WeatheredHyperbolasACS4x6These past few weeks have, unfortunately, not gone well. While I have managed to accomplish many related-work projects, I have not been in the best of moods. Part of that is that my poor husband has had a horrible toothache since January 10th and won’t be able to see our dentist until tomorrow afternoon (hence why I’m posting the blog early today). Matt has been in special agony for most of the weekend and the only thing I’ve been able to do to ease his discomfort has been to cook him soft foods.

As with almost everything else, our trip to the dentist means a 170 mile round trip from Pecos to Odessa. It also means that we must take an entire weekday as a sick day just to go to a simple appointment. I get so tired of not being able to find all of the food, clothing, and supplies I need locally. I also get frustrated by the high prices and lack of variety when it comes to home, appliance, and car repairs.

Lately these aggravations of living in a small town have irked me more than usual. I think grief added onto the stress of trying to achieve my writing dreams is responsible for my being far more irritable than usual. Ever since the two-year anniversary of Bekah’s aneurysm, I’ve been far less joyful than normal. Last week was especially difficult. Consequently, I’ve decided to get some counseling so that I can talk out my feelings a bit more and hopefully resolve a few things. As far as other things are concerned, here are the main projects I’ve finished.

Since the last update, I have:

Consolidated my photography business and writing business under a new name: Purple Thorn Press and Photography. Over the next few months, I will build Purple Thorn Press into the true business that I want it to be, starting with its website. I will continue to use as my main personal website, while will act more as an official business website devoted to my writing products.

Continued my self-publishing research using The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book and similar resources. This month’s lessons centered on ISBNs, Library of Congress catalogue numbers, and book trailers.

Watched a great seminar by Andrew Stanton of Pixar about storytelling for my story craft research. Thank you, Hugh Howey, for sharing it!

Finished personal edits on my short story “City of Twilight” and implementing beta readers’ critiques of the piece.

Finished writing my short story “The Soul Wrangler” and sent it to beta readers for their critiques.

Created my first newsletter in six months using new software. I’m so happy it worked!

Finally finished culling and reorganizing my photography website.

Created, labeled, and mailed over 60 Christmas photo cards to friends, family, and clients. These also arrived on time, which is a much better situation than last year.

Oversaw the repair of our home’s wayward fence. It looks almost new now!

Enjoyed two Christmas celebrations with family and friends. Thank you so much, everyone, for the phenomenal memories and gifts!

Watched the History Channel’s The Men Who Built America series. This is a must see series for any entrepreneur.

Watched Disney’s and Pixar’s Frozen with family at the theater. I can only describe the movie as all of the best aspects of Disney classic fairy tales woven into Pixar’s ingenious storytelling. The story is rife with dynamic characters, plot twists, magic, tension, laughs, and, yes, even singing. This is a must-see for all ages.

Read When Invisible Children Sing by Dr. Chi Huang. I found this book to be a heart-rending tale about homeless children in Bolivia. The children are portrayed as neither good nor bad, but simply real. If you ever want to truly understand how the fight for mere survival can psychologically and socially degrade human beings, this book is a graphic example. If you ever want to see how hope can bloom in the darkest of circumstances, this book is also a deep-touching example.

Read How to Train Your Dragon. Oddly enough, I like the movie better than the book. The movie’s plot is stronger and the characters feel far richer to me. Plus I’m not a huge fan of bathroom humor and the book has a ton of that. While I am definitely the wrong target audience for this book, little boys should love it!

Read the memoir We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee. I loved the movie and wanted to read the original book. Because I have worked in a zoo and in a pet store before, I was familiar with many of the situations described in the book. I found myself giggling (and in some cases grimacing) with the narrator as events unfolded.

Began reading Lisa Shearin’s The Grendel Affair: A SPI Files Novel. The book’s first four chapters are posted free on her website at I loved Lisa’s Raine Benaires series and I expect this new book will be just as good.

My goals for the next four weeks are to:

Add new content to I want to complete copy for the Home page at least.

I am putting Dreamdrifter writing on hold until after I finish Musings. Once that project is finished, I will continue work on Chapter 19.

Finish organizing all of the book contents for Musings (including its front and back matter) and send the book to my editor for final critique.

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!