Mayonnaise-AC4x6November has been a weird and crazy month. Despite the fact that I tried to keep things simple, life has inevitably slipped in a few complications. First my granddaddy (Mom’s Dad) was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 80. For the sake of his privacy, I’ll skip most of the details about the disease; however, I can say that the particular form of cancer is treatable.

I have not had the chance to visit Granddaddy in person; however, I did talk to him on the phone during his first week of treatment. He sounded strong and in good spirits, so that is a great encouragement. In other news, my grandma (Dad’s Mom) continues to heal after falling and breaking her right arm, so life in our family continues to limp along.

I did have a close encounter of the arachnid kind when I discovered a black widow spider nesting in the hinge area of my car’s driver side door. After screaming like a three-year-old, I proceeded to shoot half of a gallon of poison into the affected area and watched with satisfaction as the potentially-lethal passenger died a curly-legged death. Matt and I have double-checked and treated both of our cars and the rest of the garage since that little revelation.

Aside from those three events, my life has mainly revolved around work and volunteer activities with a little bit of fun thrown in for good measure.

Since the last update, I have:

Painted children’s faces at our church’s Fall Festival event on Halloween night. I think the adults had as much fun as the kids!

Celebrated my 31st birthday with some of my family and friends in Lubbock, Texas. Mom was sick for most of the weekend with a sinus infection, so we didn’t do too much. However, I did get a mouthwatering steak for my birthday dinner followed by delectable banana pudding desert cupcakes and a round of reading hilarious birthday cards. Thank you, family!

Reorganized our home office. Ugh, what a mess. It’s crazy how much clutter can accumulate in a year! I still need to cull and reorganize all of the books in our house, but that is a project best left alone until after Christmas.

Finished a photography shoot of a beautiful fleabitten gray roping horse (see the photo at the beginning of today’s article). Thank you to Doug Miller for helping me capture the majesty of this high-spirited creature.

Updated several pages on the website including more blogs, widgets, and unique content.

Changed internet service providers. So far the new company has proven much more reliable than the old company, which means that my griping about the slowness of our internet speeds should plummet to a minimum. Thank you all for sticking with me through this frustrating time!

Tried to post my first video blog on As many of you know, it did not succeed even with my more stable internet connection. Even with the limitation on video uploads, I am actually quite happy because I can still provide great written and image content to all of you far more easily than I could before the ISP change.

Watched Thor: The Dark World in movie theaters. This 170-mile round trip movie date was worth the effort. I really enjoyed the story. Spoiler alert: the dark elves with spaceships and guns were awesome! Watching Thor’s character grow up a little more was interesting to see and I loved watching Jane and her fellow scientists finally get the chance to be heroes in their own right. My favorite moment of the whole movie was watching Chris Evans doing an impression of Loki impersonating Captain America. Hilarious!

Reread all of The Hunger Games Trilogy books (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay). I love this series. While the book’s characters can occasionally feel a bit flat to me, the world that they live in is intricately built and quite scary. In some ways, the country of Panem reminds me a bit of Imperialist Rome mixed with Communist Russia. An very creepy combination especially since it’s established on what was formerly American soil.

Read some of the short stories in the Ruins Metropolis anthology. I had, of course, read most of the book’s incredible stories, but somehow had missed a few on my first run through.

Read The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier. This particular guide has proven quite useful in helping me better understand how the publishing industry works. Hopefully my new knowledge about publishing helps me to better market my writing so that more people can discover my work.

Researched several topics to help add depth and accuracy to my fiction writing. During the past few weeks, I studied avalanches, polar bears, Inuit clan traditions, Olmec civilization, and jaguars.

Finished implementing my beta readers’ suggestions of “Of Kelpie Lullabies” and sent off the finished manuscript to a potential publisher. I expect to hear back from the publisher by the end of November. Hopefully the response is an acceptance rather than a rejection letter. We’ll see.

Wrote and edited the rough draft of the “Winter’s Charge” short story. I have sent it off to beta readers last week and look forward to their critiques.

Rewrote the “What Tendrils Echo” short story. After adding and extending several scenes, I think the story flows much better now. I finished the last of my personal edits yesterday, so I will send it to beta readers as soon as they finish their corrections on “Winter’s Charge”.

Not participated in the2013 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While I made the decision to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I have had the wonderful honor of helping a few fellow writers with their NaNo story plots. Good luck to those still pushing toward the 50,000 word mark. I’m still cheering for you!

My goals for the next four weeks are to:

Continue to pull older photos off of the photography website as I add new photography.

Finish the last personal edits of Musings and send it to my editor for final critique. This project hit a snag when my awesome beta readers found a serious problem with my short story draft of “Elza and Eliza”. This week I will rewrite and expand several scenes so that the story feels more complete. Until I finalize “Elza and Eliza”, Musings revisions will have to be put on hold.

Continue to write the rough draft of Dreamdrifter. With the other projects taking up so much time, Dreamdrifter is progressing more slowly than I had hoped. However, I am happy to be finished with the rewritten drafts of chapters 17 and 18. I also am happy to report that I finally figured out a way to get my characters out of the dungeon that they have been trapped in for the last few days.

I have sent out newsletters before, but I have not been particularly happy with the services I have previously used. I am learning to use a new service so that I can send out a special Christmas newsletter to all of my supporters and friends in December. We’ll see how it goes.

Until our next meeting, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

🙂 Alycia

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears with love, fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!