Snapshot 1/31/20 // Delighted and Disillusioned by the Endless Variety of Life

Currently listening: “My Shot” – Hamilton: An American Musical
Currently watching: Letterkenny S3
Currently (re)reading: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

New year, new me, new blog! Hey guys it’s 2020 and though it was long, look we survived January! As you can see at this point I was a busy little bee and redesigned the look of my blog! New colors! New fonts! New graphics! (note: all. the. exclamation. points! I’m really proud of myself y’all.) (and also super tired but it’s WORTH IT.)

(Both halves of me as I type this)

Someone was working on her goals, lol. Let’s head into them now, shall we?

January Goals:

  1. Research, research, research! Check, but still not done researching for that pesky WIP yet. This goal will live on into February, and that way I can hopefully get to writing in March.
  2. Plan a steadier posting schedule! Check. You can check out the link here for the post announcing it or go to the ‘About’ page on my site.
  3. Enact redesigning the site! MAJOR CHECK. This was where a majority of my time went and I’m very proud of it. It’s simple I know, but I did it all myself, so please allow me to revel in my hard work.
(Thank you for indulging me)

February (aka the month in which Jai freezes her buns off) Goals:

  1. Research, research, research (Round 2)! I like researching and learning new things especially when I find something useful to use for my WIP’s story and world building. Not going to lie though, it can also get very tedious drudging through lots of facts and dates that are about as interesting as watching paint dry. On the bright side, I’ll share a tidbit. This revamped WIP of mine takes place in the very world we live in, (LE GASP!) just another side of it. (*cue eyebrow wiggle*) Vague, yes. Generic, I know. Confusing, for sure. Forgive me.
  2. Finish organizing my room/desk/work space! I need to clean my room, like for real. There is so much going on: paper all over the floor, clothes thrown over my chair, AND BOOKS LEAKING OUT OF EVERY ORIFICE LIKE WATER OUT of A BUSTED PIPE. I definitely need to clean that way I stay focused and stop thinking about my TBR pile for the next year. (Crooked Kingdom I’m coming for you next!)
  3. Stick to my planned blog posting schedule! I’m putting it here as a concrete goal. The only way to build a habit is to practice it. It’s 2020 and I’m holding myself accountable. Damn straight.
(Rosa Diaz’ entire being is an accurate depiction of my dead seriousness)

Side note: I’ve also started reading as soon as I wake up now, instead of waiting till bedtime and… I’m finding I really enjoy it? I think I’m actually reading more than I was before. Starting your day with cereal and an epic tale in your head is basically everything you need to survive the day.

What I Read:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I first read this book in high school, as I’m sure most Americans have. I wasn’t sure what to expect then since a lot of the books we were forced to read in high school, though classics, weren’t always the most engaging. The Great Gatsby was different. It stuck with me. Short and straight, outlandish and lovelorn, it was a book I felt that anyone could relate to. Even through the grand parties and the lifestyles of the rich and the careless, at the heart of the book is an indescribable insight into the human soul. All of us of been so locked into our past at one point that it takes up our future, just like Gatsby. All of us have acted innocent, sometimes spoiled, and even ignorant just like Daisy. All of us have been the outsiders to someone else’s life where the grass always seems greener on the other side, just like Nick, but in the end we see the situation for what it really is and realize no, the grass really isn’t that green after all. As my first read for the new decade it didn’t disappoint. Even after all these years I find I enjoyed the story more than I did when I was in high school and honestly, I understand a lot more about the characters now than I did before. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Every book lover should read The Great Gatsby at least once.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I started this one in December and finished it in January. It’s a reread but I thought it deserved another look. Funny, charming and thoroughly researched, all the statistics are fascinating to learn, and Aziz’s wit keeps the book entertaining even through all the data heavy information. It’s a good look at the current trends in romance.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Short, sweet and sometimes sour it’s a collection of vignettes told from the perspective of Esperanza Cordero about all the interesting characters of Mango Street where she grows up. It’s an inspiring coming of age novel that in the past I had only read bits and pieces of in school, but seen in its entirety now I’m really glad I read it. The vignettes range from as long as half a page to maybe four pages, and each one goes straight to your heart, either to hurt or to heal it with the endless variety of humanity life has to offer.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’m in my second re-read of this beautiful book before I finally get to CROOKED KINGDOM which I regrettably have had yet to read. (I KNOW, RIGHT? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE??) Alas, that shall be the very next book I pick up dear readers. Right now I’m just enjoying my ride here with Kaz in Chapter 18. He is very addicting. Expect the full mini review in next month’s Snapshot!

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted every other Friday
  • Alternate Reality collection- posted the last Tuesday of the month
  • Snapshot! monthly recap- last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

So I’ve been doing the poetry and vignette thing for a while but as you guys might have noticed… I added something new! The Alternate Reality collection will be a feature of flash fiction posted on the last Tuesday of every month. Expect horror, sci-fi, fantasy along with many other potential genres! Oh, and a ton of MAGIC. These will be more out there stories so if you’re in for a wild ride check out the first post February 25th! Like the Living Life vignettes all the pieces will be independent of each other so there will be no need to read the predecessors to follow along.

I’m a firm believer that magic is out there. Sometimes it’s simple or subtle or we don’t recognize it for what it is at the time. That type of magic you will find in the Living Life vignettes. As for the wraiths, dystopian societies and current intergalactic wars that have been spanning centuries … (who knows?) that type of magic will be prevalent in the Alternate Reality collection.

I hope you are looking as forward to the adventure as I am.

Here are January’s Amazing Posts from Other Bloggers I Adored Reading:

My Round Up of January Posts (look how much I wrote!):

Thanks for hanging in there with me till the end of this long post, and I hope you guys like the new look of my blog! Here’s to the next eleven months: may we work hard towards our goals and may we all write our hearts out!

What are some of your February goals? What current books are you reading that are just too good to put down? (I think Kaz is calling me lol.) I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,

Announcement – Jai Lynn Blog 2020 Posting Schedule

Hello world, as promised in my last Snapshot! monthly recap…. here is the official posting schedule for 2020!

  • Poetry – in the mood for a poem? Expect a poem every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes – need a spellbindingly enchanting written out documentation of brushing your teeth (among other real life struggles)? Expect a vignette every other Friday
  • Alternate Reality collection- feeling an independent (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, ect.) flash fiction piece with lots of MAGIC? Expect it the last Tuesday of every month
  • Snapshot! – want a brief monthly recap about the writer (me, Jai Lynn)’s life/blog/reading/writing experiences? Expect it on the last day of every month
  • Announcements – desiring to keep up with news about this blog and this struggling writer’s life? Expect a post as they are needed

This schedule goes live February 1st!

Until next time,

Snapshot 12/31/19 // Learning From the Risks and Rewards of 2019, and Anticipating the Roaring 20's Ahead

Currently listening: “Meet Me In the Woods“- Lord Huron /
New Year’s Day“- Taylor Swift
Currently watching: The Office S3/ Shameless S4
Currently playing: Sims 4
Will be (re)reading: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2019 is over.

It was a terrible, wonderful, weird and life changing year. I switched jobs, got super sick, then got super healthy, and grew a lot (A LOT) I believe as a person in 2019. I certainly feel different at least. December was a culmination of everything 2019 was: terrible, wonderful, weird and life changing. Let’s take a look at those goals shall we?

December Goals:

  1. Research, research, research! Check. I didn’t do an enormous amount on my WIP but I did a decent job (which will continue into the new year…. spoiler alert lol).
  2. Post 2 Living Life vignettes this month. Check.
  3. Redesign my website a bit. Check. I did a little of this and am going to be laying it out in January so be on the look out for some changes to my blog!
  4. Play my violin more. Check, check! I played more than I did in November!

So overall December was very successful! 2019, though challenging, was also kinda… fun. I risked and (thankfully) was rewarded. I met a lot of new people, learned a lot of new things, and discovered a lot about myself. Now let us head into 2020….

2020 Goals Heading into January (aka the ROARING 20’S ARE BACK BABY):

  1. Research, research, research! Again I’m putting this one on because this month I intend to finish all. the. research. for that pesky WIP. That way I can move onto outlining, and then finally WRITING. The BEST (and hardest) part. This baby step will help me to reach one of my ultimate 2020 resolutions to FINALLY finish that first draft.
  2. Plan a steadier posting schedule! That way I can get a routine down for myself and for all the lovely viewers out there kind enough to listen to my rambles and read my stories.
  3. Enact redesigning the site! I’ve planned, and I’ve got some more planning to do but I hope to show the changes by the end of this January.

Christmas has come and gone.
My food coma is growing strong.
Cleaning up my room is taking too long.
BUT, all is okay.

I got to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (which was wonderful and brought me so much joy) AND the new Little Women movie all in the same month. Just a small PSA. EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS MOVIE. IT IS BEYOND AMAZING AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

Okay I’m done. But really you need to go see it. Now.

What I Read:

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. What can I say about this book. That it ruined romance for me? Yes, because no boy alive can compare to Will Herondale or James Carstairs. Not to mention that Tessa is just so relatable. I love this book. I will love this series till the day I die. It mesmerized me for years, ever since the summer before I started college when I first read Clockwork Angel. It shaped a lot of who I became, and it always seemed to fit with whatever was going on with my life at the time. Will loved to read, Jem loved the violin, Charlotte reminded me of my Aunt, Henry my Uncle. It got me through so many hard times. This series is one of my tops and though I enjoy a lot of books not many make it to the top. I love it so much I think I won’t read it again for a very long time. That way it will sort of seem like new again.
One Day in December by Josie Silver. Fun, romantic read that I enjoyed. Definitely more of an adult book, and not very young adult. Modern, contemporary story about love at first sight and fate and chances taken and chances NOT taken. It did lag though at some points but it always picked up. Reminded me of the play If/Then with Idina Menzel that I was fortunate enough to see. It also reminded me of Sleepless in Seattle a bit at the end with the (SPOILERS) radio and Laurie calling in to speak to Jack. Everyone knows a person like Sarah who is stardust incarnate. Jack was agreeable. Laurie was very relatable, quiet and just trying to get through life like the rest of us. Enjoyed it very much though. Not gonna lie I also really liked Oscar, and his whole personality and spiel. Recommend if your looking for a December romance read.
The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann with illustrations by Sanna Annukka: A classic, I’ve wanted to read this story for years because every Christmas I always watch the ballet on Youtube so I wanted to know where the original story originated from. Not disappointed. I really enjoyed it, and it is very much a fairytale. Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson vibes. I am going to try to integrate it as a book to reread every year. PICTURES IN THIS EDITION ARE GORGEOUS. Overall, it is a quick, lovely Christmas read.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is one I’m sorta reading right now. Here and there. I’m enjoying it! It is inspiring me to clean my room…

Aaaaand drumroll please…… tomorrow I will be starting my reread of….

oh yessssss THE GREAT GATSBY! I’m so excited. It is finally the return of the Roaring 20’s!!!!!

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Living Life vignettes
  • (moody) Poetry
  • Monthly Snapshot! post
  • and who knows… maybe some surprises?

My Round Up of December Posts:

Alright 2020… I think I’m ready. Bring on the downs, the ups and all the screams of fear and excitement for the roller coaster ride you’ll be. I’m ready to ride.

What are some of your resolutions this year? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,

Snapshot 11/30/19 // Stuffed From Stuffing (& Starving for Gingerbread)

Currently listening: “The Christmas Song“- Nat King Cole
Currently watching: Friends S10
Currently (re) reading: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Currently playing: Sims 4

November, November
you passed so fast
I want to remember
each memory to the last

November always goes by too fast for me. Thanksgiving, the bitter cold days seeping in, and the random warm days that trick you into believing summer will be back soon. Also, NaNoWriMo. This month always reminds me of writing and pumpkin bread and stuffing. Gosh, I love stuffing.

My November goals were:

  1. Write 25,000 words for my WIP. That was a failure, but a failure I am very proud of. By setting my goal to work on the story I found out exactly what was wrong with it and why I was struggling so much with it. It needed to be expanded upon. I need more information and to do more research (which I’m doing now). The original WIP I intended to write for NaNo was just a small cog in the machine of a trilogy that this story is turning into and I am so excited.
  2. Post at least 1 Living Life vignette again this month. I did do this one.
(smirk)

December goals (and candy canes, not coals):

  1. Research, research, research! I’m going to keep digging down deep into the black void of the internet for this new expanded WIP. If I don’t come back you know what happened lol.
  2. Post 2 Living Life vignettes this month. I think I can do this. So I’ll put it on here.
  3. Redesign my website a bit. I’ve been meaning to update somethings and move a few bits around. So, why not now. The present is always the best time to do something. That way it will look better for 2020 too.
  4. Play my violin more. I’ve been neglecting my beloved instrument because of work and laziness which is no excuse. I’m actively going to try to practice more this month.

Also can I just say I love Christmas so much. I’m just gonna throw that out there so be prepared for many holiday themed vignettes and poems. I’m warning you they. are. coming.

Also I had a great dream where I got to co-write a book with Maggie Stiefvater. I wish that would really happen omg. Just throwing that out there universe, if you are listening. I also got the opportunity to see Frozen 2 on its opening night. Let me just tell you guys I loved this movie so much. If you loved the first one you definitely need to see the second. It doesn’t try to upstage the first movie at all but continue it on, if that makes sense, and the music and growth of all the characters is just fantastic. (SPOILERS AHEAD) I loved the scene of Elsa fighting the Nokk and the song, Show Yourself, is also BEAUTIFUL. Elsa shows that she only needs herself to be complete and that is the absolute truth. Romance and partnership is perpetuated in society as something that we all need to feel “complete” and “loved” but all you really need to feel those things is to be yourself and love yourself. Just like Elsa, who knew she was different and fought it until she decided to accept herself and her powers and ultimately find the greatest happiness within herself. Olaf was also hilarious AF and who doesn’t love Anna and Kristof 😀 It is said so much but it really is true, just BE YOU. Unapologetically, wholly, wonderfully, unforgivably YOU. That is the way to achieve the greatest sense of peace. THANK YOU DISNEY<3

What I Read:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I… I loved this book. It was real, it was raw. I got SO attached to Alex and TOO attached to Darlington. Man. And Dawes, Dawes, Dawes and college me live on the same plane of existence. The magic was so real to me. The history and references in all of the tombs of the Ancient Eight, the privilege problem. My goodness this book. 100% worth the read and I can’t wait till the next. It’s not for everyone definitely (lots of heavy and traumatic topics are explored) but to me this book was excellent in how in handled everything. The right amount of dark side without becoming depressing and all this magic so grounded in reality. I- dang. Five stars, hands down.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. I really enjoyed this book and all the magical realismness (is that a word?) with the personifications of the character’s darknesses, and how they overcame them. It’s an atmospheric, simple story with a very important lesson. When the characters’ darknesses manifest that is the first miracle, and the second miracle will occur when the character knows how to overcome their darknesses. The magical realism in this book is very well done. Maggie always does a great job in all her books of making magic seem touchable. Daniel was my favorite character but all of the cast was real and alive. I recommend reading it!
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This is my favorite series of books of all time. This is my sixth read through of Clockwork Princess and it won’t be the last. We all have those books that we will never, ever grow tired of. No matter how many times we read them. The Infernal Devices are my books. What does Tessa say? “‘Words have the power to change us.‘” Yes, yes they do.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  1. Living Life vignettes
  2. Holiday poetry (joy to the world, you lucky lot lol)
  3. WIP snippets
  4. Monthly Snapshot! post

As promised last month here is a snippet from my WIP:

Rue scowled. “I don’t like you.”
“The feeling is mutual.” Evans replied.

Haha, yes short and sweet but I kept my promise 😉

Some posts I enjoyed this month:

My round up of November posts:

Bring on the holiday cheer December, you are the only think that is going to keep me going till summer is here again. I wish you all lots of hot chocolate, thoughtful presents, great company and happy holidays to come!!

How were all your Novembers? (Do they go by as fast as mine?) What are the books that you will never tire of (that are part of your soul)? I’d love to hear about them!

Till next time,

Snapshot 10/31/19 // Something Spooky This Way Came

Currently listening: “This Is Halloween” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
Currently (re) watching: Over The Garden Wall
Currently reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Boo. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!) Happy Halloween! Thank goodness for October. After the harshness of September, October never fails to cheer me up. Pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, orange leaves and sweater weather. Also, (*cough*) CANDY (*cough*).

Me, tonight.

My October goals were (*drumroll, please*):

  1. Rework my WIP, which is a check. I definitely changed things around a bit and now have an idea for how I’m going to handle NaNo!
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette, HAHA CHECK! I posted two.
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, check check! This one was easy since I go every year.

Heading into (NANOWRIMO) November this is the plan:

  1. Write 25,000 words for my WIP. I’m a slow writer I’ve learned, so I set a more realistic goal for myself this NaNoWriMo.
  2. Post at least 1 Living Life vignette again this month. Honestly with NaNo I’ll be lucky if I have time for just one. But I’m going to try!
Me, this entire month. Probably.

What I Read:

Books Read:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I don’t think I can do this book justice. It just needs to be read to be understood. Wow. It’s dark… but the characters are alive. They breathe just like you and me. So many connections to the classics. CHARLES, OH BABY . And Henry, I don’t even. Honestly, (*beware, spoilers coming*) I expected more people to die at the end the way this story was going and Francis even comments on it somewhere at the end that Henry should have just killed them all. Enthralling story that no matter how dark it gets you just need to see it to the end. Very dark… can put you in a black cloud/ endless dark tunnel mood. SO WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WRITTEN. Julian, and the depiction of evil in him (as something that seems good on the surface). I need a mental break.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I was meaning to read this for a while and then someone mentioned it at work and I took it as a sign to just BUY IT. This book is a TRIP. Whoa baby. In the best possible way. An October book, true and true. I’m going to read this again next October and maybe the October after that. It’s a great book, not necessarily one of my all time favorites but it’s a GREAT book. It’s simple (the moral) but haunting and well played. Out there prose that paints a definite picture. The story will stay with you long after you finish it.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- The story ends the same way it begins and I got chills after reading the last paragraph. I see where all the inspiration for the show came from. Good bones. Chilling and atmospheric. The show goes a lot more in depth, and that is what I knew first so my impression may be a little skewed. But I enjoyed reading the book. Nell, poor baby, and the house is quite the character itself. Madness. Loneliness. Theo was my favorite and Luke grew on me. But Nell, Nell, Nell still lingers in my mind. The foreshadowing all along makes it so clear from the beginning of the story to the end.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m only three chapters in but I can tell that this book is amazing. I’m sold. Next Snapshot! I’ll go into more detail but right now I’m LOVING it.

What I’ll Be Writing:

This month, no lie, my WIP and NaNoWriMo is my main priority so my posting will be sporadic at best. I’m going to try to post 1 Living Life vignette, and of course any poetry or tags that cross my way but not much more than that. I’m still debating on whether or not to post weekly NaNo updates… would you guys be interested in hearing about that?
And of course at the end of the month you can expect my ever consistent Snapshot! post.

Some posts I enjoyed this month! :

-Kal @ Reader Voracious “Bookish Banter I Have the Memory of a Goldfish, So I Annotate
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 2 (+ more templates!)

My Round Up of October Posts: (LOOK HOW PRODUCTIVE I WAS)

I watch Over The Garden Wall every Halloween, and right after I post this I’m going to go grab a Twix and head into the Unknown. October was fun and I’m hoping to have just as much fun in November. That pesky WIP of mine that has been haunting my mind for years is going to get written!

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are your stories about? I’d love to hear about them!

Till next time,

The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag!

NaNoWriMo is coming. (Oh, and winter too *wink,wink*)

It gives me legitimate chills (in anticipation… and in excitement!) to just even think about it. This will be my third year participating and thus far I have never succeeded in writing 50,000 words. Here’s to hoping this year will be different. For instance, I might be changing that word count to a more achievable number for me lol. In the long year since last year’s NaNo I have started to gain more understanding of myself as a writer and my process!

Thank you to the lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag and tagging me to participate in it! I’m definitely going to have fun with this so, without further ado shall we begin? ;D

Rules:

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

(I’m still in the process of mapping out the plot but here is a general idea about the story!)
Alice doesn’t understand how summer came to end so fast and school is right around the corner again. On her one and only vacation to the Boardwalk at the end of August, oblivious and distracted in her mind, she gets lost and ends up trapped in a vicious game where the only way out is to win. The Boardwalk is not all as it had first seemed when Alice finds herself ducking through seedy alleys, facing ghost stories, and taking on the thirteen challenges she needs to win. It is not going to be easy, especially, when their only purpose is to stop her and keep her soul trapped in the game with them forever…

What’s the genre?

YA, most assuredly, with a touches of fantasy. Also, like a lot of magical realism thrown in there.

Describe your MC in three words.

Imaginative, self deprecating and competitive AF.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Reckless, lost and selfless.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

In the two years past I participated I’ve never made it to 50K, despite my efforts, SO this year I’m going for hopefully a more realistic goal of 25K.

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

I’ve written this story three times before and didn’t like how it turned out. This time after reworking it (again) this October (fourth time is the charm!) I like the direction it’s going in and hopefully I will bang that first draft out! I’m not giving up on the idea, I just needed the time to rework it into the best it can be and I’m getting there. Those other attempts weren’t a waste either because I found out what didn’t work, with some gems of really decent writing along the way that might make it into this draft.

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I guess you could say sort of continuing an existing one.

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Ideally, the morning. Although, my records show I do a lot of night writing lol. This year I’m going to try to wake up earlier to write before work.

Where are you going to write?

More than likely at home. I might be tempted though to try getting out and working at either the library or my local coffee shop just to mix it up!

Computer or paper?

All my notes will be on paper, but I’m going to type the story on the computer.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

I AM GOING TO WAKE UP EARLY.
(As if making that all in caps will give me the strength to get up earlier lol. I promise to try really hard universe so be kind to me.)

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

At this point, I don’t think I’m going to but never say never!

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

My head ideally likes to work from beginning to end, especially when I’m writing a first draft, that way it clearly follows how to get from Point A to Point B. That being said, as of late, I’ve been skipping around so who knows how this November is going to go? 😀

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser, 100%. A healthy dose of outlining so I have an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, an unhealthy dose of let’s just get writing and see what the heck happens.

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

Chocolate in any way, shape or form. I’m looking at you mini Halloween candy variety bag.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

CAFFEINE, YES. COFFEE AND TEA AND ANYTHING IN BETWEEN.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

Infinite pride in myself till the year’s over for working hard and doing my best. Then, sleep.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

You have to love the story you’re writing. Otherwise what’s the point? If you don’t love it, then probably no one else will either.
That’s why this story has taken me so long to get right. I wasn’t loving what I was writing but now I’m working it out so I do and want to get up early every day to write!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

Terrified, 100%. (But doing it anyway!) Plus another 150% SUPER excited!! One step closer to getting my story out there in the world! 😀

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

(The photos above were found on Unsplash by Álvaro Serrano , Edgar Hernández , Daniel Monteiro , Thomas Dumortier , and Mishal Ibrahim . )

I tag anyone and everyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo and wants to participate in the tag!

Let’s get going writers! NaNoWriMo is nearly here! So have Needle at the ready (or like a pen or pencil or laptop… or sword because you never know) and let’s ACE this November. If you are participating I’d love to hear about the stories you’ll be writing in the comments below!!

Till next time,

“Ghost Story”

I saw two boys standing,
in the picture,
on the broken stair.
One with a frown,
and the other,
without a care.

The black haired one,
looking very serious
and quite proud,
held a book in his hand
his shoulders pitched forward
as if he had just bowed.

The lad with the smirk
and penny copper hair
all tousled about his face,
had his eyes far off
and looking away
as he stared into space.

It was taken
twenty three years ago
my mother told me.
When the world
was summer and
she and they played near the sea.


On Roan Island
where they lived,
there was a tale.
You see, the entrance
must be given one soul
to go beyond the veil.

My mother said
the boy made of copper,
brash and not coy,
had a timeless laugh
always heard at the wrong time
that sounded with no joy.

The dark haired one,
was forged of iron
and shadow smart.
His cracks were always witty
but they didn’t come
from his heart.

There was a game
they played
those nights by the sea.
“Something more
must be waiting
for our trio of three.”

One long summer,
when the ocean was storming
and the moon was bright,
one of them
disappeared
into the night.

He vanished,
like a light
in the dark.
The light of soul,
gone,
out like a spark.

“Never saw him again.”
My mother sighed,
her words slow.
“Other things I see now
ever since that night.”
and her voice was so low.

“What? What are you seeing
that I can’t?”
I asked shrewdly.
The picture crinkled
in my hand
the boys wrinkling crudely.

My mother stared straight
her eyes startled and wide
and looking right through me.
“I watch the dead now, sweetie,
for years they’ve come and go
creaking floors and spilling tea

they’ll never leave me alone.
By the sea we played
that stupid game.
Never the one soul
I wanted to see
but do I call his name. “

“Who?” I asked.
“Is it that you want to meet?”
She took the photo in hand
and looked down forlornly.
There was salt in her eyes,
and in her hair fell sand.

“One day the game
would catch up
I always knew.
The time to collect
the sin I owe,
proud and true.”

She pointed down
and I stared, then she said
only to me.
“Until now I never saw him
but now in this room
there are three.”

Living Life # 15 “Oblivion”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.

“Can you see him?”

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.

“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”

That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.

I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.

“He’s going to find us again.”

Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.

The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.

Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.

Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.

Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.

And it didn’t budge.

“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…

His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.

Just revenge.

At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.

Then the music finally stopped.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.

Bang. Bang. Bang-

With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.

“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”

But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.

Snapshot 9/30/19 // Waking Up Because September Is Ending

Currently listening:Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day
Currently reading: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Currently watching: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir S3

I am going to be real with you guys right now. I sort of… faded in September. Nothing bad happened really, the weather wasn’t terrible and my friends and family were all doing great which at the end of it all made everything worth it. I, unfortunately though, sort of lost the swing of writing. I had to cover a lot of shifts at work, felt very uninspired with anything I attempted to write, and descended into a morose mood at the heart of which had me missing summer terribly.

(Me, beating myself up all month )

My goals for September were simple:

  • Keep working on my WIP which I technically did do, in dribs and drabs. I got nowhere near as far as I wanted to because my head was just not into it. It was a chore to write and think about, and that is not how this is supposed work. The reason I wanted to write it in the first place was because it was supposed to be something that I wanted, needed to get out and do. It’s supposed to feel like if I don’t keep pounding away at that keyboard I will never feel settled. It’s supposed to make the world around me fade and make me fall into the story. And I had none of those feelings. So for October I’m doing a reset. Reworking the plot and replanning the characters, that way I’ll be geared up for NaNoWriMo in November.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I wanted to at least post two this month and trust me I wrote two but neither were nowhere near posting material. So for October, while I’m getting my head back on straight, I am going to try and focus on getting out at least one.

Heading into October then this is the plan:

  1. Rework my WIP
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, because honestly this is fun and puts me and Autumn on better terms lol. (I don’t hate you Autumn, I don’t I promise. Summer is just like the peanut butter to my jelly, or like the Cat Noir to my Ladybug.)

What I Read:


Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I started this book last year and vowed to only read one chapter for every time I went to the beach. I finished it this summer, one year later. It was written in 1955 but even though that seems so far away, the lessons it teaches are still relevant today. The book has a magic to it in two ways, or at least it did for me. 1) It will keep you calm, I promise, the prose is very mellow and thoughtful. Then, 2) It demands to be read by the sea. I took away a great deal from it and its simple, but often overlooked in today’s world, lessons gave me clarity to reflect on my own life and give me the mental capability to relax. So if you need a major mental chill, or a 1950’s revamp to simplifying your hectic life I highly recommend.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. This is my second reread of the book. The first time I read it was a few years ago and this time around it was still a good read but I liked it less then second go round. Still glad I read it though! I really liked Peter’s message at the end, “all things end happy”, because it gave me hope, even if the ending overall was bittersweet. I also loved that it was narrated by Tink. On the other hand, I didn’t really connect with how the author handled some things so skip to the next bullet point if you want to avoid some spoilers. I really hated how the author handled Wendy and how everything went down with her. That plot point seemed weak and she was written with the intention for the reader (at least in my mind) to hate her. This portrayal of Peter I also didn’t want to grow up. It didn’t seem to fit his character for me so when he left to go to England with Wendy and grow up, IDK , it just really rubbed me the wrong way. He was depicted as wild and untamable in the book and it didn’t connect for me that Peter would want to leave Neverland. The bittersweet ending though made sense to me in that Tiger Lily and Peter shouldn’t have ended up together but they were still soulmates and each served their purpose in the other’s life to help them grow and change. Not all soulmates have a happily ever after but their impact on the other’s life still remains in how they both grew from the beginning to the end of the book.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is what I am currently reading and let me tell you this book is good. It’s very dark academia aesthetic and I only have maybe a third left of the book to go. Next month I’ll talk more about it but damn. I highly recommend this book. It was the perfect pick to distract me through my September blues.

What I’ll Be Writing (hopefully, fingers crossed):

If the fates and my will power allow be on the lookout for at least one Living Life vignette this month, maybe a poem (I was dabbling with two this past September but neither is finished yet…), any book tags that hit me like a car crash, and then at the end of the month my strong and steady Snapshot! update post. At least I can do these on time lol. Small victories!

Here are some links to posts I enjoyed this month:

– Siobhan @ Novelties “Beyond the Blurb | Bloggers, Embrace Hiatuses, Don’t Run From Them
– C.G. @ Paper Fury “Pantser Vs Plotter | Which Is The Best Way To Write Your Book?!
– Caro @ bookcheshirecat “Getting Back To Writing #2: Into The Editing Cave
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 1 (template included!)

Wow, it felt really good to actually sit down and write this. It has been a long blah month. Watching Miraculous (it is so CUTE and I am both equally in love with Cat Noir and Luka ❤ ) got me through the doldrums but moving forward October is going to be a lot better. I’ll make it better, and get back into the swing of things (or the spook of things because it’s almost HALLOWEEN!). Now it’s time to turn off the repeat of Wake Me Up When September Ends.

How did yall’s September’s go? Hopefully a lot better than mine. What sort of things do you do to get through the blah days when all you want to do is sleep?

Till next time,

Snapshot 8/31/19 // Praying For Summer to Never End

Currently listening: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince“- Taylor Swift
Currently reading: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Currently watching: The Office S2
Currently playing: Pokemon Masters

If I could live in perpetual summer, I would. Don’t get me wrong fall is wonderful because everything is pumpkin, winter is nice because of cozy fires and hot chocolate, and spring brings with it all. the. flowers. but it also brings the impending arrival of summer once again. Some people can’t stand the heat but as someone who is endlessly cold I live for it. Not to mention the long hours of daylight, the trips to the beach, and the sweet thirst quenching lick of mint chocolate chip ice cream as it runs down a waffle cone…. dang now I need some ice cream.

My goals for this summer were to go swimming whenever the opportunity arose, get to the beach, finish the first draft of my WIP, and get out of my comfort zone and have some fun. So let’s recap:

  • Unfortunately I only got to go swimming twice this summer. Omg that is so pathetic. The weather wasn’t always on my side though when the opportunity arose so I’m not going to beat myself up too much on this one. And honestly, September is still warm so…. all hope is not lost for one more swim.
  • I DID GET TO THE BEACH, YES, THANK YOU, CHECK.
  • My first draft is coming along. It is nowhere near finished but it is moving in the right direction. The world and the characters are becoming clearer whereas before they were just quietly humming in the background and now they are starTING TO YELL. That’s when I start to get excited and when I get excited that means the story is getting ready to spill out *crossing my fingers*
  • August was fun, a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people and actually held a lot of nice conversations with said new people. That is way out of my comfort zone since I’m usually shy and quiet. So this last goal is a major check.

Going into September these are my new goals:

  • Keep working on my WIP, however long it takes, I’m just going to keep swimming. Hopefully, but no promises, I’ll have some snippets or info to share by the end of September.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I got very distracted in August, and not going to lie, I might have been a little lazy. In my defense though it was my birthday month so I’m going to cut myself a break. Heading into September, I’m going to try to get at least two out. They are certainly not going to be weekly anymore though because I’m trying to aim for quality over quantity.

I’m keeping it nice and simple this month. That way I don’t overwork or stress myself out. And I still have some time left to lament over my precious summer…

Because before too long, I’ll be all…

And I’m not ready for that yet, lol.

What I Read:

Steadily, just like in July, I finished three books in August. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman was the first. I loved this book. Tragic and beautiful and real and raw and so many feelings all in one. A beautiful book with the beautiful setting of Hawaii and Mr. Watanabe and Kai and a beautiful sister relationship woven throughout in flashbacks and mother daughter struggles and asexuality and learning its okay if you don’t know. ITS OKAY NOT TO KNOW. It’s okay if you don’t know where you’re headed in life. IT IS ALL OKAY. Some relationships are forever till the end of time and sometimes people come into your life to teach you something or help you work through something and you know you might not ever see them again but you will always remember them. All of that… in one beautiful book. How many times did I say beautiful?

Then it was To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I adored this book too. Omg I love Elian and his piracy and his connection to the ocean and his goodness and his loyalty to his crew with Madrid and Kye and Torik. And Lira and her strength and confidence and her sense of duty and then when everything comes together at the end and the whole little mermaid retelling!!! It was great. I loved it and I loved it and I loved it. Descriptions are fantastic but I would love to see more of the world there seems like so much more to explore here with these 101 kingdoms.

My last was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and omg this book was too real. It was fantastically written and very understandably a classic. The depiction of mental illness that Esther, the main character experiences, is eye opening and the story really gets you inside her head. You really understand why she makes the choices she does and even though it is a bit slow at times as a whole the pacing works for the novel.

I just picked up Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson to reread for the second time. It’s been a few years since the first read and since I’m a mood reader I’m gonna read it again because I feel like it, ya know?

What I’ll Be Writing:

Be on the lookout for at least two Living Life vignettes this month, any poetry that hits me like a bolt of lightning randomly, any book tags that I’m tagged to do or that strike my fancy and of course my ever steady monthly Snapshot post.

Here are some (like two) links to my (minimal) posts from this month (because I was lazy and having fun with my friends omg lol, focus Jai):

Then here are some fantastic reads from other bloggers (who have their life together, unlike me) I enjoyed this month:

How were all of your summers? Did you meet your goals? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,