Snuffled by an Elephant

This past weekend I went up to our local Renaissance Festival. I LOVE RenFest. I could go there probably every day, all day long, and be a totally happy person.

At our local RenFest, they have camel and elephant rides. There are usually 3 camels, but they only have one elephant. She’s often a very busy elephant, but always seems super laid back and chill. The only thing they have separating this massive animal from the rest of the crowds and the festival grounds is a knee-high fence of rope. ONE ROPE. One single strand of rope that’s strung through wooden fence posts at knee level. And every time I walk by that area, I get visions of pissed-off elephants trampling people, and I say a silent thank-you that this elephant seems so very calm and non-pissed-off, since she would plow through that rope fence and not even feel it.

Well. This weekend, for some reason, she was not so busy. I walked by that area this time and she was standing right next to the rope fence, just hanging out. In fact she was kind of leaning against it with her legs, making it bow outward a little bit. Her handler was there standing next to her, of course, but she wasn’t really paying attention to him. She was too busy socializing with the crowd that had gathered next to her on the outside of the fence.

I thought, “Oh my gosh, she’s so close! I could touch her!”

I have ridden an elephant about twice in my life, both as a young child, and both in similar such rides where you lumber around in a small circle. It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t actually get to really EXPERIENCE an elephant that way, ya know?

I have certainly never, ever TOUCHED an elephant. (I was always in the middle during those rides!)

So I went up to her, sidled through a hole in the crowd, ignored the visions of pissed-off elephants that danced in my head and the fact that one of her legs was as big as my entire body, and reached out my hand.

She immediately noticed me as a newcomer and REACHED OUT HER TRUNK TO ME. SHE SNUFFLED ME. SHE STUCK HER WET TRUNK NOSTRILS TO MY PALM AND SNUFFLED. THEN SHE SNUFFLED MY TUMMY.

And that was our hello. Then I petted her trunk a bit, right between her stubby tusks, AND IT WAS AMAZING.

I nearly cried.

Later, we got to feed her apples right out of our hands. And we learned her name was Paige. She is a very sweet elephant. She dripped some snot on the kid while snuffling him and he kept shouting, “BABY WIPE! BABY WIPE!!!” as he did not like elephant snot on his legs, but I thought it was an incredible experience, elephant snot and all.

So that was it. The day I really met an elephant up close and personal for the first time. I loved it. 🙂 Don’t even have any pictures! I was too busy being enthralled!

 

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Project List for September 2015

You know, every month I think, “Well this month is crazy, but next month will be better.”

No. That’s never true. NEVER.

Every “next month” ends up being just as crazy and hectic as the one before. So I should really give up on that thought process!

Anyway, let’s get on with it! Thinking about the rest of the month exhausts me already, considering our annual Chief’s kickoff party bash is right around the corner (zomgthehouseisn’tevenremotelycleanihavetocleanthewholehouseandtheyardandeventhebasementbecausetherewillbemassesofpeopleatmyhouseallweekendaskdjfalsdjfasdaksjdk), I’m dying to get to our local Ren Fest, my writing group has a NaNoWriMo Workshop to head up on the 23rd, and the kiddo has soccer practice one night a week and a soccer game every Saturday. (I don’t foresee a super ton of extracurricular activities in his future…)

SO.

By the end September of 2015, I will be THRILLED if I manage to accomplish the following:

  • Complete edits to Primus.
  • Complete most edits for my author friend’s first 10 chapters.
  • Manage Wordwraith’s tweets for the month.
  • Compile all workshop materials in packets for attendees and organize, as well as rehearse my explanation for each worksheet so I do not ramble and put everyone to sleep.
  • Survive KOP #15.
  • Stay sane.

And you know, that’s it. That’s all I’m putting on my plate for this month! Just that should keep me PLENTY busy!

Here we go!

 

 

 

 

Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for July 2015

It recently came to my attention that I had neglected to post a run-down of what I managed to accomplish during the very terrible month of July 2015! Since it’s quite a miracle that I accomplished anything at all, considering (you can read all about that here), I wanted to be sure I documented what I DID get done. (And you can compare this to the monthly goals here.)

So, in July 2015, I accomplished the following:

– Started work on TWTF extra last chapter (~300 words)
– Completed anthology story (5600 words)
– Printed  The Hound of God postcards for giveaway at family reunion
– Scheduled Wordwraiths tweets for the month
– Wrote 3 posts for Doctor Who Watch (missed one week due to a series of unfortunate events)
– Wrote Wordwraith blog post (linked above – the tale of my terrible July)
– Ended up getting half my wordcount goal for Camp (nearly 8000 words, WAY MORE than I had expected, considering!)
– Sent first 2500 words of Hound of God to Ozarks Romance Authors Weta Nichols contest
– Finished last LOTR fanfic chapter based on beta reader feedback (~2000 words)
– Posted an excerpt of my Wordwraiths anthology story “Dreamers” to Patreon for my paying patrons
– Received a rejection from A Murder of Storyteller’s Broken World anthology for “Gray”, although it was kept for a second read. Which is the second time that story has made it to a second round of reading. Alas, it is still homeless.

And that’s about it! Which is, I think, more than I accomplished in August. So, ah, that’s kinda crazy. Hrmmm.

Anyway, I need to get another short story out there! I’m feeling antsy about submissions lately … having something out in the world to wait on rejection always makes me feel better! 😉

Onward and upward, folks!

Project List and Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for August 2015

Project List for August 2015 was:

Make submission to Anthology of Quitters
– Finish COTSS short story and submit to DSF
Publish TWTF 21 on fanfiction dot net
– Complete TWTF 22
– Work on The Hound of God
– Resume edits on Primus
Give quote for editing friend author’s 5th novel
Read the outlines for  his first 4 novels
– Continue reading novel for fellow Wordwraith and giving feedback

Bait, Fish, and Reel Report for August 2015:

Completed all items crossed through on the list above, plus read and edited another fellow Wordwraith’s anthology story and returned comments to her.

I also made SOME PROGRESS on the following:

– Work on The Hound of God (~700 words)
– Continue reading fellow Wordwraith’s novel and giving him feedback (chapters 5-7)
– Resume edits on Primus (chapters 1-3 revised, brainstormed, rewritten and revised again)
– Edit author friend’s 5th novel

A “Books” Page Has Finally Been Added!

Well! That was probably harder than it should have been.

Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to add pages to my website so late at night, as instead of creating a new page, I first created a new post! But that’s all right, because I wanted to announce the new page, anyway!

If you will direct your eyes to the top navigation bar of this site, you will see that I have FINALLY gotten around to adding a page for my actual books.

Of course … it helps to actually have a book now to list there! 😉 Regardless, I will also be putting the blurbs and covers for my soon-coming books there, so you can have a bit of a sneak peek at what’s coming up around the corner!

If you would like more information on upcoming works, exclusive excerpts, chances at receiving an Advanced Reader’s Copy, and even some free fiction for your trouble, keep watching this space for my Newsletter announcement, which should *crosses fingers* be up and running before too long!

In the meantime, if you’d like to feast your eyes upon the brand-spanking-new Books page, you may find it here!

Thanks for stopping by and … good night! ❤

The “Finished Story” Feeling

Apparently there is a magic story length that exists and when I write a story of that magic length, I get a fabulous “finished story” feeling afterward.

I do not get this feeling with shorter short stories. But I do get it after writing longer/longish short stories or very long novels. Not sure that 3000 words really cuts it, but 5000 and up does, for some reason.

July 2015 was a terrible month for me, for various reasons. I have chronicled the difficulties of the month and how I still managed to crawl out on the other side with nearly 8000 words of stories in a blog post for The Wordwraiths, so I will spare you the details here. All you have to know for right now is that I was about to give up multiple times throughout July … and not just on the current story I was trying to finish with a self-set deadline of July 31st, 2015, but on writing altogether as a whole.

However, I did not give up. On either. Although many times I was tempted to at least allow myself a bit more leniency due to the extenuating circumstances, I just kept thinking of something that was said in the book Write. Publish. Repeat. And that was that you should set deadlines for yourself, which I do. But it also said that the deadlines you set for yourself should not be as firm as wet tissue paper.

Meaning, take them seriously. Don’t just blow through them because YOU set them for YOURSELF. Treat them like real, outside deadlines, and don’t blow them off.

So I didn’t. I took my own deadline seriously, which I’m usually very, very bad at. It was a little easier this time because I had my whole writing group on the same deadline with me, and I saw a lot of them struggling against the looming date as well. And they were doing it. So I determined to do it, too.

And I did it. I finished the short story at 5600-ish words on July 31st 2015. And I was very happy about it. It made me feel, once again, like, “Hey, I can do this thing, no matter what happens in the rest of life.”

And then I got that “finished story” feeling. I LOVE this feeling.  I don’t get it often, because it either takes me a VERY long time to finish novels, or because the stories I finish in between the novels are too short to illicit any kind of emotional response. But, when it happens, I try to relish it, and just enjoy it for a few days.

Since I want to write as a career, I am never finished writing. There is always always always always something else waiting to be written. But a story has an end, and on the rare occasions when I devote a significant chunk of time and effort toward writing one, and it’s finally complete, a very serene contentedness comes over me. Even if the story itself isn’t very good. Even though it always needs extensive edits and a lot more work before it’s shown to the world. But none of that matters right after I write THE END.

All that matters is that the first draft, the hardest part (for me) is done. I have something COMPLETE. I have PROOF of HAVING WRITTEN. It is extremely satisfying. It generates a kind of happiness I don’t quite get in doing any other type of work. It’s as if, for a glorious few days, I can see the world so much more clearly. I can be in my life in the moment, in the now, because all the story-stuff leaves me alone for just a little bit.

I can do house chores without feeling guilty that I’m not writing instead. I can play with my son without fretting in the back of my mind about how I’m also going to fit in my daily word count. I can do my day job without the constant nagging anxiety of “I’d rather be writing”. It’s such a nice break. Such a relief. I usually allow myself a few days off at this point, to fully enjoy this reprieve.

Today is the third day of this break, and I can feel it now beginning to turn into motivation and inspiration for resuming work on the other two projects-currently-in-progress. I will likely pick back up into actively writing again either later today or tomorrow at the latest. Yep, vacation’s over. Time to get back to work.

But while I had a head unmuddled by story and deadlines and word counts, I thought I’d take a second to come document this feeling of clarity and calm.

I can’t wait to experience it again …

Project List for July 2015

Yeah yeah yeah, so July is basically half over. But so what! I’m still going to make this post, for posterity! 😉

In July of 2015 (it’s Camp NaNoWriMo!), I hope to accomplish the following:

– Move website hosting
– Transfer content from current domain to new hosted domain
– Set up email list on website
– Finish last LOTR fanfic chapter based on beta reader feedback and complete the epilogue
– Complete Wordwraith’s anthology story “Dreamers” during Camp NaNoWriMo
– Continue work on Hound of God once other stories are complete
Print postcards with Hound cover, blurb, and links for family reunion to give along with teas and tea infuser
Manage Wordwraith Twitter account for the month
– Write 1 post each week for Doctor Who Watch
– Write Wordwraith blog post
– Continue reading fellow Wordwraith’s novel and sending feedback
– Continue reading craft books
– Post something special to Patreon for my paying patrons
Send first 2500 words of Hound of God to Ozarks Romance Authors Weta Nichols contest (sent 7.15.15 … on the last day for entries! Whew!)

Thus far, the writing is going abysmally terribly this month (aka, I have about 1200 words written of my 15,000 word monthly goal). It has not been a great two weeks all around, not just in the writing arena. There have been several times where I was tempted to throw up my hands and quit this writing thing altogether, because that seems to be what my brain thinks is the answer to all my life problems. However, while writing does suck up almost all of my very limited free time, and causes me to basically have no social life, and bestows loads and loads of guilt and anxiety upon all aspects of my life … the thought of not doing it at all is terrifying.

Probably because I wouldn’t know how to entertain myself. I wouldn’t know how to have a life after all of these years.

So I guess I’m stuck with it.

We’ll see how well I do for the remainder of the month. It’s been a tough one! Whew!