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2018 in Review

Hello! We’re back for the FINAL blog post of 2018! I hope everyone had a merry Christmas this year, spending time with family and friends and celebrating the reason why we can be merry and have joy in this world.

This year feels like it’s flown by so fast that I can hardly believe it’s over already and we’re preparing for another one. Let’s take a look back at what this past year has held for us in the Writing Corner and Surrounding Areas, shall we?

I read 29 books this year, although I don’t think two of them count because I didn’t exactly finish them (something I rarely do, but it’s a good indicator when you find yourself actively avoiding reading it. Even avid readers find books they don’t enjoy). Some of the books, though, were really good, and I finally undertook the project of reading through my collection of untried books I’ve gathered over the years. I didn’t read much over the month of November, and afterwards took a detour (as I knew I would, and will) to check out another story that was suggested to me by a fellow writer. When I’m finished with it, I think I’m going to pick up either The Sword and the Flute by Hans Bemmann or Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell. OR I’ll pick up one of my new Christmas treasures!

What a haul, no? This is awesomeness right here.

I attended another three weddings for family friends, and it truly is a wonderful thing to see young people making that kind of promise, becoming partners in this great battle called ‘life’ and building their own kind of fellowship with which to tackle both the joys and hardship of this world.

My brother finished his term in Japan and was moved to California, where his wife could join him after a year apart and they could move into a house of their own . . . which happens to be nearby where their childhood friends are. I’m telling you, it’s crazy how small the world is the bigger it gets. This is the kind of stuff you only read about in fiction . . . and it’s crossed my mind more than once to write a story about this experience, because I think it’s just so neat how people from a wee backwater town can meet each other all over the world.

I embarked on a little business venture over the summer called the NovelTea Kitchen, which was something I’d been mulling over and dreaming about for a while. It was an outlet for my love of making jams, jellies, and marmalades, as well as some baked goods. And I think I’m allowed to use the word ‘artisan’, which makes everything sound more appealing, doesn’t it?  ─ ‘NovelTea Kitchen, artisan jams, jellies, and marmalades’ ─ The exemption form I currently have only allows me to sell on a roadside stand and farmers markets, but I’m thinking about looking into a license that will allow me to sell in retail. For now, though, I want to build up my inventory of recipes. The problem with that is that there are so many I want to try! I think the strawberry rhubarb is down, though, and the cranberry-orange marmalade. Next up is cranberry jam . . .

I could talk about this subject for a while, so let’s move on before I get too far out of hand!

In town there’s just recently opened a bookstore, and it’s a lovely little place. I decided to be brave and joined the writers group hosted there, in hopes of  . . . you know . . . meeting more people like myself. I’ve never been a part of a writers group before, so I don’t know what the norm is, but so far it’s been great to go and hear other people’s WIPs and talk about them. So far I’ve gotten fairly positive feedback, and that’s always encouraging!

Another great thing about having a bookstore in town is the promotional opportunities for my books, such as book signings and author readings (which, albeit, sounds terrifying, but growing hurts, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?)

Over here on the blog we’ve amassed a total of 41 posts covering all sorts of subjects, book reviews, and even sharing some recipes from my alter ego (aka kitchen queen). We went on a tour through the country of Phen in Falconsbane, exploring a bit about each region and their specific branches of the military ─ which was buckets of fun for me and also helped to develop the world further, creating a deeper sense of regional personality and culture. Because worldbuilding is probably one of the best parts of telling stories. It exercises your imagination and educates your brain as you research other cultures.

We gained the means by which to start milking our dear Jersey cow Maisey, and we have been swimming in the milk she’s been producing. It’s got so much cream! Let me tell you that stuff makes the best ice cream this side of the living universe.

And finally, the crowning glory of this year: the completion of the Falconsbane manuscript! After a year from the commencement of this project and a slow season of story development, culminating into a week-long crucible of editing, headaching, sleep depriving, and much tea consuming, the fourth draft was finished and the story as strong as it’s ever been. Now I am looking for beta readers who will give the manuscript a read and provide suggested edits on things like story continuity, character development, and flow of the narrative ─ anything that they believe will make the story an overall better experience. (If you’re interested, or know of someone who might be, here’s the form you can use that has all the information).


So, while 2018 didn’t hold everything I’d originally planned, it had some pretty great stuff nonetheless! God is good. And so . . . what about 2019? What sorts of things are we looking forward to in the new year?

Well. I’m looking forward to publishing Falconsbane, for one thing. When exactly that is going to happen is far too up in the air at this point, but I’m hoping it won’t take longer than the next twelve months!

In the next few weeks I am hopping a plane (scary!) to California (scary!) to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I shall likely see a beach for the second time in living memory. I won’t be getting any hopes up that it’ll be warm and sunny, because the last time we went to such an allegedly warm and sunny place (Florida, many moons ago) we brought the cold and overcast skies with us. We shall see. I’m looking forward to a week with my family and gaining some new experiences ─ it’s all fodder for the forges of storysmithing. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha─ *cough*

Anywho.

An acquaintance of ours in the process of renovating an old building in town into a coffee shop and café, which is super exciting. It was supposed to open this past September, but there’s been so much work involved and obstacles to overcome that it hasn’t happened yet. This year, though. This next year we’re praying for a successful opening and business, a place for the community to gather, relax, and enjoy good coffee, food, and (I believe) Italian soda. (I’m kind of hoping for some tea) If all that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s also a possibility that I may or may not have a job there when it opens. I’m hoping and praying I get the opportunity to do so, because that’s the kind of place that I’ve fantasized working in. That’ll be a real shift in the current status quo, but an opportunity to do more learning and growing.


Now then, what about all of you folks? What milestones have you reached this past year, or what have you learned in moving toward them? What are you looking forward to in this coming year; something big? Something small? I’d love to hear about it!

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