at their feet…

(Goat brain: Do we eat it??)

A month or so later, Beltane and Inanna became old enough to need to establish their hierarchy in the herd with each other, so that was a big day. (Note mom in the background making sure it doesn’t go too far.) I’m still not entirely sure who won. I think Beltane (the black one) did. Again — I also have a very funny video of Beltane playing king of the hill and refusing to let her sister get up on the brick mountain with her…

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And now that we’re halfway through MARCH, the sun occasionally does come out to grant us with it’s presence. The goats won’t step outside if there’s a hint of rain, so it’s a pretty big deal when the sky is clear.

It’s pretty great to go outside with them and read, too.

My summers are peppered with memories of napping out in the sun with the goats (who will lay with/on me and nap too), so besides the obvious I’M SICK OF THE RAIN, I’m pretty excited for summer to get here. I also can get a decent amount of writing done when I go outside with a laptop and watch them graze. They are fairly distracting when they try to jump on me and the computer of course… but that’s another story.

And don’t worry, I won’t blog TOO much about goats. Though, I’m pretty sure I’m going to post something when Sari and Blackberry kid (early May!), so look forward to pictures of brand new babies in not too long here…

Until then, toodles! I hope this was fun and entertaining for you all. Feel free to comment and share!

 

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A Bit of Magic Found

The other day at work, a guy came in to work with legit multi-colored eyes. One was a pale, pale blue, and the other not-quite halved between whisky-gold and dark brown. It was kind of hard to keep up polite conversation because his eyes were so striking.

On the other hand, I could only imagine how many times a day people stared at him, so I figured, hey, having a normal conversation might be a relief, so I ignored it and kept to being bright and perky (life in customer service, you know).

What surprised me most about the encounter was how very similar it was to the cheesy descriptions of encountering amazing eyes found in books. You really notice, the world kinda halting for a second.

Of course, that might have just been my writer brain trying to figure out the exact words to describe it later.

And no, my romance novelist friends, it wasn’t like that. It was more along the lines of … here was a bit of magic. Maybe reality was more interesting than thought. What was his story?

Also, before y’all start turning this into a YA meet-cute, let me remind you the guy was probably 45 and I’m 23 (which is a reminder, maybe, that the guys with cool eyes do grow up).

Anyway, I felt like sharing because it felt like I’d found a tiny bit of the magic we’re usually writing into our books.

So thanks, random guy, for coming into my work while I was there and making my afternoon pretty cool.


Organizing Documents as a Writer

 

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My wonderful partner got me a new computer as a birthday/Christmas present. With my old computer giving me spouts of paranoia that I’d lose all my work (never mind I have three backups for all my writing), alongside moments of freezing, and the ten minutes it takes to start up — it’s a relief to write on something that works as fast as my brain does in the heat of a writing moment.

Yet being the insane sentimental person that I am, it’s been sad to move from writing on my old computer to the new one. My older laptop has been with me since 2011; it’s been my steady companion through college, after-college job hunting and internships, and hundreds of hours of writing. I haven’t moved all of my writing yet (though most of my pictures and programs were moved over immediately to give my old computer a break!), instead easing into my fancy new one.

The writing I have moved are my current projects: my NaNoWriMo project from 2016 and my current WIP, the third in my INITIUM series. And as I moved them over, I grew kind of excited, because it became an opportunity to completely rework the way I organize my files.

My old computer was organized by type of writing (novel, short story, essay, etc), and then series or theme, and then individual documents. I’ve got the terrible habit of creating a new document for every scene, thought, or spark of inspiration that hits me — which means that one book is actually dozens of documents, one series working out to be a hundred files. Most everything I write down is digital, anything not attached to a working series thrown into random documents that are then thrown into the ever-growing ‘Writing Ideas’ folder, which I proceed to forget about for the next year.

All of this, of course, is buried in the recesses of the ‘My Writing’ folder, which houses everything in tarnation.

With my new computer providing a fresh start, I reworked all of this, for ease and clarity. My new organization style is by current or back-burner projects, and then type, and then individual series or documents. This is working a hell of a lot better for my brain — I’m not clicking through dozens (okay, hundreds) of folders and documents to get to the project I’m actually working on.

I’m sure it’ll get messy as I move the rest of my writing over — but right now I’m basking in how pretty and organized everything is right now.

But it made me curious about you, my fellow writing friends.

How do you organize your files? Are you a digital or paper writer? Is everything in one folder, or do you attempt to create some organization out of the mess?

 

And for all of you waiting for the Published: Behind the Scenes blog series to begin, never fear! I’m writing the first one even as you read, and it will be up in a week or two. 

 


Artichokes and Salsa: A New Year

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2016 ended with me eating artichokes and salsa while watching Gargoyles, a silly animation show for kids that aired in the 90s. It wasn’t really planned — in fact, I’d been thinking I’d be asleep by 10 — but there I was, awake to usher in the new year.

As most of us writers here on social media agree, 2016 was overall a dumpster fire. Which is unfortunate, because with my weird thing about numbers, I really like the number 2016.

But anyway, here is the obligatory New-Years-Resolutions post.

As stated in my post from early 2016, my writing goals for last year were:

Finish Dragon Immortals Book 3 (working title Occultum)
Develop a kick-ass, intelligent marketing plan for Initium (the first book!)
Consistently query

So, all right, I didn’t complete the first one. Which sucks, because it ruined my pattern of finishing a book a year. Occultum is about a third finished right now — which can be directly connected to my lack of consistently working on it. I’ve actually been working on it more in the past month than I have all year, after the inspiration and good habits that arise from NaNoWriMo.

Though, even as Occultum isn’t finished, I do have another book that’s almost completed in another series (the first of the Fertility Daughters series I wrote for NaNoWriMo).

Also, I did write quite a few short stories.

(… Huh, it seems like I didn’t write a ton, doesn’t it? It’s weird, I feel like I wrote a lot more…)

Well, for my second goal, while I’m figuring out I may never feel like I’m ‘prepared’ for marketing, I know a ton more than I did before. I’ve got quite a few ideas in my head, an author platform I’m keeping up decently, and some semblance of a plan. So that, I believe, is a success.

Ha, and as for consistently querying — that was true until June, when I got my amazing mentorship and Glass House Press snagged up my current series.

I also had some personal goals I wanted to strive for:

Go to three new places
Get an “adult” job
Read 6 books from list

Definitely check on the first one, all thanks to my family. We decided that instead of Christmas presents this year, we’d travel. We ended up going to Mont-Tremblant, Canada, Poughkeepsie, NY, and NYC. It was an amazing two week trip — and so much fun!

Ehhhh not so much on the adult job. I mean, I suppose if you count retail. But I really mean something fulfilling with a salary that does something to make the world a better place… which, perhaps was a little ambitious of me. But until I’m a world famous author, I’ve got to make money somehow, right?

Read 6 books from list. Ha. Well, I definitely read 6 books (a lot more than six), but I have a specific list of classics and good literature that would help improve me as a person and a writer. Really, the list is about expanding my reading horizon and choices.

For example, War and Peace is on there, as is 1943A brief History of Time, and Guns, Germs, and Steel. 

I managed three from that list. Two from Orson Scott Card (I know, similar-ish genre to what I write, but he writes so differently than me and is such an iconic author), and one book about Ooparts (out of place artifacts) and how ancient society may have been much more technologically advanced than we believe. (That, actually, resulted in a new series idea that I briefly describe here.)

Basically this means I need to be a lot better about picking up books outside of my comfort zone. The goal continues for 2017!

On that note… let’s talk about 2017, folks.

  • MORE BOOKS FROM THE LIST. Let’s aim for 6. Double what I did this year. Yes? Yes.
  • Finish Occultum.
  • In fact, since my NaNo project is only a few chapters off from completion, let’s make that a priority too. Finish two books in one year!
  • I’d really like to write a short story that gets published in a magazine like Asimov’s.
  • Build a majority of the marketing content I’ll need surrounding the release of Initium. Short stories, excerpts, meet-the-characters, behind-the-scenes stuff, fun contests…

I also have some personal goals, but those aren’t as fun. They mostly involve things like getting more involved in volunteering, changing the world, etc… you know, easy stuff like that.

2016 may have been a dumpster fire, but the only way 2017 is going to change is if all of us strive to make it that way. Maybe it’s the millennial passive problem, but I’ve never felt the phrase ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ so keenly before. Or maybe it’s that I’m simply growing up, and now see I can’t wait around for someone else to make it better. I’m taking control of my writing destiny and making it happen through hard work; why can’t I do the same in the world I live in?

As much as writing is an escape, seeing the world as it could be, and we all joke that writers don’t tolerate reality… I still feel driven to do something. I may not tolerate reality well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a duty to try to make it better.

We live in a democracy. It gives us the right to not care… but we’ll only remain a democracy if we act like democratic citizens, and engage.

So. I have my writing goals for 2017, and personal goals for 2017.

Let’s do this.

Tell me about your goals. What are you looking to achieve in the coming year?


The Benefit of Two Projects At Once

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Somewhere in the haze of NaNoWriMo and my own butt-kicking, I’ve managed to add 6 chapters to a WIP I haven’t worked on all year. Maybe it’s me procrastinating finishing my 2016 NaNoWriMo project, maybe it’s because it’s finally clicking — but whatever it is, I am totally okay with it.

I did write a post a while ago about how having several projects to work on at once was really beneficial — particularly if they’re in different stages of completion. I think I may be experiencing that. Because while my NaNo project is a few chapters from completion, the third INITIUM book (loosely titled Occultum) is only about a third done.

A few days ago I got a little stuck on OCCULTUM, and simply switched back to my NaNo project. I didn’t write a whole lot on it — only about half a page, and some minor editing — but after that, I felt ready to return to OCCULTUM. And I did.

It’s rather awesome.

I think I need to keep doing this.

(So basically I’m telling myself that as OCCULTUM passes the halfway mark and heads towards ‘done’ I need to start up another project. Why am I not surprised my brain thinks this is a good idea? Actually, I know exactly what project it would be, too…)

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? 


What is half-published, you say?

Half-published is when you’ve signed a contract with a publisher but your book isn’t out in the world yet.

Because yeah. That’s what’s happening. With me.

Like, what? Me? I have a what now?

*deep breath*

I am officially signed with Glass House Press for my INITIUM series, starring Fairian, my cranky answers-driven heroine, and Daimyn, my intense immortal guardian of the innocent.

*soundless flailing as I can’t decide what emotion to stick with*

Actually, I’m rather surprised at how I feel about it. I was thinking I’d be giddy, or so excited I felt sick, or doing the omg what did I just get into thing. Instead, I feel so light. With a huge dose of LET’S FREAKING DO THIS. I am so ready to make this happen I can barely stand it. I know at some point I’ll be overwhelmed by editing, marketing, etc — but right now I’m incredibly eager to make it happen and learn and see what works.

I feel solid. Grounded. Determined and excited. Which makes me feel like I’ve made a really good decision and am totally ready for this.

It’s going to be an incredible adventure.


Why You Should Read YA

Look! I guest posted for this awesome lady.

“Forget Why You CAN read YA; Here’s Why You Should”

Written Infinities

Hello bloggers!

Today I present to you the second installment in my YA Series. The introductory post can be found here. However, this was not written by me, rather by a wonderful guest writer, R. K. Brainerd. She tackles the idea of why YA needs to be read and the parallels between being a teenager and literature. Without spoiling too much, I bring you the guest post!

Forget Why You CAN Read YA; Here’s Why You Should

pexels-photo-largeYoung Adult literature is probably the most popular genre-slash-age-group section out there today. You can find nearly any genre, theme, or issue presented in YA style, from quick, fun reads to solemn, heart wrenching stories.

Yet YA gets a lot of flack. I won’t talk about the overused example that starts with a T and ends with vampire, but many people use it as their prime example to reduce YA to a genre of…

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