Category Archives: Series of Sorts

Those “Repeat Features” that show up from time to time

Celebrate the Small Things (#11)

Friday Friday!

Let’s celebrate with a song!

Catchy, huh?  Check these guys out… they’re awesome (and doing quite a bit of touring these days).  Also, check out the awesome Ultra Tom, who’s been working with them behind the scenes, but does his own stuff too.

It isn’t that this week has been particularly bad.  Heck, it was even a short week — I had Tuesday off.  But strange weather has made everyone kind of off, and yesterday felt like it should have been Friday.

So, now that it’s actual Friday, I feel the need to do some celebrating!  Hey, there’s a blog-hop for that 🙂

My small celebrations:

First one is that previously mentioned Ultra Tom is currently back in town — which means I get to have the occasional lunch and coffee with my big brother.  I am so grateful that we’ve gotten the chance to reconnect as adults.  As he often jokes, “it’s a miracle we didn’t kill each other when we were younger.”

I’m a day ahead in NaNo, or at least, I will be again by the end of the day.  Met today’s word count during my morning commute.  This year NaNo is working a bit differently for me, less frantic rushing and going into overly-detailed description, and more actually moving along in the story, jumping from scene to scene, and figuring out different narrative threads.  I think it’s because of the approach I’ve taken in preparing for it — and my plans for after.  So really, the celebration isn’t that I’m on-top of things for NaNo, it’s that after years of thinking I wanted to be a writer and author, I’ve finally started to approach my life as one, and have gotten myself to a place where I know I can do this (and feel like I have finally settled on the right path for myself).  It’s an amazing feeling, and I know I can face the upcoming challenge (of revising, rewriting, editing, and figuring out the whole query-letter, submitting deal) head on.

I’m also celebrating winter.  I love winter!  At least, parts of it.  Living in the Northwest, after so many years in Northern New England, is still a shift for me.  Yesterday we were threatened with a winter storm, and there was a certain nostalgia watching as school-district, after school-district, canceled for the ice-threat.   Of course, where I work decided not to cancel or delay — but it honestly wasn’t bad traveling for me to get in to work (or home).  Snow boots (which were totally unnecessary, but are my best option for good-traction-footwear), scarf (I have quite the selection to chose from), gloves (also have a few to choose from, but — as is the nature of gloves — many of them have decided to go into hiding.  If I still lived in New England I would remedy that, as it is, three pairs is probably enough to pick from), hats (also a few options!) and my winter coat (which continues to need to have the zipper replaced, maybe this year will be the year I actually do that?  maybe?) — I bundle well – with so many options!  Last night, walking home from the bus-stop, it was amazing to be able to see the ice crystals on the leaves, little icicles forming — nothing like some of the epic ones I’ve seen in my day (do I sound old there?  huh, do I?) but they were fun to see.  Hopefully this will mean I’ll get some lovely-winter-weather to enjoy this year!

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Coffee Time! (#13)

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you the week has really been a blur.  Work’s been busy, and I’ve been doing a lot of my writing on the bus in the morning (as well as at lunch).   Yesterday I managed to catch up with my NaNo goal — as well as pushing myself to move forward in the story telling.  I have these scenes to write, so instead of dwelling on early scenes I should push through, get the scenes written, and then figure out what else needs to be put in.  It’s a very different approach to writing for me — but I think I’m adjusting.

I’m also having fun preparing to join in Raevenly’s Character-oke event — it’s the event of the Season for November.  My first venture of taking Bria Lana out of her story-world (and frantically trying to figure out more about her by tossing her into a completely unrelated world) will go up on Monday.

There are other things, little things, but I guess the most important is that I’d like to do a giveaway!  It’s kind of silly — but I feel like celebrating the milestone of passing 2000 followers — and that’s thanks to all of you!  So… at the end of this week I will randomly select someone to receive a little notebook.

Pen is for scale – yellow and white design cover, purple inner page, lined pages.

Here’s how to qualify for the notebook giveaway!  Over this next week, leave a comment on my blog — I’ll have a few new posts going up during the week.  Next Sunday (during our coffee-get-together) I’ll select the winner from my list.  If you are commenting and want to be eligible make sure to let me know in the comment.

I’m afraid that I can only offer this to people living in the continental United States (if you’re out of the country, uhm… someday I’ll figure out something awesome I could give-away for you… that could be sent in the virtual world, and therefore not cost me a fortune in shipping….).

That’s it for my coffee today.. I should get to work — but first, how are you doing this week?  What do you want to share over our coffee?


Juggling Act

My elementary school gym teacher was also a clown, so my gym classes included things like juggling, riding a unicycle, and balancing a feather on your hand (and getting occasional opportunities to watch his ventriloquism act).  I learned valuable lessons in those classes, ones that I can readily apply to my life now — especially my writing life.

When we started juggling we used scarves.  Up goes one scarf, catch it.  Up goes one scarf, up goes another, catch, catch.  Throw, throw, catch, catch.    You learn a pattern, start out slow, and then build.  After mastering three scarves, you switch to juggling balls or bean-bags.  Throw, catch.  Throw, throw, catch, catch.  And then, when you get really good at that:  throw, throw, catch, throw, catch,  throw… or something like that.  I never quite managed to build to three very well.

I can sometimes keep three small stuffed animals in the air (enough to entertain toddlers), last time I tried a unicycle was probably about two decades ago (I think I did okay), and I still can balance a peacock feather on my hand like a pro.

But some people I know, they can juggle three, or even more exciting things.  Some of them can even do it while balancing on a unicycle.   They didn’t get there overnight, it took a lot of practice, dedication, and some amount of skill.

 As writers we’re always juggling.  There are paying jobs (writing or otherwise), families, friends, self-care, and writing to keep up with.  Within the writing itself there are often multiple characters, plot-lines, plot-snags, grammatical rules to obey (or not), scenes clamoring to be written, and scenes presenting problems.  Add to that social media, the “writer/author platforms,” networking and (if you have work already produced) marketing.  It is a lot to keep moving.

I’m early in the process.  I have to remind myself of that.  Just like juggling started out with the lightweight scarves, slowly building to more challenging things to catch.  We have to build up slowly, taking on too much at too quickly can end badly, like a novice juggler deciding to try knives or flames.

We’re all move at our own paces.  While the kid next to me may have been able to move from the scarves to the juggling balls faster than me, I might have been able to master the unicycle with more ease.

Writing is about balance.  “Just keep writing,” is bandied about as an important phrase, when you don’t feel like writing, keep writing.  But sometimes this isn’t the case.  Sometimes you need to just STOP writing, to give yourself room to breath.  When you’re juggling, if you start to lose the rhythm, you can quickly lose control, and it wont be long before they all fall.  You have to pace yourself.  You have to keep an eye to the rhythm.  Yes, it may speed up or slow down, but it is still there.

Same with writing.  Sometimes you’ll push and move fast, sometimes you’ll slow down and there will be more space between writing sessions.  There is a rhythm unique to you, and you need to learn to listen to that.

There are times when you can do it all.  When you can sit on the unicycle, juggling flaming knives while playing the kazoo and causing the tree to sing the alphabet backwards.  Embrace those moments when the world comes together and you are in “the flow” and able to do it all.  For me they are relatively rare, and I need to remember that they are not the bar to which I should hold myself, but rather a dream to reach for.

Other times you have to do things one at a time.  Start slowly and allow yourself space to breath.  There’s nothing wrong with only riding the unicycle for a while, or going back to scarves for a while to get your grounding.  Take your time.  It’s okay to have stumbles, to not get something written — because you can only do so much.  We can’t all always be juggling masters.

So.. it may be a somewhat jumbled metaphor but… I think it works.  Especially right now, in the starting stages of NaNo where I need to be reminded that, while it is a bit of a marathon, I still need to pace myself, and keep balancing in mind.

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  This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

If We Were Having Coffee #12

Good Morning!

If we were having coffee today I’d tell you that it’s been a heck of a week — actually, the past two weeks have been kind of crazy.  Between midterms, occasional people being out, still training a few people, and some technological glitches in the system things were superbly busy at work.

I’d share how happy I am that the Masquerade Ball went well last week.  I was thrilled that so many participated — and that so many made multi-entry stories!  It was a nice challenge for me to try and mold my story around everything else, and I look forward to hosting it again next year (and have some ideas for a similar, but different event in January).  Thanks to Hannah, Raevenly, Eloise (and Ronovan),  JohnMarkMiller,  Patricia Lynne and Allison Maruska for your contributions!!  I never expected such a great turnout for my first Blog Event 🙂

I had a fun Halloween — dressed up as Dorothy for the day.  Didn’t do much more than work, and was so exhausted that I don’t think I could have done much that evening even if I’d had plans, but it was fun to get to wear a costume for the day.  I was rather proud of how it came together — especially since I spent most of the past few weeks thinking I’d go as Alice, but struggling to find the right costume elements.

I'm rather proud of my costume.  Especially the "Ruby Slippers."  Because, yes, those are shoes I just happened to have around the house.... :)
I’m rather proud of my costume. Especially the “Ruby Slippers.” Because, yes, those are shoes I just happened to have around the house…. 🙂

I’d probably end up keeping coffee kind of short, since I’m doing NaNo this year and.. well… am already behind.  Ended up having a great time visiting with a friend on her way through town, but it was unexpected and my “day of writing” turned into a “day of monopolizing restaurant tables and shutting down coffee shops while talking about all sorts of things.”  It was lovely but…I’ve got a lot of writing to do, and characters to re-connect with.

I also need to put together some information about the “Season” events in November.  NaNo dominates, but there’s a “Who’s your Hero” blog-hop tomorrow, and a Fairy Tale Blogathon the 9th through the 11th, and I’m hoping to do something around the theme of Thankfulness the 23rd through the 28th.  As always, keeping busy…

How are you doing?  What have you been up to this week?  Did you get a lot of Trick-Or-Treaters for Halloween?  Or participate in any fun parties?

The Ball Continues: An Unexpected Guest

Taliana eyed the door she had just left curiously. Something about that last room had been odd, as though the woman hosting the coffee-party knew something more than she was letting on. The threads were especially tangled, in strange knots she had never seen before, and it took a few minutes to figure out how to even start in the untangling. By the time she had completed things, gotten the weaving back into proper order, it took some time to rediscover the green thread.
It wound through the hallway to another door. She thought she recognized the threads of the Author she had encountered before, but then there were others that seemed to weave out of the room. Interesting. Opening this door she prepared herself to once again gain a sense of weightlessness, to be pulled full force into the room, or rooms, to which she might be about to enter.

Raevenly Writes

If you’re just now tuning in, you’ve got a little catching up to do! For a proper introduction to EclecticMasque, check out Ali’s home post. For the first entry in my adventures with the Masquerade, start here.  But before we get back to me, a little side trip to check in on my favorite writing partner, Cait…

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If We Were Having Coffee (#11): Masquerade Ball Edition!

It was always interesting, to be sure.  Taliana remembered when she was younger and would often stumble on conversations like this.  Sometimes it would be when she was running in and out of rooms at the party, or really at any of the events that her parents held.  Reflections, sermons, and lectures on a whole variety of topics, from all sorts of viewpoints, would fill the rooms.  Her favorites were the professors of history and theology  that her father brought in.

“Academics always exist in worlds of their own,” He would explain with a smile, “It simply makes it more fun, when they are literally from different worlds.”

Her mother always complained about how such intentional mixing of the worlds was problematic, but Taliana noticed that she always quietly managed to untangle any mess that was made.  So it was with relative ease, and the knowledge that it would make her work in the future easier, that she straightened the weaving.

She looked around, trying to figure out where the man in the green cloak had vanished to.  The thread leads to a new door,  blue, and a little hard to open.


If We Were Having Coffee….

We can  settle into the living room with our steaming cups of coffee.  I’m definitely getting a late start today, but it’s been a crazy week and I had a late night.

Small group conversations are more my speed than grand masque balls — at least, outside of the virtual world (love big parties in the virtual world though!).  It’s nice to have this chance to sit down for a chat, with friends old and new.  How are your weeks going?  What have been the highlights?  Are you a big-party person, a small-party person, or something in between?  Do you have any plans for the Masque?

It was a kind of crazy week this week, but it ended on a good note.  I won’t get into the craziness, it was just one of those weeks when everything at work conspired to be hectic and challenging.  Technology, especially, liked being difficult.  At the moment I have very little time outside of work because of my commute.

But Saturday!  I worked in the morning, but then got convinced/convinced myself to head out with friends.  We were experiencing some serious winds, and downpours on and off, but there had been plans to go to a Haunted Maize, and… it was worth a shot.  In a small comedy of errors one friend of mine and I managed to get to TWO wrong pumpkin patches, at which point we decided it was probably best to just go to the location of the “after-party.”   We did get some great pictures of the skies as night and the storm swirled in.

A panorama of the skies above the corn-maze
A panorama of the skies above the corn-maze

Fondue, drinks, lots of laughter, and conversations about all sorts of topics with friends I’ve known most of my life.  It was a great time, and we were some of the last people out of the restaurant (the staff was very friendly and nice, but since we’ve all worked in customer service-related we all felt bad about being the last ones in the restaurant side of the place) and then we continued to talk more outside as the occasional downpour passed through.

It’s great to have such great friends, who continuously drag me out of the house, and be happy with me in whatever state I’m in.  I don’t have to be on to be able to hang out with them and have a good time.

But now I really need to get moving on work — I’m so far behind on the writing I need to have done before November that it’s not funny — and it’s time for Taliana to continue on her journey.   There is that mysterious man with the green cloak for her to find… worlds to visit, and threads to untangle.





If We Were Having Coffee… (#10)

Work-day coffee once again, why not?

Thanks for joining me for a brief respite from a somewhat crazy day.  Computer problems, in an office where we depend heavily on access to email and data-bases in order to serve our students, makes for chaos.    Having the only functioning computer in the office due to a glitch that has me on a different system at the moment makes for busy chaos.

It’s been a good week, and a good weekend.  I spent the week trying to get settled into a new routine, thanks to relocating myself all to one location (no more splitting my life between two sides of town, but it does mean I am cramming my life into a small room until an apartment opens up… ah, wait-lists…. But at least the studio’s I’m looking at will seem luxuriously gigantic in comparison 🙂

I spent yesterday going to the coast with a friend.   It’s always fun to have friends in town that aren’t from the area, it means I get the chance to explore area’s that I have overlooked.  Yesterday took us to Astoria, too late to get to the museum that we planned to go to, but we were able to wander the water-front, and I got some water-side writing time, which I always love.

I’d tell you that I’m feeling a little chaotic at home too.  My internet hasn’t been working very well, and so I’ve really NOT had access from home.  Setting up blog updates has been a headache, and keeping up with other people’s blogs or social media has been limited largely to what I can do on my phone while commuting.  I’m working on the issue, and REALLY hope that it will be resolved by next week.  Otherwise I will have to figure something out because the Masquerade Ball happens next week!  I’m so excited about this!  I have an “opening” post that I’ll be putting up Friday night (the 24th).  If you participate please link back to that post from within your post  — that way I can find them, and will be re-blogging (as well as creating a pinterest board, and doing some link-posts).  It’s going to be some craziness (especially if I am internet-less), but it will be such fun!

How are things for you?  I’m afraid I’m having a hard time shaking the frantic-crazy of the morning (especially knowing that I will be plunging back into it shortly)…. but tell me a bit about how you’ve been doing first 🙂