Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trying something new

Have you ever tried something new, something you never really thought you would?

Many years ago, I watched a movie that involved a writer who "wrote" his books by dictating them into a voice recorder (a simple tape recorder of the 80s or early 90s) and then typing them up. Of course, there was more to the movie than just this act - it was a thriller than involved the writer somehow "knowing" all the murders his unknown, evil twin committed and writing those criminal acts into his novels. I don't remember the name of the movie and I can't remember if it was really any good, but I was fascinated by the idea of writing by voice.

However, I love writing by hand. I do. I have notebooks and journals filled up to attest to that. I have a love affair with paper and have a tough time not purchasing more journals than I need. So, why use talk to text?

1. I  had surgery many years ago on each of my arms for nerve damage from sports-related injuries. I gained back 95% of the use of my hands, arms, etc - including my sense of touch. However, I still have my clumsy-fingered moments and I'm older now. Any surgery and any scar tissue can slow us down as we age. (Okay, I'm not ancient yet but I am in my 40s and I feel it.) A really cool ergonomic keyboard helps, but it doesn't solve all the issues.

2. I slouch when I sit and this is causing neck pain and back pain. My chiropractor tells me that I have to lay backwards over an exercise ball at least twice a day for 5-10 minutes to resolve this and I need to get up and move (plus, sit up straight).

3. I just need to get up and move more. I had two surgeries this year. It's been six months since the last one and although I have to take baby steps for exercise (biking 16 miles in one day last month set me back again by three weeks), I am struggling to diet and exercise appropriately to deal with my excess weight and regain full health. Obviously, there's more to solving this than just talk-to-text, but this is one way that I have decided to tackle it.

So, I just ordered Dragon Naturally Speaking - a software program that I've heard nothing but good things about for around 20 years (I had a relative who needed it because he had MS). I will see how it goes when it gets here.

Hopefully, I don't have an unknown evil twin out there who will dictate crime thriller novels into my brain. Unless, of course, they are best-sellers ...

BTW - I will finally report back about my experiences with Duotrope in my next IWSG post.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Liebster Award

Many thanks to Tara Tyler, speculative fiction writer extraordinaire! In addition to her writing talents, her organization, her blog, and her ability to create engaging surveys leaves me in awe. Plus, she's a mom and lives a full life. Amazing lady!

She nominated me and 11 others for the Liebster Award. It's been a while since I received or passed on an award, but here goes:

Liebster Award Rules and Nominees:
Rule 1: Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
Rule 2: Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
Rule 3: Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know)
Rule 4: Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

Here are my answers to Tara's questions
1.     You are thrown into a favorite story. [Not your own.] Which story and who would you be?
The Chronicles of Narnia - preferably The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I would like to be Reepicheep, but when I read this book the first time, I empathized with Eustace. I really was a stubborn, temperamental, self-centered kid. I still struggle with it and totally get why Aslan had to strip him of his dragon-hide.
2.     What is the hardest part of writing for you? Why?
Usually it's Marketing and Promotion (like Tara mentioned in her post), but lately I've been having a tough time finishing fiction projects. I have written over 180,000 words on three projects in the last two years, but not finished anything to the final "end." I really want to do that again and I'm trying to push myself to do that within the next few months.
3.     When and where do you write? How did you discover that was best for you?
I prefer mid-morning or mid-afternoon in my house - either on my bed, at the dining room table or in the magical brown chair (I wrote 10,000 words once in that chair), but I will take early morning, late evening, or in the parking lot outside of a dance studio, gym, in a coffee shop, a library, anywhere if that's what I need to do.
4.     If you could be anybody or anything, who or what would you be and why?
I'm going to echo Tara here: I would be a dragon. 
A griffin, a cat, or maybe a friend of C.S. Lewis would all be good, too. 
5.     How do you push forward when the inner critic won’t shut up?
I write all that junk out in my journal or take a walk or dance around my living room or kitchen to loud music - anything from 80s music to modern pop songs my kids like.
6.     Do you need to write inside a bubble or library [like me] or do like to listen to music or other inspiring background sounds or “white” noise to write? 
I like quiet writing with some background "house" noise - family present but not talking to me (we're introverts here, so this mainly works). I like writing to soundtracks when the words are just dead. Sometimes, rarely, a song will hit me in the write way and I'll play it on repeat so the words blur into the music.
7.     How do you keep the wolves…ahem…I mean convince your children or other people to leave you alone to write? Does it work? Provide tips—please!
I write when they are busy. Since they are pretty busy most of the time, this should be easy, but it's not. I get into one activity or another and have to stop myself. 
8.     Who was your favorite author as a child? Who is your favorite author now?
Favorite? One? No. As a child: C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Frank L. Baum, and many more. Now: Jessica Day George, Tara Tyler, C. Lee Mckenzie, and many more. What I love most about this latter group of authors is that I have been able to read their work as they've grown - I can see how good they were when they started and how excellent their writing is currently. 
9.     If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why that?
It used to be flying, but right now in our current climate, it would be healing - mind, body, spirit - individually, nationally, and globally. 
10.  How do you find inspiration?
I have to echo Tara again here - it's everywhere. It's in music, on walks, when I get to kayak, when my teen daughters talk with me, when my husband tells me about his day at work, when the sun rises and sets, when I go to worship, when I read something that I agree or disagree with, when I watch tv or a movie, or read a book.
11.  What book or movie or writing workshop or blog post has affected your work the most? Why?
There are so, so many! I have been blessed.
Most recently, I came across this quote that I liked in a book that I kind of liked:
"Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

11 Nominees for the Liebster Award, for optional participation: 
Everyone reading this (yes, that's more than one)
C. Lee McKenzie, 
Christine Rains,
MJ Fifield,
Erika Beebe
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Nick Wilford,
Krystal Jane,
Ellen at the Cynical Sailor,
Cathrina Constantine,
Chrys Fey.
These authors are exceptional at encouragement! I highly recommend you check out their blogs. 

And, I admit, I can't seem to think of anything better than the previous 11 questions, so please answer those! :)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

#IWSG October 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an exceptional group offering support and encouragement to all writers in any stage of their journeys. 
Started by the one and only Alex J. Cavanaugh.
Facebook     Twitter     Website     Blog Hop List

Show Us Your Writer Insecurity
This is a shirt and book only photo I took when the Hero Lost books came. :) 

Optional Question: When rejections feel overwhelming, what do you do to get yourself out of this negative funk? (And, oops, I chose the wrong question but ... since this is IWSG, I hope you all understand!)

This is an area of expertise for me as a short story writer. However, I don't have novel rejection experience yet so that may be different.
For short story rejections, I do these things:

1. I take a deep breath, check the story for any unknown errors, and then, if it looks the way I want it to, I search for a new market and send it out again within 24 hours of the initial rejection. (Some stories take many submissions to find a home.)

2. I go cry. Okay. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but when I read the question right - if the rejections are truly overwhelming, I think it's okay to shed a few tears. It's normal to feel the pain of having a story baby sent back unwanted.

3. I read over my list of successes. I keep it on my blog and in a desk drawer. 

4. I read some nice reviews of my previous work. I have a list of nice comments people have made that I keep handy, just in case.

5. I go for a walk. I clear my head. I dance around the living room. I pet my dog and cat, hug my family, or have a cup of tea. 

6. I read. This is my go-to place for any kind of stress. 

7. I set a timer and write anything, literally, anything. I even wrote something that might be considered romance the other day. It's only 1500 words and part of a story, but I surprised myself because I liked it enough to keep going after the timer (which only had me at 400 words). 

8. If I haven't done #1 yet, then I do that after I do #2-7.

For a bonus round of help, I read IWSG posts - sometimes old ones by other bloggers. These are especially encouraging. 

To see a random selection of pictures from my Prague trip, scroll down to my previous post on goals. There are a few pictures from London since I had a seven hour layover on my return trip.

What do you do when you face rejection?


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Available Now!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this free anthology. 

From writing to publishing to marketing, the Insecure Writer's Support Group members provide tips on making money as a writer. This guide represents the spirit of the IWSG - to encourage and support writers everywhere! It is our hope that this book will benefit you as a writer, no matter where you are in the journey. 

ISBN: 9781939844453 FREE
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

The next #IWSGPit – Thursday, January 18, 2018!
 - Over three hundred agents and publishers.
So polish those manuscripts and pitches! 

The deadline for the next IWSG Anthology Contest is November 1. The genre is mystery/crime/thriller and the theme is Tick Tock. 
This is a great opportunity to see you work in a royalty-paying anthology. 

See the IWSG site for full details.

Nick Wilford, an IWSG blogger and author, has a new book out: Black&White.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Do You Have Goals? with Pictures

Do You Have Goals? is an encouraging blog hop started by Misha. 

Goals? What goals? Ohhh, those goals. 
I lost track of my goals as I ran from one project to the next, from one exciting, life opportunity to the next challenge, to one day to the next.

So, let's just put that massive list of goals on hold for now.
What I really did:
1. I prepared for my three independent contract classes for homeschool co-op and taught a bit around my trip.

2. I wrote several worksheets for grammar. These focused on verb conjugation and verbals, such as gerunds, participles, and infinitives. (In current grammar standards, it is okay to spit infinitives like all Star Trek lovers who want to boldly go ...)

3. I went to the Czech Republic via Heathrow in London. This means, I left the states at 5:30 Pacific Time on a Monday, spent a four hour layover in Heathrow on Tuesday mid-day, and then arrived in Prague on Tuesday night.

4. I got to feel like a rock star! For the first time in my life, a taxi driver from a hotel stood at the airport arrivals area with my name on a sign. I almost took a picture of him and the sign because I was so thrilled. Yes, I'm a geek, but since he seemed embarrassed at the idea, I didn't take the picture.

5. If you haven't guessed, I traveled solo. I left one day after Team USA and after most of the parents who went. This meant I toured solo most of the first day and part of the second. It challenged my perception of myself and helped me realize that I do have the ability to travel in a foreign country, figure out planes, taxis, trains, and directions without a travel buddy, and even without working data on my phone since the international data plan I thought I had didn't work for most of the trip. (My husband stayed home (again!) but if my daughter makes it next year, I will drag him with me somehow - not because I have to someone to lean on to travel but because I really want him with me.)

6. I had an awesome trip, saw amazing sights, and watched Team USA race at the Olympic Hopes Regatta for three days in Racice, Czech Republic. I highly recommend visiting Prague, Karlstejn Castle (southwest of Prague via train), and the countryside in the Czech Republic. The following pics are just a small taste of what I saw:
The Old Town Astronomical Clock - 600 Hundred Years Old and Still Ticking! 

The ceiling of a small Hussite Church that I happened upon when I was sort of lost. 

One small view from St. Charles Bridge in Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague

Part of the old section of Prague Castle - which is a working castle in other sections.

One of the armor exhibits in a small section of the Golden Lane in Prague Castle.

My daughter and her K2 partner racing in the K2 500m. (Kayak with 2 people for 500m)

Same race. They did well enough in their heat to move onto the semi-finals. They didn't make finals, but I cheered as loud as I could for the races they had! (My daughter also competed in a K1 1000m, a K1 200m, and a K4 200m for her age division of 2001 women.)

My youngest. 

7. I didn't get all the research done that I wanted, but I did do some travel journaling on my pc, in a notebook, and on my phone.

8. On the way back, I had a seven hour layover in London so I left the airport, rode Heathrow Express, rode the tube (underground), and took a short walking tour from Westminster to Buckingham Palace via Leicester Square and Picadilly Circus. In Leicester Square, they were getting ready for the red carpet premier of the second Kingsman movie ... if I just had a longer layover, I could have been a crazy fan and waited around to take pictures of Colin Firth! :) But, I just kept walking and went to Waterstones, the largest bookstore in London, instead. I made it back to Heathrow in time to go through all the security and get to my gate with 20 minutes to spare before boarding even started. It was the ideal way to spend a layover in London and I am glad I had the opportunity.

I feel like traveling changes my perceptions and broadens the horizons I allow myself to see. I gain confidence from adventures and I am incredibly thankful for the chance to see a small part of the wide world beyond my usual corner. I hope to share some more in-depth insights from specific parts of the trip in future posts. As it is, I feel like this is a bit overly long for a goals update day. (sorry)

By the way, Team USA placed seventh overall out of thirty-three countries competing at the Olympic Hopes Regatta this year. One of our female canoeists - hailing from the Seattle team - won two gold medals and a silver medal. These are the first gold and silver medals ever won by the USA at an Olympic Hopes Canoe and Kayak Regatta.
(Last year, two young women received a bronze in a C2 race.)
Points are earned for the teams by individual race medals, placement in the finals, and the number of athletes who make semi-finals. Each athlete competes in three or more races at these events with three distances - 1000m, 500m, and 200m - broken into age categories, gender categories, and then individual or small team boat categories - K1, K2, K4, C1, C2, C4. K means Kayak, C means Canoe, and the number means the number of people in the boat.
900 athletes competed from all parts of the globe.

Next month, I'll get back to regular goals.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Interview with Nick Wilford, Author of Black and White

Please welcome guest Nick Wilford!

Hi Tyrean! It’s great to be over for an interview at your lovely blog today. (It's great to have you here, Nick!)
Coffee/Tea/Writing beverage of choice?
I can’t do anything without a cup of tea! It’s a bit of an addiction, but hopefully not too bad of one. Ideally with a biscuit, but if I had too many of them I fear I wouldn’t be able to leave my writing chair.
What's your favorite part of writing? (brainstorming, world-building, plotting, rough draft, revision, finishing touches)
There’s things I like about all of these things, although plotting is probably my least favourite. I don’t start with much of a plan, my plotting usually comes in the form of trying to think my way out of an apparently intractable problem. I would have to say my favourite part is that magic moment when you realise what started out as a handful of ideas has somehow come to life, and not just in words on the page; it’s taken on a life of its own and “exists” in some indefinable sense.
What's your biggest challenge/insecurity as a writer? And, what do you do to overcome it?
Something that I feel I probably share with others – what I’m doing now, promoting my work and trying to get out there and share it with the world. I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t naturally assume that others will be interested in what I have to say. The way I deal with it is to think that I’m contributing something to the world – we could always use more books, and they won’t get noticed unless I give them a push. And getting creative with promotion and mixing it up makes it fun.
Do you have a quote or song that has inspired your writing?
I do like inspiring quotes when I read them, but I’m very bad at retaining them in my head! I’ve got a lot of songs that inspire me, but one that I tend to go back to is Radiohead’s “Lucky”. Radiohead are sometimes painted as a depressive band, but this is one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. Written from the perspective of a survivor of a plane crash, it’s about getting another chance at life. The music just soars and it always peps me up.
Why write speculative fiction? What draws you to the genre?
It’s just a genre that offers unlimited exploration – and for me, it’s mainly about what the future could hold. For me, it’s not even a genre so much as an umbrella term for lots of other ones – fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, even historical if you were going to look at alternate pasts. There’s so much scope and it’s perfect for the writer who thinks, “what if”? I’m also very inspired by what I’m reading, I’m easily led in that way if you like. Before starting blogging, I was reading a lot of thrillers so I tried writing books in that vein, but it wasn’t really my area of strength. Since meeting other writers, I’ve read so many great speculative novels, so on some unconscious level, my ideas started heading in that direction.
Thanks for these questions! I had a lot of fun answering them.

Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

#IWSG September 2017 Ch-ch-changes and Co-hosting

As I prepared to write this post, I had a chorus of the David Bowie song "Ch-ch-changes" pop into my head. My life is full of changes at the moment. My oldest just started her first year at a four-year college. My youngest just received her driver's license (she had a permit before, but now she can drive on her own), the school year just started and although I'm independently contracted to teach at a homeschool co-op, I'm not really homeschooling my own anymore since my youngest is taking classes at a local community college for the last two years of high school.
Plus, I changed projects again because I have an opportunity to do some travel research for a novel that I buried ten years ago. I stopped working on that novel because I felt insecure about my lack of knowledge - it's a historical fiction novel set in Bohemia in the late 800s and early 900s in what is today the Czech Republic, or Czechia. I can't travel back in time, but I have received an opportunity to do research as my youngest travels with Team USA to compete in the 2017 Olympic Hopes Regatta in Racice, Czech Republic. I'll spend two days in Prague and then follow the team out to Racice to cheer the team during the regatta. It's a super short trip, but I'm hoping to use the time wisely both as a researcher/writer and as a mom.

My insecurity/hope: I am concerned about changing mid-project again. Both projects that I started but didn't truly finish are important to me, but I feel a need to take the opportunity that is right in front of me. I hope that I've made the right choice. If nothing else, I'm going to have a lot of material drafted by the end of this year so next year may be all about revisions.

Co-hosting is a high honor and a privilege. 
Thank you Alex and IWSG family for always being the supporting, encouraging people you are!
Fellow co-hosts this month: Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

September question - Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??
For a genre surprise - A teacher made me write poetry in high school and I was surprised to discover I liked it. Then, I was even more surprised when my first publications came with poetry while my first short stories stacked up rejections. I sent the poetry out on a whim and a dare, not expecting anything while I sweated and worried over the stories. The lesson I learned:  it's best to send out the 99% writing instead of killing it with revisions to get to a 100% polished state. I know many editors might disagree with this statement, but I destroy my writing when I attempt perfection. In fact, I even introduce more grammar mistakes when I spend too much time revising. It's weird. Three drafts and one more check for grammar = time to send it to an outside editor or time to just send it to the world. 

IWSG Anthology Contest:

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st 2017

- This sounds like a fun anthology! Best wishes to all who enter!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Super Short Goals Update

August Goals
1. Finish Eclipse or get within 10% of finish line. - Nope.

2. Cheer daughters and their team at Nationals in Clermont, Florida. YES!

3. Marketing via hootsuite. Not much.

4. Scrapbook project. 40%

5. Encourage others. Um, maybe?

6. Practice Storytelling. Nope. 

7. Prep for school year. Not as much as needed.

8. Get outside, walk, bike, kayak. (Fewer carbs, again) - again, not as much as needed.

9. Continue Bible study and reading Cling to God. - most days.

10. House and yard - as much as I'm able to do so. Umm, I think the grass is brown, but the blackberries are ripe and plentiful. 

11. Try not to bawl my eyes out for the entire return trip after helping my oldest daughter move in at Montana State University. - Driving home today. Probably crying. It was a tough move-in for all of us.

September Goals
Repeat #1,3-10 with greater success. Make SMART goals within each category. 
Send encouraging notes, texts, and phone calls to my college daughter.
Cheer on my youngest at Olympic Hopes Regatta 2017 in Racice, Czechia. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Best. Night. Ever. Blog Tour

(BTW - this cover is huge because I love it! Just saying)

Best. Night. Ever
By Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito

Press Kit


Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.

Buy Links:


One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between.  She lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she writes middle grade and young adult novels. Visit her at

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the blog. Visit her online at

Alison Cherry is the author of the YA novels RedFor Real and Look Both Ways, and the middle grade novels Willows vs. Wolverines and The Classy Crooks Club. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. This whole “writing books” thing is just a cover for the international crime ring she runs out of her Brooklyn apartment. (Shhh, don’t tell.) Visit her online at

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on the small business blogs for Intuit and Go Payment and she is a featured columnist for She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her online at

Jen Malone is a former Hollywood publicist who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. Jen is also the author of the middle grade novels At Your Service and The Art of the Swap, coauthor of the You’re Invited series, and wrote the YA novels Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. You can visit her online at

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, the coauthor of You’re Invited and You’re Invited Too, and the author of the young adult novel Exit Stage Left. You can find her online at and on Twitter as @GaileCN. Visit her online at

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a cafĂ©, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit

The Rafflecopter giveaway is for a free hardback copy of Best. Night. Ever. (signed by Stephanie Faris). The HTML code below can be entered into the HTML code on your blog. Scroll down if you’d just like to link to it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There and Back Again

This particular hobbit has been on a long road trip, has returned, and plans to go on another short road trip next week.

This means that I am:

blogging rarely,

in between multiple projects,

and a bit behind on comments.

My sincere apologies to all party guests who feel that they have been turned from the door despite having party business.

And yes, I am trying to be funny and reference The Hobbit. Key word: trying.

Quick images to share where/what has been going on:

Our canoe and kayak team took 28 athletes to USACK Flat-Water Sprint Nationals in Clermont, Florida. We weathered humidity and storms (the races were cancelled for two afternoons of a four day regatta due to weather) and our team took second place in the nation (breaking our five year winning streak). My oldest came home with two medals (silver and bronze) and my youngest came home with one medal (a gold).

My youngest daughter (in the green dress, fourth girl from the left) was named as one of the 30 athletes who made it onto Team USA for the Olympic Hopes Regatta in the Czech Republic this September.

My husband and I volunteered to drive home 15 gently used (via a rental company) kayaks for our team (one is for our youngest daughter who has already grown out of her first kayak).  If you've never driven to Florida from the Washington peninsula and back, I recommend taking more time than we did and seeing some sights. We drove up to 14 hours a day with only 5-20 minute breaks every time we needed gas or a pit stop. Between my hubs, my daughters, and I we read at least eight books - some out loud and some shared.
My husband and I celebrated our 21st anniversary with a shared head cold and the last day of our drive - but I'm sure we'll make up for that soon.

Next week, we get to go again and come back. 
We are dropping off our oldest daughter at Montana State University.
Cue: Random weepy-ness in odd places like Target. (Really, it hit me there.)

Writing much? Well ... I'll report on that with the goals post in a few weeks.
Until then, I have a book shout-out coming out next week and I wanted to share this quote with you from one of my daughter's books for her first semester at MSU:

"Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."
from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Hope everyone is having a great August!