Monday, February 1, 2016

Goodbye, January. Hello, February.


So apparently January is over and February is here. (Um, what?)

Usually I don’t do monthly wrap-up posts. I don’t have a reason, really. I get distracted by other post subjects to write? I’m too lazy to actually remember what happened during the month? *shrugs* But I know it’s a pretty big trend right now, and I actually love reading other people’s monthly summaries, getting a glimpse into all my buddies’ lives and goings-on. So I thought, why not? I seriously doubt this’ll be a habit. But today I just felt like writing a wrap-up post, and usually this blog consists of a jumble of posts I feel like typing at the time. (I’m organized like that.) So here we are. A January wrap-up.

January started out with the promise of new adventures, a fresh slate to scribble a whole new year of life on. After all, what’s more exciting than that single date: January 1st. Full of hopeful promises.

Usually I start out the year with a written list of goals to work toward in the coming 12 months. But this year, for the first time in many, I didn’t make a list. Instead I simply decided to FOCUS. To focus on my God. To look to Jesus to guide me instead of a piece of paper and pencil markings.

January is both an exciting and sad time. After all the thrills of Christmas and New Year’s, regular life begins to take over. A few days into January my dad went back to work after his Christmas break. I also returned to my job at the little bookshop. Slowly, the reprieve the Christmas season provides faded into normal life. But I didn’t mind so much. I was looking forward to ending my writing break I took for December and I adore my job at the bookshop.

2016 had begun.

Life

The first week of January started off a little slow as we settled back into the regular routine. It was not until the second week would I say things really started to pick up and work and life turned into a whirlwind.

The highlight of the month was the third week in which I spent the entire week out of town with my best friend (as mentioned in the last post). Lots of pizza and fun was had! (Obviously pizza gets its own mention.) We spent much of the time cataloguing almost all her 400+ books on GoodReads. (I insisted a while back she get a GoodReads account and, like a good friend, helped her out adding all her books there. I’m also a geek and have way, way too much fun cataloguing books on the site.)

Just a small peek of the many, many stacks of books we had scattered all over her room.

We also got a day of snow, which was THRILLING. Snow is a rarity in my neck of the woods.

(I know, all you northerners are laughing at my excitement over a single day of a little snow.)

Once I returned, I had a bit of a hard time adjusting back to regular life. But, as they say, life goes on. And this week has kept me busy with work and catching up on all the many, many things that got behind during my time away. I also got to see my other best friend one evening and had a wonderful time chatting with her over pizza. (I have an obsession, okay?)

Writing

January was going to be the big writing comeback after a good break in December. But. . .life happened and, sadly, barely a thing writerly happened.

The plan was to do a speedy read-through of Burning Thorns and then dive right into deep editing. Instead I spent almost the whole month sloooowly reading the book and only just finished a couple days ago. Pathetic. I did take notes while reading though, so at least that part’s done and I can start the actual editing process. Still, I had meant to be much farther along than this by now. But with a busy month and being gone an entire week of it, I just haven’t found the time.

Motivation is also being slippery and hiding from me. Whenever I go a while without writing, it takes me a bit to get back into the habit. Since I took a month-long break, I can’t seem to settle into things again. Life has just been too distracting. My motivation is fragile and persnickety and insists it have the perfect circumstances to cooperate. Psh. It’s so high maintenance. Nothing is going to get done until I just sit down and DO it. Once I start, my motivation begins to show its face. I just gotta do it.

So, with that said, I apologize to all my beta-readers. I know I said I’d start sending out chapters by January, but obviously that didn’t happen. This month I’m going to start it though! Burning Thorns is going to get edited if it kills me! (Which it may, but that’s just part of being a writer. *shrugs*) BUT I don’t want to rush it. I want to edit well, which may mean slow. I have no other writing projects to work toward until NaNoWriMo, so I’ve got almost the whole year to work on this thing. I don’t want to be too hard on myself to the point I become overworked or rush to “get it done” and not do a good job (I’m bad about doing that). I’m giving BT the time it deserves, so chapters may be slow in coming. They will come though! Hopefully soon.

Blogging

  • I opened up my 2016 blogging year with the word I chose to live the year by.
  • Sky and Cait's first Beautiful People linkup for 2016 had us talking about our writerly goals.
  • Dear You was a letter to YOU. The beautiful you.
  • January’s posts was wrapped up with a discussion on that yearning in your heart for something better. After all, we’re merely passing through.

I also gained a few more followers this month. I’m so grateful to every single one of you. I mean, you put up with all my silly ramblings and nonsense. That is deserving of cookies! *passes cookies around*

Reading

I read a total of. . .3 books this month. I know. Some of you awesome people knock out like 20 books a month. Can I go back to the excuse that life was busy? But I was also reading through my own book and a couple things from other people. So I guess I read 3 published books and a couple of other little things.

Illusionarium
By Heather Dixon

Whoa. This book. I adored Heather Dixon’s Entwined, so when I heard she was making a steampunk book (steampunk, people!!!) and my brain twin, Deborah, fangirled muchly over it I knew I HAD to get myself this thing. It was not a disappointment!

This book was full of steampunk goodness, some deliciously snarky characters, and parallel universes which is ALWAYS a yes to me. It had practically everything I loved! It also had a surprising lack of romance, which is such a rarity in YA these days. And, though it was extremely creepy at times, the material stayed clean. Again, a rarity. It was definitely refreshing to read a secular YA book without it being bogged down by immoral material littering the pages.

My only complaint was the speedy pacing. I love a good, action-y book, but this one almost had too much. I would have liked some slowing down and deeper internal monologue. And maybe an explanation over a thing or two. But still, it was a fascinating read and unlike anything I’ve ever read. The perfect book to start 2016 out with! (And can we talk about that cover? *drools*)

4 out of 5 stars

The Gammage Cup
By Carol Kendall

I feel like my childhood was empty!!! I had never even heard of this book until Deborah so sweetly passed it my way. (She’s my book fairy, half of the awesome stuff I read is because of her.) What a wasted childhood! This book was PRECIOUS. It’s about the Minnipins, a group of tiny people who are a little too set on tradition and perfection.

The characters are completely and utterly loveable. Each very different, but fascinating in their own way. The writing has this charming, witty style that just sucks you right into the Minnipins little world. I could have stayed there forever.

If you’ve never read this book, go do so this instant. It’s just perfect.

5 out of 5 stars

We Were Liars
E. Lockhart

Eh. . .this one. It was a completely fascinating read, unlike anything I’ve read before. But, sadly, it was littered in language. Like, serious language that should not be allowed in a teen book in my opinion.

The writing style was lyrical and beautiful. So different from any other book I’ve read. I really loved it. And the story itself totally entranced me. The ending was just. . .wow. It was a shocker and I’m still trying to recover from it. But, as I said, the language was atrocious. There were a couple of other things that bothered me as well, but the main thing was the language.

As interesting as the story was, I kind of wish I hadn’t read this one. Definitely not something I can recommend to anyone due to the material.

4 out of 5 stars
(it might have gotten a 5 out of me if it had been clean)

In conclusion. . .

January had a whole lot of thrilling days, with a few meh ones sprinkled in. But, overall, I’d say it was a pretty great first month to start 2016 in.

But now I’m looking to February which I’m dubbing “the month I actually start editing”. Regardless if my motivation has fled (but if someone finds it, could you send it my way?), I SHALL edit! And I think (think) I’ll have more time. My work schedule has shifted where I’ll be working more on the weekends which means I’ll have weekdays to focus on my writing life. I usually don’t write much during the weekends anyway, so I think this’ll work out great. (Sh. I’m naturally an optimistic person. Let me live in my delusions that everything will fall into place.)

February, here I come!

What about you, lovely reader? How was your January? Any exciting February plans? (If it really is February. I’m pretty sure we weren’t quite done with January yet.) And, important question here, what was your favorite book read of the month?

26 comments:

  1. Well, look at that. February sneaked up on me. >.> (I still think it's January undercover because there's NO WAY the first month of 2016 is over.)

    I still am so jealous of your job! Working in a bookstore is about the best thing EVER! I discovered two local used bookstores this month, and oh. my. goodness. I really went crazy. XD I just can't resist all da beautiful books <333 I'm thinking of doing a photo shoot with my books sometime on my blog because, ya know. THEY ARE SO PWETTY.

    SNOWWWWW!!! Eeep, seeing that blanket of white makes me so happy! ^_^ It never snows where I live so I shall have to enjoy it solely through your pictures.

    Sadly, January was a very dry month for reading and writing. I hardly got anything done and still haven't finished my "main read" for January. Life got in the way again (seriously, life, where are your manners?), but I'm confident I will do better this month!

    ALSO, I'm going to check Illusionarium out at my library BECAUSE THEY HAVE IT! I shall have to relay all my fangirling to you when I finish. :)

    Overall, I would call my month semi-successful because I started my blog. So at least I got something done. XD

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    1. Undercover. Bwahaha. That's perfect. XD It's so true. It just CAN'T be February already!

      It really is pretty great. Such a blessing to me right now!
      Hahaha! You sound just like me. When I discover a new secondhand bookstore I buy like...half the store. It's bad. Oh, oh, oh! You should totally do a book photo shoot! I loooove pics of books. That'd be so fun!

      Snow is so exciting! Awww, you never get snow either? Such a bummer. Well, that's the one and only time I'll see snow again for probably a long time. No snow for our part of the world either. :(

      Well, you saw how much (or should I say how little) I got written/read in January. I guess it just wasn't the month for writing. But yes, we've got a whole new month to get things done! *fistpump*

      AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! THAT'S WONDERFUL! I think you'll LOVE it! :D

      Starting a blog is a HUGE accomplishment. And just... *FLAILS* My Mary has a bloooog! It's so wonderful!!!

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  2. Ack that's the same problem for me with "We Were Liars." I absolutely LOVED it (one of my favorite books) but at the same time I totally DIDN'T love it because of all the language. *sighs* I'm just annoyed that language has to be a thing. -.-

    I'm so excited for Burning Thorns! Really excited. So so so excited. o.o

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    1. Yes! So I am not alone. Because, my word, dat book. o.o It was awesome. But the language! Ugh. I mean, seriously. Why does so much language have to be in every other book? Is it like a rule or something? Meh. I'll start on a huge rant if I keep going, so I'll just stop there. XD (BUT THE ENDING OF WE WERE LIARS. How will we ever recover??? D:)

      Ahhh, girl! *flails around in happy feels* I'm so glad!! It'll come your way soon. I promise!

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  3. EEEP MY LAURI IS DOING A WRAPUP POST. MY LAURI IS DOING A WRAPUP POST! *flails in excitement* ...Ahem. Sorry. That just happened to be my reaction... Apparently this excites me? :D BUT ALL THE LAURI THINGS!!!

    So basically I love this post. <3 But a few specific things...

    THOSE BOOKS. Cataloging books on Goodreads with your friends sounds like THE. BEST. THING. EVER! :O So much fun!

    And hey, I never get snow, so I totally understand the thrill. ;) That's so cool you got some! (We didn't, but... eh, 'tis normal. :P)

    You read through Burning Thorns!!! :D *huggles it* I have enormous confidence in your ability to edit this thing. You're gonna do it! And considering how busy you were, it's SUPER impressive you got the whole thing read and noted!

    *happily takes a cookie* (But seriously though, every single post of yours is always so amazing and fun and just all-round awesome Lauriness that there is no "silly", "ramblings", or "put up with" involved!! O_O *huggles your blog*)

    AAAAH ILLUSIONARIUM AND THE GAMMAGE CUP! :D I love them both so much and I'm SO glad you enjoyed them! ^_^ I'm happy to be your book fairy any time, darling. ;) (But seriously, Lockwood. <3 And The Gammage Cup is perfect, yes. <3)

    Best of luck on your editing plans!!! YOU HAVE GOT THIS!!! ^_^ (And I can't wait to read Burning Thorns... >:D *rubs hands gleefully together*)

    AWESOME POST!

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    1. Lolzy! I'm so glad you liked my wrap-up post. ^_^ It was a lot of fun!

      It was so much fun! Her family was laughing at us while we did it. They thought it so amusing how much fun we were having cataloging books. XD We even ate supper in her room and sped through the meal so we would get back to cataloging quickly. So...I guess we were pretty amusing to people who don't understand. It was great!

      It was such a wonderful surprise! I wish you had gotten some. :( I feel like everybody deserves at least one snow day each winter. *nods, nods*

      D'awww! You are SO encouraging! THANK YOU. You always give me motivation. <3

      See? Proof again to your encouragement. Thank you so much! <3

      YESSSH. BOTH SUCH WONDERFUL BOOKS. Thank you for your suggestions. You provide me with the bestest books!

      Thank you!!! And I can't wait to share it with you! ^_^

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  4. I still can't believe it's February, to be honest - it feels like January just started.

    STEAMPUNK, YOU SAY???
    I must check out that book immediately!
    (and The Gammage Cup looks pretty good too; I may have to try that one.)

    My favorite January read would have to be The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan, which I started a week or so ago. It's quite good, probably one of my favorites in the Wheel of Time series yet. I'm sad (or glad. actually, I think it's a bit of both) to say that I added a TON of books to my TBR list this month, namely "The Anatomical Shape of the Heart" "Made You Up" "The Kill Artist" and "Let's Discuss Diabetes With Owls".

    - Ellie
    http://ontheothersideofrealitynew.blogspot.com

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    1. I know, right? I feel the same way. It can't be February already. How did this even happen??

      YESH. STEAMPUNK AWESOMENESS. You really, really should. I think you'd absolutely love it!
      The Gammage Cup was adorable and one of those books I feel like everyone should read. It was just great!

      You know what's sad? I've never read the Wheel of Time books. Isn't that horrible? I really need to do that sometime!
      I feel like my TBR grows every day. #bookwormproblems Those all seem like really cool books. Hope you have a lot of good reads this month! ^_^

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  5. You want snow? In my corner of the world we're supposed to be getting a blizzard today. Four to eight inches predicted, with winds up to forty miles an hour. You're welcome to it.
    "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
    Winter will have another flight;
    But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
    Winter is gone and will not come again."
    If the weather predictions hold true, there's a fair chance we won't have another winter :P.
    I'm not used to it being February yet, not in the least. School started, 15 credits felt more like 17 when it hit me over the head, and these last three or four weeks (however long I've been in school, I've lost track already) I've written a grand total of 5,000 words. Which were all written in one day, a Monday I took off of everything because my characters needed it and I did too. From here on, though, it looks like I'll be writing a paper every week for one class or another.
    With all of that, I have read very little this month, unless you count textbooks and two of Shakespeare's comedies for a class of that name.
    I was very disappointed not to get anything about Burning Thorns. I understand the busyness getting in the way of it all, though.

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    1. A blizzard? My goodness! I can't even imagine. I hope you guys stay safe!
      Lol. I've never heard of that before. Very interesting! XD

      I'm not either. I can't wrap my mind around it! Wow, it sounds like your plate has been full for sure. I hope you find some breathing room! I know it's hard never having any writing time.

      Yeah, I'm so sorry I wasn't able to start editing and send it to everyone. But I WILL get to it soon. I promise!

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  6. Deborah is where I get a lot of my "next up to read" books, as well. She has fabulous taste!

    I don't know why, I really enjoy these "end of the month" posts and seeing what everyone else is reading/writing/doing.

    January was a whirlwind of excitement over the release of Yorien's Hand and trying to get over the lingering coughing/colds that plagued our home.

    We are supposed to get hit with a massive snowstorm today, and I'm antsy because it hasn't even started snowing yet. Sigh. I grew up in the North, spent nine years in the South, and am back North now... so I totally understand the excitement of a single day of snow (and I kind of miss how life just sort of stops for snow... I LOVE having it more often this winter, and I enjoy not being cooped up by it, but there is a sweet charm to the way a single snowflake can bring life to a screeching halt as everyone makes a mad dash for milk, eggs, and bread and then you spend the day huddled inside and venturing out to perhaps build a snowman or go sledding in your laundry basket with plastic bags rubberbanded around your shoes). All that to say, snow is awesome on both sides of the Mason-Dixon - just in different ways. :)

    May the Lord bless your editing endeavors. I'm diving into editing this month, myself... so we can commiserate together over plot holes and giggle gleefully about finding typos and eradicating them!

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    1. She is the best at book recommendations! Some of my top favorite books have been ones from her.

      I do, too! Maybe I should do them more. It's just fun seeing what everyone's been up to.

      Aaahhh, release of Yorien's Hand! So exciting!! I have your first two books on my kindle waiting to be read. I can't wait!
      Oh no! Having colds, especially through the whole family, is so hard. I hope you've all gotten well and stay that way. *sends blankets and soup* And cookies. Because cookies make everything better. *nods*

      Whoa! Sophia said she's due to have a blizzard herself. I honestly can't even imagine. Hope you all stay safe!
      Yes, I love that feeling! Where I live, if we get like two snowflakes the whole town shuts down. We're so silly. XD I know northerners would be so amused with us. But I love it! Love the way you described it. It is a special time.

      Thank you so much! You're editing, too? Exciting! Yes, we shall jump into the endeavor together. (Of course you have way more experience than I.) Hope it goes amazingly for you!

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  7. I was just looking at the summaries of all your books they all sound fascinating! You are a very talented writer!
    :0)

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    1. That means so much to me. Thank you!! ^_^

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  8. THE GAMMAGE CUP. OH MY WORD. THAT IS MY CHILDHOOD. THAT BOOK. AAAIIIISSSSHHH.

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    1. IT IS SO GOOD. I cannot believe I went my entire childhood without it. GAH. I LOVE SO MUCH!!!

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  9. Lovely post, Lauri! I love reading catch-up summaries, especially since I'm so behind... heheheh. :P

    Oh my. All the beautiful books! I so wanna read Illusionarium!! And am very pleased you enjoyed it--it means I will! Haha, we had about the same amount of snow here. Glad you enjoyed it! Let them Northerners laugh xD

    Hope you have a lovely week, dearie!!!

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    1. Thank you! I really enjoy them, too, which is why I decided to try one. They're quite fun!

      Illusionarium was an epic book!!! You should absolutely give it a try! :D It's so unique and fun.

      We southerners just appreciate the snow more, right? ;D

      You too! <333

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  10. My January has been crazy too! Editing has been really slow going, but only 13 more pages to go for me! I can make it. XD January is always a strange month as I'm orienting myself for the new year. Happy editing and happy February!

    http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2016/01/monthly-summary-january-2016.html

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    1. It seems January was just a busy month for everyone. I guess because we all took a break for Christmas and now trying to get back into normal life.

      Aaaahhhh!!! You're so close! Congratulations! You've got this. *fistpump*

      Happy February! ^_^

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  11. WOW, I'm late on commenting on this post. Oops :). Anyways ...

    You and your friend cataloged ALL her 400 books on Goodreads?! *gapes* How long did that take you?

    Excitement over snow is nothing to be laughed at; I live where we get lots of snow every winter, and I STILL get super excited when it snows :D. We had a blizzard a few days ago, and I was excited to death while watching ALL the snow swirl around, it was quite fun!

    I have heard SO many good things about Illusionarium, and I'm thinking that I just might read it, it sounds pretty good!

    Uh ... did you just ask me what was my favorite read of this month? DON"T ask that Christine, just ... don't. I read to many good books this month to pick just one favorite :D. However, I will say that I read Five Enchanted Roses this month and LOVED it. LOVED it. That book is so good!

    (and by the way ... if I spot your motivation, I will give a strict talking to and then send it right back to you)

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    1. I love comments anywhere, anytime!

      Well, we only got to 300-something. Didn't quite get to finish while I was there. But yeah. We're silly. XD And we worked on it here and there throughout the week so I don't really know how long total it took. Probably a good many hours. Lol.

      That is so great you love snow even when you get it a lot. It is so pretty!

      Illusionarium was the most unique book I've ever read! You oughta give it a try. It was amazing!!

      *cackles* I could talk books forever, so I shall not take back my question. XDD Oh, oh! Five Enchanted Roses, yessss! Isn't it so great? I LOOOOVED that one! So, so good. I can't wait until the next collection comes out.

      Oh good, thank you. It's still being quite slippery. >.>

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  12. My Christine wrote a monthly summary post? *glomples* Once you write one, there's no going back... >:D It's fun, isn't it?

    My, what an exciting month you've had! The times with friends sound like an absolute blast, and hooray for a sprinkling of snow!

    Girl, don't beat yourself up over Burning Thorns plans taking longer than anticipated. With all that January held for you, it's amazing you even managed to read through the entire thing AND take notes on it! Armed with that and a wee bit of determination (the muse WILL show up--I too feel rather out of it when I take a long writing break...takes me a while to hit my stride again, but it always happens eventually), you'll do wonderfully with the editing. *hugs* Giving BT the time it needs is a really great (not to mention wise) choice. I'm sure it will show!

    ASLKDFJASLDJ
    YOU READ ILLUSIONARIUM
    WE HAD THE SAME FIRST 2016 READ
    STILL CAN'T GET OVER THAT
    True, there was a wee bit that I felt could've been explained more clearly, like the alternate universe concept, but I still loveth that book so much. (And weren't the costumes great? I was itching to pull out my sketchbook every time another outfit was described.)

    I haven't read the other two, but based on the enthusiasm in the comments over The Gammage Cup, I'm thinking it may be something I'd enjoy. Not too sure about We Were Liars, though. You know how I feel about cussing in books. :P

    On a side note, I had to laugh at your "let me live in my delusions" line. XD You cheery, adorable person. (I agree with you, though! ^.^)

    February... how are we in February ALREADY? Somebody needs to give Time a serious talking-to. *hint hint*

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    1. It was so much fun, yes! I don't know if I'll do it every month, but maybe an occasional thing here and there. *nods, nods*

      I had a great month! I'm so glad I was able to spend time with my friend, we really needed it. And a day of SNOW! :D Which is funny to say to a Canadian. Hehehe. XD

      You are so encouraging! Thank you! I think I needed that reminder. I really wasn't slacking in January, I was just genuinely too busy. I need to stop being so hard on myself. There's not always enough time in a day to do EVERYTHING. I don't think I accept that fact well. Heh. Thanks for being so understanding and encouraging. *huggles*

      I CAN'T GET OVER IT EITHER. It is just the BEST! Out of all the books in the world, and that was our first 2016 one. Too great! XD
      Oh man, the costumes. Yesssh. I can imagine they would be a blast to sketch!

      Oh, oh! TRACEY. You NEED to read The Gammage Cup. It's the kind of book I just KNOW you'd love. It was precious and fun and had the most adorable characters. YOU NEED TO READ IT.
      But We Were Liars...yeeeah. I wouldn't read it if I were you. Which is a shame, it was so compelling. But that language. Gracious. Just no.

      *grins* I do love to live in my happy, unrealistic imaginings.

      Not only are we in February, we're a WEEK INTO February. Like like...wut? Time definitely needs a scolding. >.>

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  13. How can we read all the stories you have written? They sound sooo good! :0)

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    1. Oh my goodness, that is just the sweetest! Well, the problem is, most of my stories are messy first drafts and aren't up for reading. But I am so honored you like the sound of them. That really encourages me to try to pursue publishing so people CAN read them. Thank you!

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