Bone_Tree_AC_4x6Since the beginning of January, I’ve felt like my life’s clock has done nothing but inexorably chip more and more time away between me and my looming publishing deadlines—which, of course, it has. Somehow though, this passage of time seems like more of a chaotic mess than an orderly procession.

Perhaps the feeling exists because I still have a little bit of an organizational hangover from the Christmas and New Year’s holiday schedules. Perhaps it’s there because I have several different people all begging me to become more active in whatever volunteer activity they think is important. Perhaps it’s there because I put way too much pressure on myself to make good on my promises, in general. (I’m very old-fashioned in that I view reneging on my promises as tantamount to lying and lying as synonymous with the ultimate dishonor toward myself and others. Therefore I don’t make promises lightly.) Whatever the reason or reasons, I feel squeezed in several different directions right now.

I finished 2014 strong, but I also know that I have lots to do before all of the writing and other creative projects that I’ve been doing for so long finally come to completion. I think you’ll see what I mean when you look at my updates.

Since the last full update in October, I have:

Writing and Publishing:

  • Participated in November’s NaNoWriMo. If you haven’t seen my blog post and my progress meter for the event, please read them.
  • Finished writing Thorn and Thistle novella rough draft. The manuscript is almost 40,000 words long, so I may end up releasing it as a short book later this year. We’ll see. Regardless, beta reading won’t happen until March or April.
  • Continued writing The Dryad’s Sacrifice novella rough draft. I have about 23,000 words written on this story with more to come. I want the rough draft finished by February 1 with beta reading to follow in mid-February. The cover art is, oddly enough, finished.
  • Finished writing “Paper Castles” short story. This story has already been through the ringer of multiple drafts, beta reads, edits, and formatting. February 27, 2015 is its official publication date. The cover art is the only thing holding up pre-orders right now.
  • Finished writing “Hero’s Moment” short story. This story has also seen multiple drafts, beta reads, and edits. It’s going through proof-reading and formatting right now and cover art creation is scheduled to happen next month. May 22, 2015 is its official publication date.
  • Finished writing “When the Medium Shatters” short story. This was originally a piece of flash fiction written for a writer’s workshop challenge. It has undergone multiple drafts, beta reads, edits, and formatting, but has no cover art yet. Official publication date is set for August 21, 2015.
  • Published “The Twirling Ballerina” short story in November. I have had really good response to this sad-but-sweet short story and I look forward to more people enjoying it.

Photography and Graphic Design:

  • Photographed a wedding and several properties for clients.
  • Created a LAUNDRY ROOM sign out of my “letter photography” for a loved one.
  • Uploaded several art photographs (“Union Pacific Yellow, No. 1”, “Scrub Brush Sunrise”, “Ash Bloom”, “Three Does”, and “Bone Tree”) to my photography website.
  • Redesigned the book cover art for The Dryad’s Sacrifice. The font looks so much better now!
  • Created cover art for “The Twirling Ballerina” short story. It’s probably not my best cover ever, but it fits the story very well.
  • Began creating cover art for “Paper Castles” short story. My first attempt at this cover was terrible, so I reworked it. It looks much better now, but I still need to tweak it a bit before it’s ready for its public debut.
  • Began creating cover art for Thorn and Thistle novella. This cover is still in its rough stages, but perfecting it will have to wait until some of my other projects are done.

Reading:

  • Continued reading the Bible. I finished Romans, II Corinthians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, Galatians, and Ephesians.
  • Continued reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Sadly I haven’t read much further on the book, but what I have read has been very informative.
  • Read Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth. Since I love the Divergent series, this was a fun read which added a little more depth to the world. Even so, I wouldn’t call it essential reading for Divergent fans.
  • Read The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe. This book, with its beautiful descriptions and vivid characters, was a wonderful journey into a place where songs are magic and the tick of time is almost lost between the notes. I enjoyed the read, although I will say that the juxtaposition of the flowing songs and prose against the coarse jokes and speech of the characters set my teeth on edge at times.
  • Read Wild Card novella by Lisa Shearin. Shearin’s snarky humor and dry wit is downright charming. I’ve enjoyed reading her Rain Benares series for many years and this book was a short, fun addition to the collection.
  • Began reading The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard. This book is a spectacular read for anyone interested in the real history behind the lore of Caribbean pirates. Often the truth about these buccaneers is even more fantastic than the legends! I plan to put much of this fascinating information to good use in my Tempest Maiden series.
  • Began reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. This has been a difficult book to read because it hits close to home in so many ways. No, I haven’t lost a spouse (thank God), but I have dealt with the living death of my best friend as well as the deaths of close family members and friends. Grief is a weird beast to tame. Every time you think you have it cornered and crushed, it slithers past your guard and strikes you anew.
  • Began reading My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke. This is an interesting book from one of the favorite actors of my childhood.
  • Began reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I’ve known about this book for a few years and finally purchased it. We’ll see how it reads.

Gaming:

  • Played Jumbline.
  • Played Dragon Gem.
  • Played Minecraft. Lately my husband and I have been building a fortress on our own private Minecraft Realms server. We also found a massive cave system with loads of goodies to mine and baddies to fight. Too fun!
  • Played Munin.
  • Played Peggle Deluxe and Peggle Nights.

Other:

  • Helped my church put together and run our Harvest Festival for the community on Halloween.
  • Attended several volunteer organization functions including a couple of Christmas parties.
  • Created a few Christmas tree ornaments for family and friends. I did not make all of the ornaments that I wanted to because I ran out of time.
  • Created and mailed Christmas cards to people. It’s always hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.
  • Made lots of updates to my three websites. I’ve upload new photos, creating new book webpages, updating existing content, updated widgets, and posted new blog articles all in hope that my readers get the most out of my websites.
  • Saw The Penguins of Madascar, Interstellar, Mockingjay, Part 1, and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Since we live in a rural area of Texas, making it to the movie theater requires a 180 mile round trip. Consequently it’s a big deal for me to see this many movies in a two-month timespan. Hurray for my husband and me!

My goals for the next few weeks are to:

  • Finish writing The Dryad’s Sacrifice rough draft by February 1, 2015 and finish beta-reading and pre-editing tweaks by March 1, 2015.
  • Finish pre-editing tweaks on Skinshifter by March 1, 2015.
  • Finish the cover art for “Paper Castles” and publish the short story on February 27, 2015.
  • Create “Hero’s Moment” cover art by March 1, 2015.
  • Finish reading the book of Revelation in the Bible.
  • Continued reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
  • Finish reading The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard.
  • Finish reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis.
  • Finish reading My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke.
  • Finish reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Until next time, 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 writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative 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!