10 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I was actually going to write a second post, for launch on November 1, earlier today. Then my dad wanted to go to lunch, then I took a nap because I hadn’t slept well the night before, and then I’d forgotten what I wanted to write about.


So, um, well, book genres. The story that is foremost in my mind right now is probably going to be steampunk. So I’m going to be loading my reading up on steampunk kids’ books for the foreseeable.

I’ve also recently discovered that urban fantasy isn’t what I though it is. I guess it’s to do with my first introduction to the genre. Thomas’s friends were playing Shadowrun, which I was told was urban fantasy and was more or less described to me as the fae in a dark, magical, city setting.

And for reasons I can’t adequately explain, I’ve almost always found books with fairies in them to be really a drag. I was upset by the appearances of the fae in A Wizard Abroad, by Diane Duane (Germane Amazon Link!). I’d really enjoyed the series up until then, and was worried that it’d become a fairy-dominant story.

It doesn’t. I won’t spoil you with the details, but the Good Folk only appear in that book, and the way the book ends, I don’t think they’ll be coming back.

Anyway, thanks to a video one of my newest favorite YouTube creators, Red from Overly Sarcastic Productions (Blue is another of my newest favorite YouTube creators), I found out that a lot of my favorite series, including the entirety of the Riordanverse, is technically urban fantasy, and not a fairy in sight.

Do I have an urban fantasy story in mind? Maybe in the loosest sense of the term, but because I’m so white if I stood against a blank wall, I’d disappear, I moved my setting from the early industrial age to a fantasy world with early industrial age technology. If I can get the cutlery together to write it.

11 Days to NaNoWriMo

Today I’m feeling like I need to do more with my life. Like, I need to actually write that novel or become a translator or invent cold fusion in a coffee cup on my kitchen counter.


I went on antidepressants a while ago to try to get out of my rut. I remembered how even moods were and how that translated into more confidence. And it’s definitely working that way this time, too.

I’m basically a competitive person. My mom always thought that I wasn’t competitive, but mostly it was that I never felt that I *could* compete. There were a lot of careers that I was interested in, but I was afraid that I would never be able to, you know, well, compete.

And, well, I looked up the name of an old friend and they are guesting on podcasts and having book reviews published in real publications and, as my mom used to say, my nose is so far out of joint I can smell my earlobe.

Will this be inspiration enough to get me off my butt and win NaNoWriMo this year?

Well, that’s why I’m doing these countdown posts. If I can get in the habit of writing now, it’ll carry through for the rest of November. And maybe even farther.

Gratuitous Amazon Link Time! I just finished 75% of Lisi Harrison’s Monster High series, so it’s time for the next Monster High series, this one, written by Gitty Daneshvari, is more like the canonical Monster High tales. Our story begins with Ghoulfriends Forever, which introduces three new characters — Venus, Robecca, and Rochelle. I know it isn’t Daneshvari’s fault, but it is very frustrating that two of the main characters have names that start with the same two letters. They’re very different ghouls, as it were, but it still took me a while to sort that out. Anyway, the three ghouls start at Monster High and immediately stranger-than-normal things start to happen. Will the ghouls be able to figure it out?

12 (?) Days to NaNoWriMo

I have to remember to continue my content creators series once NaNoWriMo starts.

One of my current favorites, Xiran Jay Zhao, has written a book, Iron Widow (we’ll be seeing this one again. And again. It’s awesome (also, Germane Amazon Link!)) and she recently posted a video on her journey to being a published writer. And I’m not completely unpublished. I made two whole dollars from an article I sold to Yahoo! back in the day.

But still. I’ve written a bunch of novel-length fanfics, but it’s been a long time since I’ve written any original fiction. And Zhao’s video makes me miss it.

I don’t think I’m going to do much fiction writing during NaNoWriMo, this year at least. Maybe next year, particularly since if I write blog posts to get me through most of 2022 this month. Then I can do a mini-NaNo and do some fiction writing then.

First, though, steampunk kids’ books, because the only way I can get my intended plot to work out is to set it in a kind of steampunk-y world.

13 Days Until NaNoWriMo

This morning it hit me — why I’ve been dreaming about fish tanks.

At first, I thought “I’m trapped.” But that didn’t make sense. Then I thought it might be Evelyn describing our pharmacy as a fishbowl. I mean, I do spend 40 hours a week there. And then with the plexiglass closing us in now?

Then while I was walking in to work, I was playing Wizards Unite and I rescued a dragony thing. Part of my fish tank related dream last night was about having too many fish in the tank, including a bunch of snakes. And the way the dragon thing was moving around reminded me of the snakes in the dream.

And that’s when, as I said, it hit me. My fish tank dreams are pretty recent. I’ve felt trapped before. I’ve worked in the pharmacy for eight years.

Like, my dream was about having too many fish and having to reluctantly go out to get a bigger tank. What’s been on my mind a lot? Having too many Pokemon and trying to make space *without* buying more space.

One of my first fish tank dreams, in fact, was about being in charge of some kind of fish tank laboratory and, well, part of the conceit of Pokemon Go is the “research” into Pokemon behavior. So there you go. Laboratory? Research? That certainly seems to go together.

Now if only I could figure out why I dreamed that I was in high school and was storing my locker stuff in my dryer, I’d be in business.

14 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I’ve hit a milestone in my writing career. Now that I’m making myself write for this countdown thing, I just cleaned up in order to procrastinate about my writing. Sort of.

Well, you see, since I recently posted about wanting to be festive this year, I realized that putting up a damn Christmas tree would be a start.

Only, the room where my Christmas tree goes (I do actually have a Christmas tree — I got it from HEB for $20 in 2008) is full of Alex’s boxes. So I moved my three bags of books to sell at Half-Price Books into my trunk and asked Alex if I could move some of his boxes into his old bedroom.

I can’t get to the window yet, but I’ll get there. I do, after all, have more than a month to go.

Next up: Digging the box that has my Christmas decorations out of the garage.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link today, we have The Thirty Names of Night, by Zeyn Joukhadar. The Thirty Names of Night is a magical realism book about birds, transgenderism, and the Syrian diaspora, not necessarily in that order. Our protagonist is a closeted trans boy who has shed his birth name and is looking for his chosen name. For this reason, no one ever uses a name for him until he chooses his own. Warning! The Amazon summary spoils the name that the protagonist chooses for himself, so if you want to go through his journey unspoiled, be careful.

15 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I actually have two ideas for blog post today. I have to be up in a minute, but I thought I’d break ground on at least one of them. I’m posting this right now, and will probably schedule the other for November 1. It won’t count towards my NaNoWriMo word count, but it’ll get it out of the way of my NaNoWriMo countdown.

First, I’m going to work on the idea that got me out of bed in the first place. I was reading Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened*, and she mentions having a “blog sticker.”

And I’m, like, do I need a blog sticker? I mean, it’d be a cool way to advertise, and I do want to grow my audience.

What would it look like? Should I use my header image? Part of my header image? Just write “To Hither and Yon” in a fancy font?

If I use my header image, are the crenelations on top of the San Antonio Museum of Art in the public domain by now? Is architecture one of the types of art that goes into the public domain at some point? How long will it take me to figure this out when all of my initial Google results for “Architecture” and “Public Domain” involve architectural drawings?

And, perhaps most importantly, whatever happened to the disk of Paint Shop Pro 4 that Thomas and I had? If I’m going to do this,** I’d really like to have the tool I used to use for things like this. I also have a mauve dress that I don’t like the color of, so I want to play around with various shades of blue and red to see if I can overdye it a color that I like better. I used to be able to pick and adjust colors really well in PSP4.

And if I ever learn to market this blog in a way that makes it an actual profit center, can I find a way to apply these principles to advance my career in my actual day job? I remember a bunch of the things that Thomas always said about marketing and I bet I can sort of build on that blog-wise. And maybe job-wise, too?

*Non-Gratuitous Amazon Link!

**”This,” right now, is to make a line drawing of just the border and openings of the west tower of the Brewery Bridge (that’s the right-hand side of the header photo) and then, I don’t know. I’ll play with it and see what happens.

16 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I don’t think I’ve ever made a big deal out of Christmas. I always imagined Christmas being the family singing Christmas carols around a piano and, you know, stringing popcorn and cranberries and such.

When I was eight, my mom had cancer. She discovered the lump on Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve, she was told that it was Stage II and that they’d have to pull out all of the lymph nodes on that side.

We did presents and visited with my dad’s sister’s family and things, but it was never really . . . festive. She was too traumatized by her cancer.

I’ve always wanted to be more festive at that time of year, but never could get my act together to do so. In past years, I’ve dragged Alex out ice skating, but that’s about all.

I think that I want to be more festive this year and maybe one of my fallback topics during NaNoWriMo will be my efforts in that direction.

This will, of course, be fun because I’ll be posting my posts every other day during November, so if I write about it on, say, November 15 and I manage to average two posts per day, it’ll run on or around January 15, 2022.

Well, let’s see how it goes.

Tonight’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is the third Monster High book by Lisi Harrison, Where There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way. This book focuses on Clawdeen Wolf. I have the book that focuses on Draculaura, Back and Deader Than Ever, somewhere in this house and when I find it, it’ll take its place in line in my Goodreads account.

17 Days Until NaNoWriMo

Wow. Um.


I’ve been cleaning up my bookcases lately. I was going to recycle my old calendars when I remembered that there are only, like, 14 ways a calendar can be arranged — January 1 Monday through January 1 Sunday, with and without a leap year. I think. It makes sense.

I found five or six old calendars on those shelves (and I’m sure there are more somewhere else), so that’s a start on my perpetual calendar collection.

Maybe I will end up recycling them, if I can’t find a good way to store them. But maybe I’ll find a good storage system and then I’ll always have a calendar.

18 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I was going to skip today because I’m working the early shift at work tomorrow, but then I thought that it wouldn’t be a good precedent to set to decide to write any little thing every day just to keep writing and then miss the third day.

I was actually going to write about the weather this week. They predicted rain all week, then they predicted rain Tuesday night and all day Wednesday and Thursday.

It rained a bit this morning, but then turned hot and sunny. I really had thought that the chance of rain had disappeared. In fact, Google seemed to say that there was basically no chance of rain.

About two hours ago, a storm started. It’s not a major storm — I don’t think that people’s trees are going to be damaged or anything — but there’s thunder and lightning.

It’s now probably going to rain all night and then it’ll likely blow over and we won’t get any rain tomorrow. Maybe.

Tonight’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is for the second book in the Monster High SeriesThe Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison. This time, it’s Cleo deNile, the daughter of The Mummy’s time in the spotlight.

19 Days to NaNoWriMo

I really need to do this writing earlier in the day than this. I’m training myself to write, all right, but I’m training myself to write late at night.

Wow. That all rhymed. That was *not* intentional.

So today I’m going to write about singing.

When I was, oh, nine or ten, my friend Leonora and I went Christmas caroling. Partly we did this to spread cheer, but mostly it was the profit motive. We had both seen our parents giving money to carolers, so why not?

Once we started singing, I realized that I really enjoyed it and I sounded pretty good to myself. I began to think of myself as a pretty good singer.

In junior high, we had a chorus. The choir director (what was her name? It was German and started with an H. That doesn’t limit it much, does it?) was very approachable and said nice things about my singing and she held after-school mini-voice lessons and after those, I always thought that my singing was slightly better than it had been before.

My freshman year of high school, I joined my church’s choir. That was a lot of fun and so I wanted to join the choir at my school, too. My folks refused to let me join the choir. They wanted me to play in the band so that I could do both of my musical things.

I auditioned for the spring musical, My Fair Lady. I totally didn’t get in, but the next day at school, the choir director took me aside and said that he hadn’t realized I could sing. He said that the sophomore choir was the chorus for the spring musical and so if I joined the choir my sophomore year, I would be guaranteed to be able to be on stage.

Of course, my folks refused. I mean, we ended up not having a spring musical my sophomore year anyhow, but still.

By the way, remembering that teacher telling me that he was surprised I could sing has carried me through a lot of subsequent setbacks.

My junior year, my folks finally relented and let me join the choir. Only, starting in junior year, you have to audition. And I was so effing nervous that I totally blew the audition. I also totally can’t type “audition.”

So, at this point, remembering how much more confident I was after those mini-lessons, I started campaigning for voice lessons. I told my mom that I wanted them because I didn’t have confidence in my ability to sing. You know what she said? “Voice lessons won’t help you sing on-key. Your grandmother took voice lessons and she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

Now, I ask you. Why would you say that to a child who just said that she lacked confidence in her ability to sing?

Eventually I prevailed upon my mom to at least let me try them and then we had trouble finding a voice teacher who had space for new students.

I gave up for then, but my mom implying that I couldn’t carry a tune still rankled.

Thomas joined the major choir at his college and said disparaging things about the choir that the women who failed to get into the concert choir ended up in because I knew that’s where I would have ended up because I was too nervous when singing to do as well as I should have. Thomas also assured me that far from being more confident, voice lessons would make me feel less confident. My confidence in my singing was so bad that I couldn’t imagine how voice lessons could possibly hurt.

So. When I was in college, I finally took the plunge. I contacted someone in the music department at my school and made an appointment to meet with one of the voice teachers. I successfully auditioned and was told that while I didn’t need voice lessons, I certainly had enough to work with and we sat down with our calendars and realized that we didn’t have any openings in our schedules that would work out.

But I did it. I auditioned and would actually have had voice lessons if my course schedule had permitted it.

Two epilogues here. I think I’m going to go in reverse chronological order.

First, when I did the 23 and Me, one of their reports is ability to match musical pitch and I’ve got a 50/50 chance of being able to match a pitch. And I know for a fact I can do that. I also can hit a pitch that I only hear in my head. Nine times out of ten.

Second, after I did the audition, the next time I went home, I said to my mom, “I know you don’t think I can sing, but I auditioned for voice lessons and she thinks I can sing.” She was surprised that I ever thought that she thought that I couldn’t sing, because she knew I could. She thought I sang really well. When I asked her, she had no idea why she’d tell me that voice lessons wouldn’t make me sing on-key because she’d never noticed me singing off-key.

I’m not really facepalming, more sort of resting my face on my hand with my fingers resting on my sinuses.

I’ve decided that I’m going to look further into Google ads. I really want to make this go professional and hopefully after this ramp-up to NaNoWriMo, I’ll be writing enough during NaNoWriMo to have a few months’ worth of posts already created.

I’m not going to stop the Gratuitous Amazon Links, though. But when I’m not feeling it, or I’m on a creating-new-posts binge and don’t want to ruin my groove, I’ll be able to skip it.

I’m not going to skip it for today, though, because working out the AdSense will be more involved than I can cope with tonight. This is going to be kind of frustrating, because the fourth and final book in this series is . . . somewhere and I can’t find it.

Today I’m starting on the Monster High series by Lisi Harrison. This was a sort of/kinda tie-in novel for the Monster High toy series, but it is set in a different reality closer to our own. In this reality, the monsters lived freely among the “normies” until the beginning of the era of the Universal Studios monster movies. Suddenly their friends, coworkers, and neighbors began to hate and fear them. The leaders in their community decided that Salem would be a good place to hide out, since the witches would be sympathetic, only due to a clerical error, they ended up in Salem, Oregon, rather than Salem, Massachusetts.

The first book in the series, focusing on Frankie Stein, the daughter of Frankenstein’s monster and a new character named Melody Carver (I am very upset that we never got a Melody Carver doll), is here: Monster High, by Lisi Harrison.