Quote of the Moment

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

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) - Excerpt

The sequel to Mind Behind the Mind is finally out in the wild!

Yes, Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) is available to purchase in ebook format. The paperback will be available in either December or January.

Per usual, I have an excerpt below that will hopefully draw you in, as well as the blurb.

If you'd like to purchase a copy, either pop over to Books2Read which has a list of all available retailers, or you can use these direct links to the major online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and Smashwords.

And if you do read Thorns, please consider leaving a review on your retailer of choice. Thanks, and happy reading!

He grabbed a luminorb from the sitting room, but when he returned to the bedroom, he still couldn’t enter. Face your demons, Bastian. The thought was his own, but he heard Tessa’s voice speak it. If she had forgiven him his dalliance, he should have been able to forgive himself.

One step forward, and his scabbard tapped his leg. Yes, he had his sword this time. So, he threw the door open and barged in.

Bastian half expected to find Arian stretched out on the bed, naked and beckoning. But the sheets weren’t rumpled, as they had been when he’d stormed out after he’d realized she’d duped him. After she’d searched his clothes scattered on the floor for the book of prophecies...

No, everything was neat and orderly, the bed made, as if Arian had situated her home in preparation for her return. Such arrogance. A person who took the time to tidy her home before she fled it didn’t fear pursuit. Well, this time he’d turn her into the fool.

He inched closer to the bed and the scent of bellberries struck him. Memories rushed back so suddenly that he stumbled, grabbing the bed to catch himself. Arian’s touch, the soft feel of her skin, and the haze floating through his mind. The need. The want.

Then the anger.

He growled, and the monster inside him bared its teeth, ready to rip a throat out. Arian’s throat.

Just as the spell had shattered with his fury on the night Arian had tricked him into her bed, the current one disintegrated. Arian had left a trap, but only Bastian could have triggered it. She’d known that he’d come here.

The lust and shame clung to his spirit, but he wouldn’t allow it to conquer him. His hunter backed down and waited.

Arian should have known this little spell wouldn’t get its hooks into him, not even as powerful as her compulsion. Then why had she set it?

To distract him. She hadn’t wanted him to find something in here. Too bad.

He spun in his current spot, brushing his vision across every object in the tiny room – it only held her bed in one corner, a small nightstand next to it, and a large wardrobe.

The wardrobe would have made the most sense. There could have been any number of hidden compartments in one so large. But no, when he looked at it, he felt emptiness.

Knowledge, a surety that beat through him like a second heart. His innate talent guided him, striking down the possibilities, rendering his need to physically search for what he sought unnecessary. Under the floorboards? In the mattress? No, looking there would only waste his time.

Bastian grabbed hold of his power and pushed it, forcing it to stretch out as he examined the room again.

And then his eyes snagged on the luminorb on a shelf above Arian’s bed. Yes.

Bastian scrambled on the bed, destroying the neat folds of the blanket, dirt smearing onto the off-white. He’d rather have trampled on Arian herself. He grunted and snatched the luminorb, then jumped down.

It didn’t look any different than the one in his other hand, aside from being dark. He rotated it, but found nothing out of the ordinary. But he knew it wasn’t ordinary. His head throbbed with insistence.

He tried to turn it on, but it wouldn’t light up.

Well, he’d have to take it with him and figure out its secrets later. He tucked it into a pocket and proceeded back to the sitting room.

And his head pounded more fiercely. Perhaps he’d pushed himself too far. Or he needed sleep. He still hadn’t rested after they’d returned from their journey.

Bastian stepped into the sitting room, and the three lit luminorbs, including the one in his hand, flashed to a brilliant, blinding light. The hilt of a blade struck his mind, or at least that was what it felt like. He covered his eyes and staggered into the bookshelf.

Arian. Another trap.

No. The throbbing in his head plummeted to his gut, and he realized this wasn’t her doing, but his own. He’d wished all the lights brighter earlier, and he’d pushed his innate talent to find what Arian had hidden. It must have drawn out the magick inside of him.

Tessa had warned him.

Bastian growled and threw the luminorb he held to the floor. It shattered, and the other two lights grew brighter. He pressed the palm of his hand to his temple. “No!”

Inside, the hunter snarled and snapped and thirsted for blood – Arian’s, Jermaine’s, it didn’t matter whose.

The remaining lights burst, and then the pounding and pressure within vanished, the monster crouching down in submission.

His body wrung out; he was almost as exhausted as he’d felt after healing Tessa. Bed, he needed to head to bed. He staggered out of Arian’s house.

And he had to be more careful in the future. His innate talent might have been a boon in the past, but now it was looking more like a curse. He couldn’t allow himself to let the magick in again.

Never.

A witch hunter refuses to embrace his magick, threatening to consume him from the inside out...

Bastian shuns his witchblood – he’s a witch hunter, after all, and to prove it he hunts down the treacherous witch who betrayed her own kind. But denying his powers is a grave mistake, one which awakens a monster inside him. And when he finally loses control, he commits an act that he dreads Tessa will never forgive him for.

Tessa battles with the memories and emotions her ex-lover Thane funneled into her, to the point where she’s unsure if all of her thoughts are truly her own. Her sudden rise to High Priestess, a new witch on the Council, and two conspiratorial Council members only add to her burden. She fears her mind will snap. And when events force her hand, unhinging her sanity even more, she risks losing herself completely.

But a new menace on the horizon promises to strain both Bastian’s and Tessa’s fights with their internal and external demons – a prophecy from a tattooed apparition threatens to destroy all of Leera...

Friday, November 01, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019

Oh, no, it's already NaNoWriMo time! Man, that sneaked up on me. Shouldn't it still be the beginning of October? Actually, I keep thinking it's December now since Mother Nature dumped a bunch of snow on us on Halloween (way too early for it). My mind is seriously confused.

I guess that's as good a way as any to start out NaNo this year. Better off that than sick (OK, I'm knocking on all the wood, seriously hoping the NaNo Crud doesn't descend on me - stay away until December 1, please).

Anyway, part of me really wants to shoot for the 50,000 words this year. I originally had planned to, since Thorns Entwine the Blade was supposed to release in October. But now that the release date has been moved to November 13, I have a lot of things to do for that this month as well.

I'll just say, I'd be insanely happy to reach 25,000 words. If I get further, even happier. One of these years I'll have the whole month of November clear of other obligations, including the mini humans, really I will.

This year, I'm working on Downward Spiral (Urban Unicorn, 1). I started this novel a while back during another NaNo, and I've decided I'll be working on this series next. I'm going to draft them all, then revise them all, and then finally publish them (which means publications will be pretty sparse after Thorns for a while).

I'm being a bit of a NaNo Rebel, of course. Not only am I not starting a fresh project, I'm also rewriting what I'd already written on Downward Spiral. I've had several new ideas since I first started writing it, and I want to incorporate those before I move on. I only had 10k words written before, so I'm not rebelling too badly - lol. And it'll probably take me longer to rewrite than fresh drafting anyhow, as my brain is still stuck in editing mode. Heh.

Without further ado, here's my word meter for the year. You'll notice, I've already started writing (well, rewriting), even after doing some editing on Thorns today, too. I'll try to update the word count daily. Happy NaNoing, everyone!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Halloween 2019

Happy Halloween, 2019!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been diligently making progress on several things, though. The first draft of Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) is complete, and I've already received some critiques on it. Revision and release likely won't happen until 2020 for that. And I'm also doing a final round of edits on Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) for the November 13, 2019 release! And other little boring, writerly tasks...

Oh, and NaNoWriMo is coming up!

But this post isn't about writing all the words. It's that time of year again - the time of year I love. Unfortunately, this year I've been having a hard time enjoying Halloween, per usual. Worrying about other stuff tends to do that.

However, we've already had our Halloween party for the year (which reminds me, next year we won't be hosting one - maybe I'll be posting Halloween related pics from Disney World, though), which means I have a handful of pictures to post.

Not too many are below. None of me again. I stuck on my cat ears and tail and called it a year, so only got a family picture instead of an individual one. As I said, it's been a little rough getting into the Halloween spirit.

Pumpkins, pumpkins! Nope, jack o' lanterns! Mine is the starry-eyed emoji face one, and the 5-year-old attempted her first pumpkin carving on her own (which one do you think it is? - lol). My eldest was lazy with the cat head, whereas Hubbie was lazy per usual with a simple face.

New little bat fences this year. I figured it was time to add something new to the outside since I usually don't have too much set up there. I'm not a fan of the huge inflatable things, and every time I consider putting up some gravestones I decide against it, so I went lower key with the bat fence on each side of the walkway. Dollar Store purchases, but I don't need anything fancy!
This was my favorite addition to my decorations this year. There was a unicorn skull as well (I'm obsessed with unicorns, so it was hard to resist and choose between them), but I ultimately chose the dragon - look at the fire!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. Don't forget to find a black cat to cross your path for good luck (yes - good luck - poor things get a bad rap, and I can attest that our Nightshade is just derpy, not unlucky)!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Life, the Universe, and Writing, aka Writing Update - September 2019

I know, it hasn't even been three months since my last writing update, but this post seemed appropriate now. Would you rather I post again about Summoners War? I didn't think so.

This time, I'm just going to note a few things and try to keep it brief (this is difficult for me, of course, as I tend to ramble on if you haven't picked up on that already).

2019 Fall Updates/Notes

❦ Blogging is being dropped down to sporadic. This will allow more time for me to focus on writing! So, after this post, I'm not sure when the next post will be. Hopefully before the end of the year, unless life sweeps me away.

Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2) is now planned to be released in November 2019, due to my editor's schedule (and me overestimating just how much I could get done during summer with the kids home).

❦ Though the release date for Thorns has been pushed back, I have completed both the major revision and the consistency edit. The manuscript is currently waiting at my awesome editor. Once she gets it back to me, it will be on to final edits and formatting!

❦ I'm easing into my new writing schedule with both kids in school full-time. Last week was an odds and ends week, but this week I started in on the draft for Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7). And yes, I've settled on Solitude. I wrote nearly 3,500 words in just two days. This is amazing for me, and I think I'll enjoy this new schedule once I get used to the routine! Now to figure out where I'm going in this story, especially since it seems like it wants to be longer than I originally expected...

❦ I've added a new Mantra for myself, as I didn't want to wait to add it until next year: Embrace My Process. This is to help remind myself that I shouldn't feel like I'm "doing things the wrong way". I have to ignore the "you should do it this way" voices that are all over the internet, particularly in writing groups/forums. I need to do what works for me because I'm not everyone else, I'm me, and if I try to do what works for everyone else, I'll just struggle and waste time. I know, this seems like a simple realization, but it really only sunk in when I started watching Becca Syme's The Quitcast. So, I'm trying to allow myself to embrace my strengths as far as my process goes (no, I haven't taken the test to determine my strengths, but she's gone over a couple already that I know I align with).

I think that's it, finally! Pretty short, right? For me at least.

Oh, one more thing. I watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Why did it take so long for me to watch it? It was amazing! Not going to do a whole blog post on it because I'd probably just be gushing. But I hope they make a sequel!

Until the next blog post... Happy reading!

Friday, August 30, 2019

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #51 through #55

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 through #50

51. It's time for the kids to go back to school, and that means gathering and labeling all those school supplies you've purchased so you can drag them to the Open Houses. Who wants to clean after doing that for two hours?

52. And since the first day of school is rapidly approaching, you feel you need to spend more "quality time" with the kids because you have a bit of that parent guilt wondering just where the entire summer went and you haven't done nearly as much as you'd planned with your little hellions.

53. The kids are finally in school. Not just for part of the day either. This is the first day ever that all the kids have a full day of school. The house is so quiet - too quiet. How will you fill this uninterrupted time? Either you freeze up, not knowing what to do with yourself, or you decide cleaning sounds way too annoying and not enjoyable enough to do on this first glorious school day.

54. Of course, playing Persona 5 is calling to you, insisting cleaning is less important. Especially when you realize as a completionist, you have at least 170 hours of game play ahead of you (according to How Long To Beat). Sounds like an awesome thing to do on that first day of school for the kids. Am I right?

55. Your kids come home from their first day at school. The Middle Schooler (holy crap, how is she a Middle Schooler already?) is freaking out over her new school and schedule, while the Kindergartner is so overtired that she devolves into a fit when you simply ask her to take her folder out of her backpack. So much for that plan to clean this afternoon (I use the term "plan" loosely).

NOTE: My kids have yet to start school yet (soon, yes, soon!), so 55 is also a prediction for when they get home after the first day. We'll see how spot on I am - lol.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Decisions, Decisions... And Cats

So, I've been thinking a lot about how I spend my time, including how I spend my writing time. This includes writing up blog posts for Born to Write, of course.

When I started this blog back in 2003 (has it really been over 15 years? - holy cripes), my main goal was to just write what was on my mind. I didn't really have any structure. It was a bit of a way to vent and get things off my chest, and simply enjoy typing things that the world may or may not read. I was also pretty darn pessimistic back then, but that's a topic for another blog post (one which I likely won't write - lol).

After a while, I realized this venting wasn't enough, that I needed more structure to my posts. I mean, no one wants to listen to me whine constantly, right?

Unfortunately, as I've been shifting and changing and streamlining posts over the years, part of that blogging simply for fun and a kind of release was lost along the way. Not all of it, of course. But with the need to have more structure, I knew I had to be on a better schedule with blog posts. And there in lies the unfunness (which is not a word, I know, but I'm using it anyway, and it looks silly, too).

I've clearly gone back and forth with how often I've been blogging. I tried the once a week thing, but I definitely realized my time right now can't sustain that. Even every other week, though, can be a struggle. It takes me anywhere from 30-60 minutes per blog post, usually somewhere in the middle. In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't sound like a lot of time. However, is it time well spent?

Fall is approaching, and in less than a month both of my kids will be in school full-time. This means I'll have more time available to write because the little distractions will be distracting their teachers instead. And what should I be doing during that time? Working on things to move my writing career forward. The main things that do that are, of course, drafting, revising, and editing.

There will always be other writing tasks that should be tended to aside from those three things, but I think it's time for me to reassess what is and isn't a valuable use of my time.

Which means I'm taking a closer look at writing blog posts. Is the time I spend doing this worth it? I'm clearly not doing it right now simply because I'm having fun, since the schedule puts a major damper on that. So, if I'm not having fun (this is an important thing in evaluating my time - fun is necessary for me to unwind, and I need to make sure I fit it into my days lest my brain completely break down), what then is the benefit of writing blog posts?

That's what I'm asking myself right now. And you can help me figure it out a little, too. There's a big purple box off to the left. It's a simple poll - one question. And I'd like to know how often you like seeing my blog posts. Because part of this blog is to also offer content to people for their enjoyment. If enough people are reading and want to continue reading, then I'll put blogging in the Worth My Time category. On the other hand, if no one responds to the poll at all, I'll know it should go into the Only Worth My Time If Having Fun category.

If you can't see the purple box for some reason, here's the direct link: How Often Should I Post On My Blog? The poll will be available until the end of the month.

Also, if blogging ends up in the latter category, this doesn't mean I'm going to close up shop altogether. I'll likely post less often, though, on no set schedule. Which will get rid of that unfunness. I do enjoy writing up many of my posts, it's just feeling the pressure to make sure I'm posting on a set schedule that can get a bit cumbersome.

I definitely know I need to be writing more! More writing = more books for everyone to read.

Oh, wait, that's not the end of the post. I did mention cats in the title, didn't I? OK, I'll leave you with some pictures of the Trio of Terror over the last year. Enjoy the kitties!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home - MJ Rocks

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead! If you haven't seen Spider-Man: Far From Home you may not want to read ahead. Per usual, there are spoilers. I know, you may think nothing can top Avengers: End-Game, but if you're looking for some humor and a lighter story, just go watch Spider-Man already.***

With every new Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie, I seem to have a harder time gathering my thoughts and writing up my opinions. This may mainly be because I go into them now with the pure intent to have fun, relax, and enjoy myself. So, being critical can be hard!

What am I getting at? You're probably not going to see a lot of critical commentary here on Spider-Man: Far From Home. I stepped into the theater expecting a fun, humorous superhero flick, and that's exactly what I got. It's actually kind of awesome how even though the MCU movies are all connected, you can head into one knowing what kind of mood to expect depending on what the focus is -- not every MCU title has the same mood. Spider-Man lends to humor, teen angst, and action. It really does tickle my funny bone, and I love that.

Also, as a side note, I have not yet seen Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I've been meaning to, and I'm excited to watch it, but just haven't found the time. So, no comparisons between that and Far From Home in this post!

I guess I should start talking about the movie, right?

Hands down, my favorite character was MJ. I mean, are you all that surprised? If you've read any of my past posts about MCU movies, you shouldn't be. Anyway, I know some purists want the "typical" MJ, but I'm definitely a big fan of this version. She's not the damsel in distress that's been so overdone. She's smart (yes, she figured out Peter was Spider-Man), headstrong, and willing to defend herself if need be (she grabs a freaking morning star!). And then at the end, it's not Peter rushing to check if she's all right. Nope. MJ runs to check if Peter's all right. I really loved that switch.

Though MJ wasn't what you'd normally find in the comics, Mysterio's fish bowl helmet was plucked straight from the pages, which made a lot of people happy. I'd never read anything with Mysterio before this, but his extravagant costume does lend to his pompous personality in the movie, so it fits. And everybody knew Mysterio wasn't a good guy, no matter how much they wanted us to believe it with the previews. Right when Peter was handing over the glasses, I screamed, "No! You're in idiot! Don't do that!" inside. It was kind of fun how Mysterio created such an elaborate plan to trick Peter -- he not only created illusions with tech, but with his story as well.

I also found myself thinking "Poor, Peter," quite often. All he wanted to do was have a nice, normal school trip. And then we get the mid-credit scene. His life will never be normal again! That will be awesome to see unfold.

But what about the end-credit scene? I know some people missed it! I think it left far more questions, though. My biggest question is how did Talos and Soren play Fury and Hill so well? To a tee! And for how long have they been doing it? But I did catch the hint drop earlier in the movie when Fury said not to invoke Captain Marvel's name -- I found it odd phrasing and wanted an explanation. Well, I got it. Totally makes sense that Talos would say something like that. So, it's when he briefly slipped out of Fury's character.

Honestly, I don't have tons to pick on about the movie. Was it perfect? No. Did I have loads of fun watching it? Yes. And for me, that was my main goal. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get the multiverse payoff, though.

I will say, after all the new announcements about Phase 4 of the MCU, I'm really excited for The Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Especially the latter one. ;)

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?