Quote of the Moment

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Summoners War - Sister Time

It's that time again! Where I post neat pictures of Summoners War Mons that I intend to work on. ;)

Unfortunately, I'm a little peeved with Com2Us right now. I finally opened the Rift of Worlds on my Water/Light/Dark account to access some new content. While I opened that new content, some changes made it so I now can't open the Elemental Rift Beast Dungeons until I get past a higher level of Rift Raid. I'd be fine with that, but now the Bonus Daily Task wants me to go in those Rift Beast Dungeons to earn the bonus 15 crystals each day (in the past, I was able to do Cairos Dungeons that I can easily access). I contacted support, and they pretty much told me I'm screwed out of those extra crystals until I clear R3 of the Rift Raids. My Mons are no where near that point. I have choice words and thoughts about the whole situation, none of them good. =/

I think today is an emoticon kind of day! =P

Anyway, aside from that bit of drama, I've been hard at work on my Water/Light/Dark account. I 6-Starred both Hwadam, the Light Taoist, and Gina, the Dark Mystic Witch as planned. It took me a bit to figure out Hwadam's mechanism, but he's pretty awesome in the right situations, especially in Arena defense. And I love Gina's AE that summons thorns (speaking of thorns, I did finish the major revision of Thorns Entwine the Blade -- onto the consistency edit).

Along with 5-Starring a bunch of other Mons, I also happened to 6-Star yet another Mon. Lyn, the Light Amazon! She's pretty awesome, and I moved her to the top of my priority list once I summoned her. Great as part of my Giants team, and I think she's what helped me finally get past Giants B10 on this account.

I've also decided I've ignored most of my other Water Mons too much, so it's about time I give them some love and care! This means, my goals for the next couple months will be to work on a select few. Right now, the top two are my Water sisters. These Mons work together to take out the bad guys.<3

As you can see, I just recently 6-Starred Talia, the Water Chakrum Dancer. She still needs a bit of leveling, of course. Conveniently, I already have her fully skilled up! I'd intended to 6-Star her a long time ago, but got sidetracked with other Mons. Her sister, Sabrina, the Water Boomerang Warrior, still needs several skill-ups and 6-Starring. She's next up. =D

After I tend to those two, it's time for Sigmarus, the Water Phoenix. Like Veromos, I needed to fuse this pretty birdy, and I finally convinced myself to do it. Hubbie thinks he's useful in Giants B10. So, he'll get the 6-Star treatment after the sisters.

We'll see what else I have time for before my next post! Oh, and I'll leave you with one more pic. I may not have summoned a Nat 5 Light/Dark Mon yet, but during an event, everyone had the chance to earn a new Dark Nat 5, the Vampire Lord Eirgar. I mean, he's nifty looking, isn't he? I've already 6-Starred him on another account. When should I 6-Star him on my Water/Light/Dark account, though? Too many Mons! o.O

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Writing Update - June 2019

I figured it was about time I posted a writing progress update. I'm still not quite sure how it's almost the end of June, but here we are -- half the year gone! Eek.

At least I don't have that writer's guilt like I did this time last year.

Why not? I've made progress. Lots of awesome progress. So much progress that I have a tentative release date that I actually think is feasible for Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2).

Of course, that could all explode in my face. I'm knocking on more plywood...

If you want a reminder of my goals for the year, pop over to my 2019 - Determination post. And here's what's happened in 2019 so far (and if you want to scroll to the end, you'll see the tentative release date for Thorns):

2019 Project Progress

❦ Though I didn't have it listed in my 2019 goals, I published Born of Blood and Spells: 13 Dark Fantasy Stories & Poems in March. I'm glad I had the chance to get this extra side project done!

❦ As mentioned, I upped my blog posts to once a week again for a while. Then I decided it was too much extra work right now. Got to focus on writing and publishing books, right?

❦ That one picture a day on Instagram thing? Yeah, that fell by the wayside. I got sick and enmeshed in other tasks. I'm still hoping to post more often on there, but it might not happen this summer.

❦ Newsletter has been released monthly, and while I'm a little behind on Critters critiques, it's not so bad that I can't catch up before I need to submit Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7). And yes, that's the title I've landed on. Finally.

❦ I've drafted a couple of scenes for Well of Solitude, but it's mostly been put on the side until I finish revisions of Thorns.

❦ Finally, I'm only two chapters away from finishing the main revision of Thorns Entwine the Blade! And I'm pretty much on schedule for the year (after a few ups and downs, it all evened out). Now those last two chapters need the most work, and my final word count is going to be higher than estimated, but that's OK. Once this revision is done, I'm going to do a quick consistency edit, which shouldn't take more than a month, and then send it off to my editor!

I suppose that means you might want to hear the tentative release date for Thorns? Remember, this is still a maybe. It depends on my editor and how Fall kicks off for me. But if everything works out as planned...

Thorns Entwine the Blade will be released in October 2019!

So, three years after Mind Behind the Mind was released, the sequel will finally be out in the world (the exact same day if I want to release on a weekend -- heh). I know, a long time span between. Life, I tell ya. Better late than never?

I'm pretty darn happy with my progress so far this year. It's not at the level of many other indie authors, but I'm still moving forward, and that's what counts. Here's hoping the second half of the year is as productive as the first half!

How have you all been doing on your yearly goals? Whether it be for writing, school, or any other projects?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Writing Tip #4 - Self-Care

This was originally supposed to be part of my time theme of posts, but other things came up. Since I felt it was still an important topic, I wanted to write about it. Here we go!

Any past Tips & Prompts can be found on my website: Writing Tips & Prompts.

Writing Tip #4: Self-Care

Almost every writer has asked this question at one time or another: "How do I find the time to write?" Most writers hope there's some secret that the successful writers they know and love will share with them.

And no, I'm not about to tell you where to find the time to get words down -- that honestly varies depending on the individual. But for those who do answer this question, it tends to boil down to one thing. Sacrifice.

Now, sacrifice could cover a lot of tasks. Me, I tend to sacrifice doing more things with my kids and cleaning the house on a regular basis. I feel guilty about the first, and I internally struggle between frustration and "I don't give a crap" with the latter.

Some people though, they sacrifice sleep, exercise, and relaxation. If they want to get an hour of writing in each day, they get up before the rest of the house wakes, or stay up late after everyone else is asleep. Or instead of unwinding for an hour at the end of the day by watching TV, they hop from the day job to their writing job.

That doesn't sound too bad, does it? Many of us might be able to function just fine with one less hour of sleep or not having quite as much down time as we usually do.

The problem is when that sacrificing becomes excessive. And all concerns for self-care are tossed out the window.

Unfortunately, the current atmosphere in indie publishing only drives writers to sacrifice more, since releasing books on a consistent basis is the best way to gain readers and make a living (and I'm talking at least one book per month). This rapid release definitely works, but to keep it up, you have to hit a certain word count each month. And to do that, you have to sacrifice even more sleep, more down time, and possibly even a lot of your physical activity.

I've read posts where people are working a full-time day job and trying to rapid release. They're sleeping less hours than fingers on a single hand. They give themselves no time to take a break and recharge their mind and body. To keep up with their word counts they're wringing themselves dry.

OK, I know there are people that can keep up with such schedules and thrive on little sleep and minimal relaxation time. Good for them -- they are few and far between.

In most cases, though, the writers sacrificing any time they don't see as worthwhile (including sleep) for a long period of time will start to feel the effects. They'll hit a wall. And in all likelihood, that wall will be physical and mental strain, even injury.

Along with that, it could even lead to burn out, where you just can't write anymore because you've fried your brain. I'm always scared of this one, even at my slower writing pace.

I don't want to sound like I'm lecturing. Believe me, I'm not one to climb on my high horse over healthy living. I need to exercise more (like way more) and eat better. Sometimes I stay up way too late, not because of writing, but because of games or TV. I suck at this whole balance thing, as I've discussed many times before.

But I try to be aware of the self-care I know I need to work on. This also includes realizing what kind of balance is right for me. Some people don't need a lot of down time to unwind. Heck, for some people writing is unwinding.

For me, though, I need a bit of extra time to relax. I have to schedule it in everyday, or I'm going to get myself in trouble. The days I go full tilt, getting tons of tasks done, house, writing, or otherwise, without taking time to breathe and relax with games or TV (or reading, of course) feel awesomely productive. If I keep that up for a few days in a row, though, I ram into a nasty steel wall and I'm out for the count several days in a row with a productivity concussion.

Physical and mental health for a writer is insanely important because if we push our bodies too far, they'll break down. And then how will we be able to write anymore?

I know, I know, sometimes we need to sacrifice to find any time to write. Just make sure once in a while you're taking a step back to reassess how much you're actually sacrificing. Self-care is just as important as the writing itself, so we can keep writing.

You can't write if you're dead.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

So Long, Yellow!

It's been a pretty rough month as far as writing goes. I was pretty sick for almost two weeks, and then after that I had to catch up on a beta reading job (which I also wasn't able to work on while sick). And once that was done, we were already in the middle of painting the living room and dining room!

Needless to say, my brain is melted and completely scattered. We're two days out from finishing the painting, but we still haven't completely put the two rooms back together. This is taking a while because I'm trying to make sure everything is cleaned and organized before it goes back. Unfortunately, that includes a bunch of toys that are rather a mess (I keep imagining the day when the kids are older and we have so much more room in the house because we won't have all the toys to deal with).

So, I figured it would be a good time to have a nice, simple blog post. Yeah, that painting I mentioned. Before and after pictures! I know I should have posted these on Instagram, but silly me didn't think of it until I already had the blog post planned. One of these days I'll get a handle on all of my social media (maybe).

Anyway... so long, yellow! Hello, green.

Living room first. Hubbie had to do a lot of patching in both rooms -- I mean, they likely hadn't been painted since the 1960s, long before we ever owned the house.

Window/front wall. Ignore the messy porch, please.

Wall where we usually have the TV.

And leading to the hallway/front door.

Since I took the after pictures when it was a bit dark out, the lamps are making it look yellower than it is. I can't get away from the yellow -- it's trying to soak through! Lol.

OK. Dining room next. This one needed even more patching, but Hubbie did an awesome job (he did an awesome job with all the painting).

Looking in to the living room. You can see the green better in these after shots because of the lighting.

Another big picture window.

Wall shared with the kitchen.

And there we have it -- from yellow to green. =) I'm so happy we finally painted these rooms. Computer room and front hall will be next! Hopefully this year still, as long as Hubbie doesn't revolt -- lol.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Avengers: Endgame - How Does Time Travel Work Again?

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead! As this post has been delayed a bit, I seriously hope you've seen Avengers: Endgame already. If not, though, this is your friendly warning that there are spoilers up ahead. This movie is hard to talk about without spoiling anything!***

Hubbie partly didn't want to see Avengers: Endgame because he was afraid they wouldn't deliver the pay off after so much build up from the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies. I understood his trepidation, but my eagerness squashed any doubts of my own. And I'm happy I went into the movie without that fear because they did a marvelous job of bringing The Infinity Saga to a close (and Hubbie was worried for nothing).

The clear focus of Endgame was to wrap up the story arcs of many of the Avengers -- the ones we've seen grow over several movies. Now, I would have loved to see more Captain Marvel, of course, but I know her story is just beginning, and we'll get plenty more of her in future movies. So, it was nice to see the focus on Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye (Ronin), Hulk, and Thor. The ends of their stories needed to shine instead of being taken over by the newer Avengers.

Not only do we definitely see the endings, we're reminded of the beginnings as they travel back in time. This was an excellent way to show how far they'd all come. It felt like things were coming full circle. And certain experiences when they visited the past had direct impact on their decisions at the end, especially for Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.

Now, I know some people aren't sure what to make of the time travel logic in Endgame. They insist it's not like Back to the Future, but it is a lot to wrap your head around. Part of me thinks they tried to make it too complicated so most people would just give up trying to figure it out and accept it as is (that's pretty much where I've landed -- OK, whatever -- lol). I also realized, after a lot of thought, that this was their way of introducing the Multiverse.

I mean, every good ending also has a new beginning in it, right? They might have ended the stories of some of the characters, but they needed to get the next major arc going, and I think they opened the door just enough to the idea of the Multiverse without leaving people flailing.

Not only did they set up the Multiverse, but Loki's soon to be Disney+ series as well. Even before the directors mentioned that Loki's little escape act with the Tesseract splintered off a new timeline, I realized that that was going to be the whole start of his new series. Super excited about this! I honestly hope that many of the MCU series they have planned for Disney+ will have to do with the Multiverse and alternate timelines. Who knows, for all we know they planted several other seeds in Endgame that we won't realize until later.

Now, well I felt the movie was well done and a fitting end to The Infinity Saga (though supposedly Spider-Man: Far From Home is supposed to close out Phase 3), I did have some qualms.

While I'm all for the female Avengers banding together and fighting as a group (I really, really want more female led MCU/superhero movies), I felt the scene where they all faced Thanos together was a bit too contrived. I'm not saying it shouldn't have happened, but I wanted it to feel more natural, just like when several of the women were fighting together at the end of Infinity War -- that scene worked far better than the one we had in Endgame. I just hope that if the rumors about a female ensemble MCU movie prove to be true, that they gather in a way that makes sense and doesn't feel forced. If done right, it would be amazing.

My last two issues are more worries for future movies.

We all know a Black Widow movie is coming out, which will be a prequel. In Endgame, we see Black Widow sacrifice herself. This is a heart-wrenching moment, especially since she's clearly become the glue that holds everyone together over the five years after the snap. But my major worry is, now that Black Widow is dead, how will a prequel fit into the next MCU story arc? One of the best things about the MCU movies is that they're all interconnected, parts of a whole. And I really do hope that they find a way to integrate the Black Widow movie into the the next arc instead of it feeling like more of a stand alone (and afterthought).

Finally, I'm really hoping Thor isn't in the next Guardians movie. Don't get me wrong, I loved Thor: Ragnarok, and Thor's interactions with the Guardians at the beginning of Infinity War were amusing, but I don't want him to be a major part of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. I fear his character would overshadow the chemistry between the Guardians. So, here's hoping they drop him off somewhere between the end of Endgame and the beginning of Guardians 3.

On the other hand, I'm looking forward to them searching for Gamora! And since it's not the Gamora who was in love with Star Lord, they'll have to go through the whole relationship building again once she does join them. They needed to bring Gamora back, and I'm glad the Multiverse has allowed for that possibility.

That was a lot to unpack. And man, I'm sure I could touch on so many other things, but I think I'll leave it here.

What do you think? Did Avengers: Endgame do justice to the end of the MCU Infinity Saga?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #8: Mini Mind Splats

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.

Where's The Duck?
I'm getting all meta up in here today - lol. It's a Mini Mind Splat about Mini Mind Splats!

So, I've been having fun writing up some of these Mini Mind Splats. It's a little more freeing than my more planned posts, and they don't take too long to type up. I thought they'd be a nice little addition to the blog, mainly in an attempt to post content at least once a week. It's also a bit of insight into my psyche, as fractured as it is.

With that said, I think it's time to hit the pause button on these. It seems that most people aren't all that interested in my opinions on silly things (maybe even some people take those silly things really seriously and hate it that I'm making light of them -- sorry if that's the case).

Again, I enjoy posting them, which in normal circumstances would be enough to keep me going. A million things on my plate, though, do not make for normal circumstances. I'm feeling more overwhelmed than usual and want to make sure I'm spending my writing time on more important things than allowing myself to mind dump all over a blog post.

This means I'm going back down to one post every other week, until there's such a time where I can up that count again to once a week. When that time comes, I may bring back Mini Mind Splats.

Unless of course people convince me otherwise. Have you been enjoying my silly opinions? I'd happily be encouraged to wiggle them back into my schedule if there's actually some interest. Leave a comment below, or send me a private message if you don't want to be embarrassed by publicly acknowledging you actually like my ramblings. ;)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Summoners War - New Toys

Wow, it's nearly been three months since my last Summoners War post!

As mentioned in my last post, I took the time to 5-Star many of my 4-Star (and some 3-Star) Mons on my Water/Light/Dark account. There's still plenty I want to 5-Star soon, but I now at least have a couple more good teams to run Tartarus Labyrinth, which is a fun (in my opinion -- some people hate it) option for guilds. This week we opened up all three mini-bosses and Tartarus himself in less than three days. Now we just have to beat them all down!

OK, I have to admit, I wasn't just 5-Starring Mons. Because... I pulled some awesome Nat 5-Stars that I needed to 6-Star! I definitely got lucky, since both Mons were Water and I can use them.

First, I got Verad. He was one of two options I had to choose from since my 5-Star Blessing still hadn't been used. I think my other option was also a Water Mon, but I hands down chose Verad. He's the dragon I've wanted for a while on any of my accounts, though I'd gotten the Fire and Wind one on my main account previously. Look at that pretty dragon roar. I'm already feeding him devilmon to skill him up, and I love him so much. He's a beast.

Not even a week later (I had a rather great string of luck in the span of two weeks on three of my accounts, after a super long dry spell), low and behold I randomly pull another Nat 5. No Blessing this time, but luckily it was another Water: Lightning Emperor, Bolverk! This is a newer Mon, so I was also pleased to get him. I've already 6-Starred him as well, but as you can see, I'm still in the process of getting him to level 40. He'll be next up for the devilmon after Verad. He has a rather interesting mechanism with gaining Knowledge from buffs and then performing a kind of hitpoint tap with his big skill. I love the graphics of the skill, too.

Oh, and I also finished my fusion for the Dark Ifrit, Veromos, plus I 6-Starred him, too! Man, I've been busy on that account. I don't even know how many other Mons I 5-Starred. Lost track!

Aside from Nat 5 luck, I also managed to get my first Light/Dark lightning on this account. I pulled the Nat 4 Light Taoist (or Stick Boy, as the YouTuber Jewbagel calls them often), Hwadam. He's the next Light Mon I'm working on, currently building things up so I can 6-Star him. Also, he's nice and easy to skill up, since the Fire Stick Boys are only 3-Star Mons. I'd been saving a bunch for my Water Sticky Boy, but they all went to Hwadam once I summoned him.

I'm also hoping I'll have the time to 6-Star at least one Dark Mon before my next post. Here's Gina, the Dark Mystic Witch. I love how the Mystic Witches look, and I wanted to work on her right away when I summoned her, but clearly, as seen above, several other Mons got in the way of that.

This month is also pretty exciting in Summoners War. It's the 5th anniversary of the game, and they've started a pretty awesome event. So, by the end of the month, I might have three more Light/Dark scrolls to possibly get some more Mons to add to my list to work on. Here's hoping for my first Light/Dark Nat 5 ever! (The odds of pulling one of these is 1 in 300 -- never got one on a single account yet.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #7: Moods

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.

Have you ever just woken up in the morning in a foul mood? You know, the whole "got up on the wrong side of the bed" adage.

If you haven't, you're a lucky person. Nowadays, it seems like it happens more and more often. I think I need more sleep. Or a daily professional massage. Something.

And I hate it that the mood I wake up in often colors all of my interactions for the day, unless I force myself to stop and think through things rather slowly, which wastes time, which in turn makes me moodier because I have way too many things to get done to be wasting time on policing my words and actions.

If I'm in "a mood" I seem to snap more at my kids (and sometimes Hubbie), plus I'm even harder on myself. Nothing can go right. It's like the day is ruined before it even starts, and there's nothing I can do to rectify it. Hell, everything I do just feels like it makes it worse. Lose-lose situation.

The solution? Usually going to bed and waking up the next morning. At least that's the way it is for me most of the time. I have to start a new day to shake myself from the pervasive mood (even that sometimes doesn't work). On occasion if an amazing, awesome, unexpected event happens, I'll also shake off the grumblies, but this is rare.

When I'm in a bad mood, I also find it hard to do certain tasks. Like talking to people, or any type of communication for that matter (ahem, blogging). I just want to hide in my hole away from the world and simmer in my bitchiness. Honestly, it's probably better for everyone that way.

So, what happens when you're in a foul mood? What do you do to get rid of it?

And if you've never been in "a mood", turn around and walk away because now probably isn't the time to lecture me about having a perfect and endlessly happy life. It's one of those days, and neither side of the bed was the right one.

Well, then. I better wrap this up before I snap at the entirety of the Internet...

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Captain Marvel - Higher, Further, Faster

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Oh, yes, so many spoilers. What, you haven't seen Captain Marvel yet? Well, get your butt to a theater -- you won't regret it. If you'd rather not be spoiled, don't read on. If you've seen Captain Marvel already, I hope you enjoy my comments.***

It's taken me a while to finally post about Captain Marvel, partly due to life getting in the way last month, but also because I really feel like my response to this movie just won't do it justice. There are so many great things about it. If I miss something, feel free to add what you enjoyed in the comments!

First, I got to say I was super excited for this movie for an unimaginably long time. Every time Hubbie or I would mention it, I'd likely squee with excitement (and subsequently get strange looks from Hubbie, of course). It was about time the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) introduced a female led movie. Actually, long overdue. And thankfully it did well at the box office, which gives me hope there will be plenty more MCU movies with a woman at the helm.

One of the refreshing things about Captain Marvel is the lack of romantic relationships. For some reason, whenever movies are made with female leads, they try to shove in some type of romance. Even though I also loved Wonder Woman, it still made sure to add in a romance subplot -- this subplot was subsequently one of the driving forces to get Diana to act. In Captain Marvel, though, there was none of that. This also made Carol's other relationships stronger and stand out more, especially with her best friend and best friend's daughter. It showed that a woman doesn't need a love interest to spur her forward.

Along with that, it gave her a great arc that at the end she accepted she didn't have to prove anything to anybody, especially Yon-Rogg, her superior. They could have fouled all this up by having a romantic relationship between the two, but they did an awesome job keeping it platonic, so when she stands up to him at the end the impact of her actions are much stronger.

Carol Danvers is a great female character, but I also loved young Monica Rambeau. Even at her age, she has a lot of determination. I really hope they decide to turn her into Photon in the MCU down the line (maybe we'll even see her in Avengers: Endgame? I can only hope). Monica clearly gets her strong will from her mother, Maria, and Aunt Carol. They did so well building so many strong female characters in this movie, Mar-Vell (aka Dr. Wendy Lawson) included, even though we don't see much of her.

Now, the above is clearly what made me the most excited, but it's not the only thing. 90s nostalgia anyone?

I know, not everyone will get nostalgic depending on their age, but I sure did. I was a 90s child, after all. Maybe I should have used my Game Boy to create an interstellar communications device? Lol. And it was probably the best Stan Lee cameo ever with the reference to his role in Chasing Amy. Blockbuster, pagers, and the songs -- oh, the songs! Hubbie and I were both geeking out over all the 90s memories.

And how can I not mention Goose? I've now taken to calling our little buff tabby cat (though ours is a girl) a flerken. It's fitting that Goose takes out Nick Fury's eye, too. I understand this and a few other things might lend themselves to some inconsistencies in the MCU since Captain Marvel is a prequel, but it's all too fun to matter, in my opinion.

Speaking of Goose, I missed the post-credits scene when he hacked up the Tesseract. I blame Hubbie! He claimed there wasn't another scene after the first one. Clearly, he was mistaken.

OK, I think I've gushed long enough. You think I liked the movie? I mean, I did buy two Captain Marvel sweatshirts already and have my eye on a t-shirt or two. I wanted the flerken Funko Pop, but it was sold out already once I found out about it.

What do you think about Captain Marvel? Did you have as much fun watching it as I did?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #6: Colored Eggs

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.

Yesterday was Ostara, the spring equinox, the first day of spring. And I dyed eggs with my kids! (We do it on Ostara in our house instead of Easter, since we don't celebrate the latter.).

The kids definitely had fun, and Hubbie allowed them to get a glitter kit. One that claimed "Less Mess". Yeah, right. I'll be finding glitter around the house for the next year. =/

Anyway, one of the more fun things about coloring eggs is mixing the colors. Dipping an egg in one color to then follow it up by another color and then see what comes out of it. Of course, you need to be careful what order you do this in, plus some colors just don't mix.

Hubbie and I got some pretty nifty resulting colors from that practice this year.

See, one of the things we do every year when dying eggs is make Wish Eggs. We blow out the insides of an egg for each of us. Then as we decorate the egg, we think of a wish for the year ahead and share it with each other. We keep these eggs on a shelf in our dining room so we can remember our wishes, until next Ostara.

This year Youngest wished that a chick would hatch out of her egg (remember these are emptied out). We all laughed, but she plans to check on her egg every day to see if a chicken comes out of it - lol.

My wish this year is for more balance in my life, with a side of inner peace - that inner peace goes hand-in-hand with the balance, of course. I just want to feel like I'm paying the proper amount of attention to each thing in my life.

Yes, I'm talking about that long list from my Balance post. What, you thought I was off the whole time theme? Nope, still going. Time to chase down that Balance Unicorn, with a pitchfork if I have to.

Now that spring has sprung, what's your wish for the year?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Born of Blood and Spells - Release and Excerpt

Today, Born of Blood and Spells: 13 Dark Fantasy Stories & Poems releases!

I decided it would be best to combine some of my stand alone titles, while adding in some poems and flash fiction to the mix. This collection includes the previously individually published short stories Dancing in the Wind, Bound, and Sunset Street. It also includes the two titles from Blood & Booze, as well as the two titles from Tales of Chyraine. If you're still looking to get any of those individually, they'll be up for a couple more days, but all aside from Dancing in the Wind will soon no longer be available outside of Born of Blood and Spells.

Born of Blood and Spells is currently $2.99 for the eBook, and you can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, Apple Books, Google Play, and Smashwords. If you want to see a more comprehensive retailer list as well as the description, pop over to Books2Read. A paperback version will be available some time in April.

Since I've posted excerpts of the already mentioned titles before, I thought it would be nice to give a brief snippet of the beginning of one of the flash fiction pieces. Only a little, though, since it's a super short story!

Enjoy Born of Blood and Spells, and the excerpt from Daina's Dance below.

Pound. Throb.

They keep the beat with their movements.

Twist. Bend.

Every night the music makes their muscles twitch.

And I can’t join them.

Black walls, black floors, black ceiling, stiff and wooden, contrasting the fluid forms. A gold anklet here, a scarlet scarf there, splashing color constantly moves against the monotone box. Pale skins flow in the black, beckoning for me to join them. But I can’t blend in – my ears pointed and theirs rounded – so I stand against a wall and watch the swirling bodies.

Drops of crimson and muttered incantations... the stories in this collection are Born of Blood and Spells.

Short stories, flash fiction, and poems – thirteen tales of dark fantasy all written by Alexa Grave.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #5: Balance

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.

I know I've probably grumbled about balance in past posts. It's a thorn in my paw, for sure. Seeking that ideal balance in life is near impossible, though so many things out there insist you should easily be able to attain it (lies, all lies, I say -- those who claim it's possible, just want to make you feel like a failure).

Of course, the big obstacle in the way of perfect balance is time.

Did you think I was done with the time theme? Nope. Nowhere near. Heh.

Anyway, there are so many things in my life that need attention -- writing career, editing business, reading, kids, husband, extended family, house management, house cleaning/organizing/projects (and yes, management and cleaning are two separate things -- the mental load of the former can be a bit crushing at times), social media, friends (this one seems to be the first thing kicked off the list nowadays), errands, going out to movies or events, TV, video games, hobbies (and I have many which get ignored, including cross-stitching, drawing, and coloring), exercise, spiritual studies and work (I really have to put myself in the non-practicing Wiccan category at this point), cats, and probably several other things that I can't think of right now because I've ignored them for too long. (Also, I didn't mention cooking because I avoid it at all costs, though I really should cook more often.)

The above is in no particular order of importance, but just making that list causes my head to spin. I can't do it, I can't keep all the balls in the air, I just don't have the time.

And it sucks. Let's face it, most of us realize we have a limited amount of time on this planet, and to know that we'll never accomplish all we want to do, well, that more than sucks.

I've attempted to plan it all out, the whole time management thing, in hopes to divide that time up more wisely and squeeze in a little bit of everything, but it always fails.

Balance is a unicorn. An annoying unicorn (I'd say a rabid unicorn, but those things only think of supple human flesh). But I don't think I'll ever stop trying to tame the damned thing.

What is the toughest task in your life to balance?

EDIT: I realized after posting, I forgot the most important thing on my tremendously long list. I never seem to get enough of it (maybe if I would, I would have remembered it). Sleep!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Writing Prompt #4: Turn Back Time

I've decided to stick to the time theme for a bit. Life really does revolve around time, and it's fun to explore the different facets. So, here we go with a Writing Prompt -- the first in a long time! Heh.

Any past Tips & Prompts can be found on my website: Writing Tips & Prompts.

Writing Prompt #4: Turn Back Time

Turning back time. Are we in a science fiction story? Nope, not quite. Though you could always convert this prompt into one if you'd like.

Almost everyone has regrets, and those regrets usually stem from decisions we've made -- decisions that hindsight indicates were wrong (though hindsight isn't always right either). Confused yet? Wondering what this has to do with a writing prompt? No, sorry, I'm not delving into your psyche. This isn't a therapy session. Though, like the science fiction story, you could always make it into one. After all, writing can be quite therapeutic.

Therapy aside, delve into your memories and pick a time when you made a decision that you feel was the wrong one. Now, think about what would have happened if you chose differently. First, write down the immediate difference. Then go from there. What would your present look like if you would have done something differently in your past? Follow the dominoes as they fall, each change leading to a new one.

Or if you don't want to explore a regret in your life, pick a time you made the right decision and your life was better for it. Then consider what would have happened if you'd chosen a bad path instead. What other occurrences and decisions would that have led to?

This is a great way to explore cause and effect, which is so important in fiction. Every action has a reaction, and every choice will change the path of your character. Since you know yourself well, it's easier to map out the possible differences due to a changed decision, which you can then apply to your fiction.

In essence, writing out how much your life would have morphed due to different choices is fiction itself. With a few tweaks, you could even change it into a story in whatever genre you'd like.

You want me to give it a whirl? Let's see...

In my 20s, I had a bit of an obsession with Mage Knight (if you don't know what this is, Google it). I wanted to collect all the rare figures in every set. To do this, I bought Mage Knight booster packs by the case. And I told myself I'd actually play the game as well. Of course, I never actually played, and I still have a bunch of Mage Knight figures packed away in a closet.

What if I never sunk all that money into those Mage Knight figures?

I would have saved hundreds of dollars. True, I could have just spent it on another silly obsession. But what if I'd spent it more wisely? Put it toward my student loans, perhaps. I'd have much less debt right now. Invested it for the long term -- money saved for retirement (though, let's face it, I'm a writer, I'll only retire when my brain truly comes unhinged).

Or... and here comes the true fantasy. I could have spent it all on lottery tickets and hit it big! Today, I'd live in my dream re-modeled Victorian and be able to hire someone to clean my house and watch my kids while I write until my heart's content. Ah, if only.

Then a fairy would come along and steal it all.

Go on, give it a try. You don't need to be too serious. Turn back time and explore how different life might be. And write!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #4: Time

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.

Time. Such a fickle thing.

When we're kids, we feel like we have all the time in the world. It's awesome, freeing. And when we're eager for something to arrive or be done, time always slows to a crawl. At least that's how it was for me when I was young.

Now? Time speeds by as fast as light. You blink, and an hour's gone. Working on a project that you think will only take an hour? Look at the clock, it's been three.

Am I right? This can't just be me. It seems the older I get the quicker time ticks by. The long list of things I should do added in with the list of things I want to do just never seem to get done because time is gone with the snap of my fingers.

Maybe it's because more things demand our time as we get older, but when I think back to college even, I wonder how I had so much time then and so little time now. And I feel like I squandered that time I had. Why didn't I write more? Why didn't I read more? Why the hell didn't I fill it up with all of the things I want to do now?

Time is supposed to be measured precisely, every second, every minute the same length, immutable. But for me, it shifts and changes, and laughs at me when I think I have more of it than I truly do.

What I'd give to be a kid again, ignorant, seeing the hours stretch before me, endless.

Instead I need to parcel out every second and make sure I'm using my time wisely.

How long did it take to write this post?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Free Books! Reviews! (Click Bait Title? Lol.)

OK, I wanted to have a little fun with the title because... I can. =P Although, there is a possibility of free books, which are also connected to reviews, of course.

I'm currently looking to add people to my ARC Readers List. What the hell does that mean? (Some of you may wonder, but some of you probably know already.)

ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. Now, traditionally this means that an author offers copies of her book before it's published (it could still need a final proofreading pass, in some cases) to people for review.

In my case, all of my ARCs are usually sent once the title is published. This is mostly due to the fact that you can't post reviews on Amazon until a book is available for sale, and I prefer not to screw around with giving people a copy early only to have them forget to post a review once the book is on sale.

I guess I could call it an RC (Reader Copy or Review Copy), but ARC is so widely used in the publishing community that it's just easier to keep it that way. Lol.

Anyway, are you interested in receiving a copy of some of my titles in exchange for an honest review? If so, read on!

Here's the rundown of how it works. If you're interested, you fill out my ARC Readers List Form. At my discretion, I'll decide who to accept as an ARC Reader. Either way, you'll be contacted within a week or two of your form submission.

If I accept you as an ARC Reader, the email will include a link to sign up for my ARC Readers Newsletter. I know, another newsletter, but it's the easiest way for me to distribute review copies of my books. The newsletter will only be used to send review copies as well as reminders to review one month after I've sent the aforementioned review copies. Oh, and sometimes a status update if I don't send anything for a year because life exploded on me. Heh.

Once you're on the ARC Readers List, you should get a welcome message with a Books2Read link to my current permafree story, Dreams in Shadow (Fortunes of Fate, 1). This will be the first title you're asked to review! The Books2Read page will list which retailers you can snag it from (and if you notice one isn't set to free, please email me to let me know and I'll get it fixed).

After the welcome message, when I release a new title that I'd like reviewed, I'll send the newsletter with direct download links in MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. Please remember this is just a review copy for personal use. Do not share or distribute this copy.

Once you read the title, you'll leave an honest review on your retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.) or website (Goodreads, Blog, etc.) of choice. I then ask for a quick email to let me know you've posted a review (since, you know, I don't stalk my reviews, but I do like to know when my awesome ARC Readers leave a review). I'll send a review reminder one month after I send the review copies to those who haven't left a review yet.

Also, I will remove people at my discretion, but most reasons will include one of the following: if I find anyone distributing copies, if anyone is receiving copies and not leaving any reviews (I know each person may not review every title I send, but some are expected -- otherwise, why are you on an ARC List?), and if I need to trim the list.

And remember, a review is just your opinion. All you need to post is what you liked or didn't like about the book, and reviews don't need to be long -- they can be short and sweet.

So, are you still interested? Then pop on over to my ARC Readers List Form and fill it out!

If you have any questions or need any clarification you're welcome to ask in the comments or send a message via my contact form. Happy reading, all!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #3: Sleep

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.

Sleep. Lovely, beautiful, torturous sleep.

I have so many things I can comment on about sleep, that I'm not even sure where to start. That I'm a night owl and love sleeping in even when the sun's rays are filtering into the room? Or how many of us take this glorious activity for granted? Possibly how when I was younger I could get away with far less sleep than I do now? So many possibilities!

Focus. I need to focus. I can always have a Mini Mind Splat: Sleep, Part 2, right?

I'll talk a little about college days first. All-nighters! Who's pulled some of these to get projects done? Or even to play video games? Yes, yes, sleep is super important, and we shouldn't be depriving our bodies of it, but admit it, you've done it at least once in your life (and if you haven't, that means you are awesome at time management, plus have stellar self-control -- I envy that).

When I was young, this wasn't too hard. I mean, as long as I didn't do it several nights in a row. And I wouldn't want to because I love sleep. It's seriously one of my favorite things, ever since I was young and conjured stories in my head to get myself to drift off. But that's a tangent...

Back to the all-nighters. Wasn't it great when you had the reserves to manage this (or great now if you're still young)?

Nowadays, the thought of an all-nighter brings me to tears. Heck, I stayed up until Midnight last night working on cover art for my short story collection, and I'm seriously regretting staying awake that long. An all-nighter would have me passed out on my keyboard the next day if I had to do it nowadays. I could blame the kids wearing me out, or that I'm not getting enough "quality" sleep on a nightly basis (cats clawing at closed doors don't help with this one), or even the lack of motivation to even try it, but in all honesty, I think it's just because I'm getting too old. And I need more sleep.

I'd blather on, but I think I'm going to take a nap instead. ;)

How much do you or did you used to abuse all-nighters? Never, minimally, way too often? How'd you feel afterward, and what were your reasons for avoiding the necessity of sleep?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Summoners War - Look At The Pretties

Yes, I'm still playing Summoners War (and juggling too many accounts). Before I dive into my Water/Light/Dark account, I wanted to show everyone a pretty from one of my other accounts. I recently gathered enough bits to transmogrify someone, and I decided to apply it to Shaina. She's a pretty awesome Mon -- 4-Star Chakram Dancer, but many believe she should be a 5-Star. She especially kicks ass if you pair her with one of her Boomerang Warrior sisters.

Onto the Water/Light/Dark account, and my poll from the last Summoners War post. It was a tie vote between the Dark Grim Reaper, Thrain, and the Light Living Armor, Silver. So... instead of choosing, I worked on both! Yup, both Mons have been 6-Starred. A lot of work, but I managed to do it and max their levels out as well (skills, not so much -- Thrain is fully skilled, but Silver needs a few more skill-ups).

I worked on Thrain first. He's a bit squishy, unfortunately. But when he does survive, it's fun watching him rain down purple balls of death onto mobs. He's especially fun in Secret Dungeons -- he wipes out the early levels easy peasy.

I thought Silver was going to be more fun than he turned out to be. Right now, he doesn't do much damage, and he also seems squishier than he should be (not as squishy as Thrain, though). That might be due to my crappy runes, of course, but I'm still kind of meh over him. Maybe once he's fully skilled and has decent runes I'll have a better opinion of him.

Overall, Shaffron the Light Imp Champion is still my favorite (and Fran the Light Fairy Queen is a close second) of the Light/Dark Mons I've built so far. He is a wicked little Mon and can hold his own pretty well. They recently buffed him, which made him even better. I can't wait until I get enough bits to transmogrify him -- he's first on my list!

As for my goals for the next couple of months, I'm going to take a small break from 6-Starring Mons (even though I have gotten a few new Light/Dark Mons to work on -- including Light Penguin Knight and Dark Mystic Witch). I'm focusing on 5-Starring a few Waters to help more in Tartarus Labyrinth, plus I really need to finish my fusion of the Dark Ifrit, Veromos. Hopefully my next post will include a picture of him and a couple of the Mons that I desperately wanted to 5-Star and kept putting off for all of the 6-Starring.

I did promise one more thing, didn't I? That when I awakened my Water Druid I'd post pictures. You want to see them? He's so wicked cool! Even in his beast form. Happy farming, all!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mini Mind Splat #2: Snow

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.

Snow! Who likes it? Who hates it?

I'm kind of in between, but mostly leaning toward the hate it camp.

We're just finishing up a snowstorm here, and I'm quite thankful I don't have to go out in the mess until tomorrow. And I don't have to go out in it because the kids have a snow day, so I don't have to get Preschooler to and from school. This, of course, is a double-edged sword. Both kids are home to drive me crazy and make it impossible to get any work done.

Preschooler did an awesome job thwarting my plans by goofing around while she was putting her milk in the fridge. Spilled... milk everywhere! In the fridge, outside the fridge, under the fridge, and all over her. Ugh.

Wait, this post isn't about kid roadblocks. It's about snow!

It's kind of interesting, the development of liking or disliking snow. As a kid, I loved it. Making forts in the snow was awesome (forts were more fun than snowmen). It's like the cold and wet didn't phase me in the least.

Then as I grew older, I liked it less and less. I don't want it near me! It's cold and wet and inconvenient. Hell, I'd move down south if I could, but I'm pretty much stuck where the winters are long and cold unless we have a sudden, unexpected windfall (yeah, right).

Unfortunately, my Grade Schooler (almost Middle Schooler!) is already at the point where she's not a fan of the snow. She hates dragging her snow pants to school and dealing with boots. Do kids grow up faster these days or what? Or maybe my perception is just skewed and I don't remember when I actually transitioned from loving to disliking snow. With my memory, it's highly likely.

At least when I send Grade Schooler outside with her younger sister to play in the snow, she does seem to end up having a good time (even though I get grumbles before she gets outside -- heh).

Now, I don't completely hate the snow. I just hate going out in it. You know how many people don't shovel their sidewalks making it super difficult to walk? A lot.

But I'm happy to enjoy its beauty when I'm nice and toasty inside. Especially watching the snow fall at night, it's kind of hypnotizing. And the blanket of unmarred white (before people tromp through it) is definitely pretty. Again, as long as I can enjoy it all from a cozy house, I don't care. I'm also super happy (and super lucky) that Hubbie is the one who snow-blows and shovels.

So, how do you feel about snow? And if you haven't experienced much (or any) snow, what are your thoughts on it? It's hard for me to imagine a winter without snow, so I'm fascinated how those who don't get snow often or at all perceive it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #46 through #50

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5 ~ #6 through #10 ~ #11 through #15 ~ #16 through #20 ~ #21 through #25 ~ #26 through #30 ~ #31 through #35 ~ #36 through #40 ~ #41 through #45

46. Playing Harvest Moon: A New Beginning sounds like such a better use of your time. Who needs to take the time to plant real crops when you can grow fake ones? And pets -- just ignore your actual fuzzballs. Raise pretend cows and chickens instead. (Yes, another game!)

47. Your shoulder and neck are completely knotted, to the point that even if you move an inch, pain shoots down your arm and you yelp. This is a result of holiday stress, and you can't think of any better way to de-stress than to not clean, especially since you're in so much pain.

48. "Mama, mama, mama, mama." That's the call of the Preschooler you're hearing. If she doesn't let you get a thought in edgewise, what makes you think she'll let you get any cleaning done? Why even try?

49. Cramps. Enough said.

50. When you take the time to sort and fold the new clothes the kids got for the holidays, then you head to the basement for just a minute, and come back to find a cat in the middle of all your hard work. Also, she looks as though she's been comfortably laying there for hours when you know its probably only been seconds. Why fight the will of the fuzzballs? (I'm going to fill this list up not only with different games, but also with cats... cats are little life speed bumps -- funny ones, though.)

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!