You may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent from the blog lately. The reason behind that? Tanner and I finally got hitched last Saturday!


I say finally, because we’ve been together for over ten years, and engaged for about half that time. It’s funny, but I only mentioned the wedding planning process a few times on this blog. Part of that’s because the focus of this blog is more on writing, but it’s also because I didn’t want to think about white dresses and ribbon colors any more than I had to. Planning events just isn’t my thing, and even a small wedding are still very much events. I remember tweeting several times that I wish I had just eloped.

But now… I’m really glad I didn’t, because the wedding was as close to perfect as it could have been.

At a time of year when the Mother Nature is known to be particularly unpredictable, we were blessed with warm and sunny weather, which I appreciated in my strapless dress. My hair, which pretty much only does what it wants to do (usually lie flat, and slightly tangled), was wonderfully arranged, and all of my bridesmaids looked fabulous and happy with themselves. Everyone that was supposed to come was able to, and despite a couple problems with music, the ceremony was mostly fault free. I only had one moment where I got nervous, and it was right before I walked down that isle. Anyone who’s been through it will understand. Everyone is STARRING at you!

The reception afterwards, like most of the day, was pretty low key. During the planning process, we had a few areas where we were okay spending money, and then cut out other areas all together. So, as neither of us are big on dancing, we didn’t have a DJ or band. We didn’t have too far to go from the church, so we just drove ourselves instead of getting a limo. On the other hand, we made sure to get a professional photographer (and yes, I will share pictures when they’re available! The one above is from a friend’s cellphone), and didn’t skimp on the food. We also cut costs by keeping the guest list small (which suited us anyway), and keeping other aspects of the wedding similarly low key. So we didn’t cover the church or reception hall in flowers, but we had flowers for the wedding party, and my mom did a great job putting together some centerpieces with fake blooms.

Both Tanner and I had a great time, and all of our guests seemed very happy. After the wedding, we had to head home to take care of a few things (laundry!), and pack for the honeymoon, but we were able to set off on Monday to this really nice beach house that my parents own in York. Granted, going to the beach in April in May is pretty much like playing Russian roulette. It can be beautiful one day, and then snow a couple days later, which is exactly what happened to us. Still, we were still happy to be able to spend together and just relax. Before this, I hadn’t taken a real week-long vacation in about two and a half years. Combine that with all of the wedding planning, and it was really needed.

Here’s a picture I took of York on the nice day.

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And a picture Tanner took of the snow two days later…


“The Fox” Will Be Appearing in the July Issue of The Lorelei Signal

I’m happy to announce that my short story “The Fox” has been accepted for publication by The Lorelei Signal. The Lorelei Signal, for those unaware, is a great little magazine with a fantastic purpose: telling fantasy stories with strong/complex female characters. “The Fox” will be appearing in the July issue of the magazine, and then the print version (called Mystic Signals) in August.

“The Fox” is my attempt to write a more traditional fantasy stories with urban fantasy sensibilities. The main character serves as an avatar to The Fox god, which grants her with certain abilities. Unfortunately, these abilities come at a cost.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that I wrote this story BEFORE that crazy/catchy viral video came out. See, I even wrote about it in a blog post here  months before the video was posted on youtube. Yet after I watched the video, whenever I would go back to tweak  the story or even see the file siting in my computer, that crazy song would play in my head. So not fair!

Recommended Resource: Characterization, Opinions, and Surprises According to Writing Excuses

I’ve talked about the podcast Writing Excuses a few times before, but I wanted to highlight a few recent episodes that I felt were particularly interesting.

The first one is on Three Pronged Character Development, which is a useful little tool that it likely to get helpful if you get stuck on a tricky character.

The second contains all around good advice for preparing to become a writer (or really, any type of public figure), as it covers expressing potentially controversial opinions online, and the consequences that can result in that.

The third (just from today), is a worthwhile podcast about some of the surprises found in life as a professional writer, whether that be lack of time for leisure writing, or the unexpected physical demands.

To me, Writing Excuses is always worth checking out, but I found these episodes in particular to be must listens.

Writing in 2014, by the numbers (so far)

So we’re closing in on 100 days into 2014, and because I keep these detailed spreadsheets, I thought I’d spend a little time blogging about how much time I’ve actually spent on writing this year. Why? Reasons. Important reasons, I tell you! There’s more to this than my weird obsession with random statistics.

So according to my spreadsheet in the past 96 days, I spent time writing on 80 of them. This isn’t perfect, but considering what a bad month March was for writing, it could be a lot worse.

As far as projects go, seventy-one days was spent working on Hero of Darkwood, my current big project. On four days, I spent time submitting Lady of Darkwood to agents. On eight days, I spent time on short fiction. If you are confused as to why these numbers do not add up to 80, it’s because there were a few days where I worked on more than one project.

As far as time goes, I’ve spent ninety-eight hours on Hero of Darkwood, six and half on submitting Lady of Darkwood to agents, and eight hours and forty-five minutes on short fiction.

So what do we learn from this? One, I’ve been putting a lot of time into the first revised draft of Hero. Two, I’ve been spending almost all of my time this year on revisions. Looking back to last year’s spreadsheet (don’t judge me! I like making spreadsheets), I had already finished the first draft of Leader of Darkwood (last year’s big project) and had moved on to other projects by the beginning of April. This is likely a reflection of the fact that Hero is about 20k longer than Leader, as well as last month’s poor writing time.

So what I learned from this is that my next project needs to be writing-based, and not revision based. Sure, I could get Hero done a lot faster if I started on draft two immediately, but that would be really pushing it. I’ll be able to handle Hero a lot better (and probably be able to revise a lot faster) if I take a month off of it.

Hope everyone’s had a productive writing (or revising) year so far.

March: A bad time for Writing (+ April Goals)

Ugh, I don’t even want to look at these right now because March was not a good writing month. Anyway, here were my goals for the month.

1. Get 25,000 words further into the revised first draft of Hero of Darkwood
2. Spend a week (7 hours of writing) on short fiction

Yeah, I didn’t manage to hit either of those milestones, which has left me pretty grumpy. Part of it was lack of time, my wedding is coming up soon, and I ended up working a bunch of extra hours in the latter half of the the month. For a while, the issue was also lack of motivation. Often, I really look forward to writing. At the least, it’s usually not something I mind doing. There were times this month when that was clearly not the case.

Fortunately, April looks to take care of two of those issues. My motivation is coming back, and I’m not working any extra hours. Yes, the wedding still has me busy, but most of the planning is done by now, so besides the days of the wedding rehearsal and wedding reception, finding some time to write shouldn’t be as problematic. As a result, I am setting myself one big goal for April.

1. Finish first draft of Hero of Darkwood

I have about 20k left to revise. I think I can get through that this month. Then I’ll figure out if I want to take a little break, or spend time on other projects. Then, I’ll make polishing the novel up to something worthy of my first readers over the summer. I have a feeling that because I had such a hard time with last month, that the chapters I revised will still need a lot of work, but that’s a problem for later!

Hopefully, someone had a better writing month then I did this March! Anyone doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month?

Everything I Read in March 2014

Quite a busy month, so I didn’t get quite as much reading done as usual. I also found myself drawn to short fiction, as they were quick reads I could pick up and put down easily. Here’s the full list. Links lead to goodreads reviews, but I’m open to discussing anything here as well.

Honolulu by Alan Brennert- BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan- BEST AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH

Short Fiction Magazines
Lightspeed: February 2014- BEST MAGAZINE OF THE MONTH
Lightspeed: March 2014

Graphic Novels
Alias, Vol 4: The Secret Origin of Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis- BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE MONTH
Batwoman, Vol 3: World’s Finest by JH Williams III and Hayden Blackman
Wonder Woman, Vol 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello

All New X-men #24
Black Widow #4
Buffy: Season 10: #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Lazarus #7
Mighty Avengers #8
Ms. Marvel #2
Rocket Girl #4
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #3
Trillium #7
Velvet #4
The Wake #7
Wolverine #3

Everything I Watched in March 2014

Don’t see myself as watching much of anything tomorrow, so here are my reviews for all of the movies and TV shows I watched in March. Much like February, apparently the only movies I saw fit for seeing in the theaters were made for children. What does that say about me? Or Hollywood?

In Theaters

Mr. Peabody and Sherman- A charming animated film that is about a dog and his boy traveling through time, as well as a surprisingly touching story about fathers and sons. Although it’s not without its flaws (it’s main female character, Penny, goes through some dramatic character changes in a very short amount of time, which seems rushed), Mr. Peabody and Sherman manages to succeed based on it’s lovable characters, zippy time travel narrative, and well casted voice acting. History buffs will find plenty to giggle about in this one. B

Muppets Most Wanted- Honestly, I’m a bit of a let down after the brilliant Jason Segal led film that came out back in 2011. The heist-driven storyline, musical numbers, and even the jokes are noticeably weaker this time around. Also, there’s some really bad green screen moments at the end that makes me wonder if the film was rushed out. Still, there are plenty of cute Muppet moments, and the celebrity cameos come fast and furious. Worth a rental. C+

On Netflix (not counting incomplete TV seasons)
Archer (Season 1-3)- This may sound like a lot of TV watching, but when you consider that each season has 13 episodes (or less), and they’re only 20 minutes a pop, it’s not as much. If you’re looking for an adult cartoon that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter, you could do a lot worse then this spy-spoof. I think what makes this show work so well is the fantastic chemistry between it’s cast members, which you don’t see on a lot of cartoons. Similarly, you seen plot and character progression between episodes, which is  also unusual for the genre. Warning though, this show isn’t afraid to venture into some pretty offensive material, so it’s not for everyone. But if you like humor that’s edgy and absurd, this should work well for you. B+ 

Agents of SHIELD- Only one episode this March, but damn if it’s not the strongest episode the SHIELD team has produced yet. Yes Men delivers a fast past and exciting episode. It also manages to balance the movie elements and TV show elements very, resulting in a story that develops relationships and furthers Coulson’s quest for truth while giving us a deeper look at the character of Sif. This is the level of quality that I’ve been expecting from SHIELD, and I think a lot of people agree with me.

Castle- Gah! I’m behind again. How did that happen? Anyway, the episodes I did watch this month (Room 147 and In the Belly of the Beast) were surprisingly top notch. For a show that can occasionally feel pretty paint by the numbers, these two episodes explored very different types of cases, and it really paid off.  The suspense in In the Belly of the Beast was particularly strong. Very curious to see how certain plot developments raised in this episode will be resolved.

We’re The Millers (on DVD)- Yeah, I’m not sure why this one got such poor reviews, as I found this R-rated comedy to be a lot of fun, filled with a talented cast and tons of laughs. One criticism that should be made? Um, it can be a little racist in its portrayal of Mexicans. Granted, no one looks all that great in this movie, but it still stuck out to me. Still, if you’re looking for something that will make you laugh, you could do much worse than We’re The Millers. B

Thor: The Dark World (on DVD)- Already reviewed this one here, and my opinions haven’t changed. Thor 2 is a fun and energetic movie. Watching this made me excited to see Captain America on Friday. B+