Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #1: Tea

I said I was going to try this, so here it goes. Hopefully it doesn't all end up too stream on consciousness.

MINI MIND SPLAT WARNING: Nothing I comment on is meant to offend. It's simply my opinion and how I feel about certain things (mostly inconsequential things). I'd love to see thoughts from others in the comments. Just remember, have fun with it. This isn't meant to be super serious.

Tea! I love tea. The only time I ever drank coffee was if it had a lot of chocolate and milk in it (and other flavored syrups), so you know, it didn't taste like coffee anymore. I'm a tea person.

Now, I know many people say the only real tea is the loose stuff, or the fresh tea leaves. I'm sure I'd love that, too, but I mostly stick to the teabags, though I've combined some of my own herbal mixes in the past. I guess I'm also pretty picky when it comes to tea as well.

The hot stuff? I prefer green tea. With jasmine or ginseng! I also have been enjoying the chai green tea (more on chai later). I've tried some of the Tazos, and I have this loose blend of chamomile and lavender that's pretty yummy. But let's face it, with kids, writing, and other responsibilities, I usually go for the caffeinated stuff, instead of the herbal stuff. Maybe when I have less of a need to keep my eyes open all damned day I'll go back to experimenting with which herbal teas I like. For all my hot teas, I prefer to add honey to sweeten.

Cold tea? This is mostly the black stuff. Actually, sweet tea is my ultimate favorite tea. I'm a southern girl at heart, even though I've lived in the Midwest my entire life (I love New Orleans, especially, and man have I had some great sweet tea down there).

Sometimes we make our own tea at home with one of those iced tea makers that one of our parents got us for the holidays one year. But as far as the bottled stuff goes, I enjoy Pure Leaf the most. Perfect balance of sugar for me, plus is tastes more natural. I used to love Nestea (Lipton) when I was younger, but now the fake sugar gives me a headache and it just doesn't taste right.

Cold tea mixed with lemonade also rocks!

I promised I'd come back to chai. Chai lattes are also a weakness of mine, though I try to resist because I know they have so many more calories even compared to sweet tea. The Oregon Chai brand is so yummy.

Funny thing, though, did you know chai means tea? So it's a tea tea latte. XD I didn't know chai meant tea until a few months ago, but it is rather hilarious. Us silly Americans with the crazy marketing and naming of things. =P

Do you like tea? If so, what kind is your favorite? If not, what do you prefer to drink?

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2019 - Determination

Happy, 2019! Yes, I'm saying happy. This year, I'm not going to let life roll me over and flatten me out. I will plow through the obstacles! Is that determination enough to go along with the post title? I hope so. Not sure how much more I have in me right now. My tea is the only thing keeping me awake right now (I really need to stop staying up so late).

Anyway, my goals for this year look oddly familiar. Hm... yup, almost exactly like last year's! Hahahahaha. Yes, I'm laughing about it. I have to, to hold onto any shred of sanity I have left.

First, my mantras. I narrowed these down and only have three this year. Wait, you only see two listed below? That's because I'm keeping one to myself. It's a bit of a harsh one, and I don't want to offend anyone. My mind works in mysterious ways, and although I know what the mantra means for me, people could easily take it another way.

2019 Mantras

❦ Just Write.

❦ Passion, Determination, Focus.

There's that word determination again! Super stubborn Leo here, and I'm not going to let life stop me from reaching my writing goals. With that said, I still have kids and other responsibilities, so my goals aren't too insane this year. Keep going, just need to keep going, and have fewer days where I'm not doing any writing tasks.

2019 Goals

❦ Follow the writing schedule I've planned. The basic focus of this is to write (or do writing related tasks) for 1.5-2 hours per day, every weekday (weekends off!), through August. Come September, I hope to up this to 3-3.5 hours per day, since my youngest will be in school full time. I've also given myself 50 off days (I know this sounds like a lot, but kids... especially in summer) -- this includes holidays, vacation, and sick time. Time Spent > Words Produced. Especially since the more time I spend consistently writing, the quicker I write.

❦ Revise, edit, send to copy editor, edit again, format, and release Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2). Finally. I hope. I better.

❦ Draft, revise, edit, format, and release Well of Shades (Fortunes of Fate, 7). I'm still not sold on Shades. Since I have so many S alternatives for that last word in the title, maybe I should just call it Well of S? Heh.

❦ Write introduction and format Untitled Fortunes of Fate Collection (Fortunes of Fate, 1-6).

❦ Finish draft of Obsidian's Obsession (Chains of Nect, 1). I'm going to need more chapters for my newsletter subscribers! If you'd like to see the chapters earlier, please sign up for the newsletter (link on the left side), but I'll also post them to my blog (and Wattpad) one month after each chapter is sent via the newsletter.

❦ Blog posts -- I'm still aiming for one post every other week. However, I'm considering trying to up it to one post per week again. Though this would include several shorter, commentary type posts. I'm still tumbling things around in my head on how exactly I want to approach the shorter posts. Maybe some with just pics? Some with a link or two I found useful? Any thoughts are welcome!

❦ One newsletter per month still. And a chapter of Obsidian's Obsession available to download in .MOBI and .EPUB format in each, too!

❦ Back to doing one Critter critique each week as well.

❦ Limit social media. Focus on writing. Makes sense, right? I am trying a new thing, though. One picture (minimum) per day on Instagram. It's the one social media platform I don't side eye on a regular basis, so I figured, why not. So, if you want to see a daily pic from me, follow me on Instagram!

As usual, those are my main goals. I have a whole slew of side goals if I happen to make awesome progress on the things above.

I'm not going to list the planned publications. You can see from my goals that I'm hoping to release three different titles, but I don't want to make any firm dates yet. Yes, I may be determined to take this year by storm, however I know how big problems can flatten that in seconds. I'm knocking on wood (well plywood - lol) a hell of a lot at my desk to keep away the big, bad stuff.

Oh, and the 5-Year Plan is on ice. It needs an overhaul, but I don't want to waste the time doing it right now when things are still a bit in flux. Maybe if life seems to even out nicely once both kids are in school full-time.

I'll leave everyone with a picture of my Writing Bullet Journal. Ready to kick off 2019! I still love bullet journaling -- so relaxing.

And feel free to share any of your goals for the year below. May we all vanquish our goals with ease!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018, Good Riddance

2018 has been a pretty rough year for me regarding writing. Even this post is a week later than I intended it to be (don't ask how crazy and stressful the holidays have been this year). I mean, I've also been dreading posting it, of course. I'd even wanted to take pictures of cookies to balance out the sour with something sweet, but I didn't get to bake as much as planned and then forgot to take pictures after the couple of batches I did bake!

Will you settle for cute Hatchimal ornaments? They'll have to do. I'll plop them at the end of the post. For now, let's get the misery over with.

I didn't publish any new titles in 2018, unfortunately, so no list of publications.

I'm looking back at my goals for 2018, plus the update post in June (nope, not linking to them -- if you really want to look, you can find them in the Blog Archive on the left -- too depressing), and I think instead of comparing the results to what I hoped to accomplish, I'm just going to highlight what I did get done. Progress -- I still made progress.

2018 Progress

❦ Continued revisions of Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) -- over halfway done now!

❦ Started the first draft of Well of Shades (Fortunes of Fate, 7) -- this title may change (Well of Shadows, Well of Solitude, Well of Spirits? If you have a preference, feel free to say so in the comments below!)

❦ Beta read several titles under Haunted Unicorn Publishing

❦ Revised 32,783 words

❦ Wrote 795 words of first draft material

❦ Posted 23 blog posts (including this one)

❦ Sent 10 Author Newsletters

❦ Spent 39.93 hours writing, revising, and editing

❦ Spent 33.23 hours either writing blog posts or updating my website

❦ Spent 16.7 hours re-formatting and uploading the updated titles to the various retailers (I love Vellum. <3)

❦ Including the hours above, as well as reading time and the beta reads and critiques I've done, I spent 231.37 hours total on writing related tasks (up to and including this post -- I may squeeze in a couple of other end-of-year tasks if I have time this week)

I will not compare those stats to last year. I will not compare those stats to last year. I will not compare those stats to last year.

OK, I already know I had an awesome 2017, and 2018 left much to be desired comparatively, but I did get a few things done, and that's a hell of a lot better than giving up. Never give up!

It's time to brush 2018 under the rug and beg 2019 to be a kinder, gentler, more productive writing year. Goals for that in the next post, though.

Oh, and Hatchimal ornaments!