The 2010’s: A Decade in Review

Well here we are at the crux of 2019 merging into 2020–and I’m lying in bed with a low grade fever. While others are celebrating a decade ending, I’m binging the final three episodes of Hellier season two. (If you haven’t seen this show yet, you should! It’s AMAZING!) Ah, well. I guess there are worse ways to welcome in the new year. And, frankly, I’d rather be sick on New Year’s than Christmas. Good ol’ stomach issues.

Learning to be more in tune with my body’s limitations has actually been a struggle I’ve dealt with since I was born. Blessed with something my family dubs “The Yankello Stomach,” I suffer from a sensitivity to high oils and fats. When balanced with a healthy diet of other foods–a bland lunch mixed with a rich dinner, for example–then I’m usually all right. But if I indulge a bit too much, then I’m stuck in stomach ache limbo.

Being more in tune with my body is one of the many goals I’m focusing on in 2020 and beyond. I mean, this is the only body I have so I better make it last! Right?

Looking back at this decade, I’ve realized it’s been one full of growth. I can see God’s hands–along with some other Beings–helping shape me into the person I am today. The one with family values, a fascination with the paranormal, weather, and travel, who loves to celebrate storytelling, and who always does her best to respect life and death. The person I was always meant to be. Through pain, discovery, loss, gain; a dualistic tango that led me here, right here, to this very moment.

As Dustin Pari posted on his twitter once:

All in all, I think it’s been a valuable ten years.

In this next decade, I want to focus on fine-tuning myself:

  1. To publish my novel: to hold a physical copy of my book for the first time, smell its pages. (Yes, I’m one of those bibliophiles.) And to continue my character’s stories.
    1. Note: I also want to produce more regular content here and on Youtube.
  2. To keep travelling: to visit old haunts and explore new places.
  3. To feel healthy. I want to feel capable of climbing a mountain. And, especially, I want my back to be stronger. I want to feel stronger.
  4. To learn more about our property: to always show it as much love as it shows us.
  5. To become more involved in the paranormal community: to be more verbal about my theories, my experiences. To help others as I have been helped. And to connect again to my sensitivity.
  6. And, of course, a big one–perhaps one of the most important things a person can do on this world: I want to raise a family. Which is equally excited and terrifying!

I hope you all have a happy 2020. I hope this next year–this next decade–is everything you wish it to be, but that it’s also what you need it to be. Even if it’s unexpected. May it be good. Plain and simple.

What are your resolutions? Your goals for 2020-2029? Let me know in the comments!

Welcome to 30!

Yes, oh yes! You’ve read that right: I’m 30! Long gone are my 20’s, now makes room for a whole new decade of adventure and discoveries!

There’s a lot of connotation about turning 30. In our society–especially in pop culture–it seems to be something to dread: our 20’s are at an end, the partying is done, now we have to grow up and be responsible.

My mom quoted an interview that Madonna gave when she turned 30. When the iconic diva was asked about turning 30, the interviewer probably thought “Oh. This will be so dramatic! She’s going to hate this question!” but they were shocked at Madonna’s response. “Frankly, I’m relieved.”

To me, that is exactly how I feel: 30 isn’t about being scared to turn old, it’s about the excitement of the decade to come. Sure, I have more aches and pains that I didn’t have when I was in my teens. But that’s solved easily.

No. On the eve of my birthday, I felt the distinct clap of a book being shut. To me, each decade is a new book in the series of my life. I look forward to seeing what I accomplish in my 30s, taking the lessons of my 20s with me. It was a hard decade full of many struggles and sleepless nights, whether due to studying abroad in England or the all-nighters taking care of my ailing father. I don’t take any of those experiences for granted. I’m proud of who I’ve become. And I can’t wait to see what happens! I want to get to the peak of my physical health, and, most immediate and important: becoming fully-fledged, published author.

I just need to get this book done first!

Speaking of, away I go to the cave. Radio silence initiated. See you guys on the other side.

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Let Me Handle The Rest

WOW! So, I’m 29! Wow!

A year away from 30. Wow.

I mean, I always knew I would reach my late 20’s, but when you’re a teenager, it seems like an impossible feat. Now, here I am: with a secure income, a wedding in the works, and planning out “grown-up things.” (Take a look, little me: it’s not so bad after all!)

This week was the way to start birthday weeks! For one thing, I’ve been slammed with job hunting. Then, lo and behold, by the guidance of God and my Guardians, I’m there! I get the call Monday that I have a job with the local library! The hunt can end! I can move on! The plan is set, the pathway is in motion!

F I N A L L Y!!!

Of course, as is the nature of life, there’s still concerns–some of them pretty major, such as my father’s steadily declining health. Yeah, that’s always on my mind and in my prayers. (Side note: if you all could pray for my family, that would be wonderful!)

But, as for me, myself, and I? I’m doing pretty all right.

It astounds me that all of this fell into place. Not even just for me, but so much more is continuing to settle, that has been years in the making. It all seemed to start after I heard the words of God and my Guardians in my head on Sunday, which had been a stressful day. However, I remain firm in this: it was a challenge because a lot of pent-up negative energy had to be released. It was only when that energy had left the situation that I heard the words:

“Are you doing the best you can? Yes? Then let me handle the rest.

It’s really hard to give the reigns of our life to Beings we don’t even fully comprehend.  That’s been the biggest challenge this year for me. Yes, we have to do the work. We can’t pray and expect gifts to fall in our laps, that’s not how life works. Truly, it’s scary to put your life–your livelihood–in the hands of something unseen, especially when you’re like me: a person who holds on to worry and stress when things are uncertain and wants to control all that she can.

Despite being a Christian and professing that we “put all our worries at God’s feet,” it’s still hard to do when it’s something that could make or break you. It’s hard to relinquish control.

But, really, truly, through all of this, I’ve been reminded that God’s got this. He’s always looking out for us, and molding things out of the paths we journey down; making the best of every situation and teaching us lessons we need to pick up along the way.

Additional lessons that I have learned, or expect to be learning in the near future:

  1. Realizing exactly how frugal I can be. And that’s something I’ve needed to learn for a while now.
  2. Juggling two part-time jobs, my social life, family activities, all while working on my wedding and the completion of my novel. WOO DOGGIE, that’s going to be a doozy!

But, with the help of God and my Guardians, I’ll take it one step at a time, knowing I’m being guided, by them, towards a better future, with more lessons to learn, and more life to experience. I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways I develop, and what new lessons I learn, in this next birth year. I’m going to work hard–I’m going to do the best I can–and I’m going to put my trust in God and my Guardians. They have the rest.

A Quick Autumn Catch-Up

Hello, all those out there on the interwebs and happy First Day of Autumn! It truly has been a long time since I’ve written on this blog, and I’ve definitely missed it! Things have been crazy; as I mentioned in “OSR 2017, Amongst Other Things!” the boyfriend has now turned fiancee!

YES! I KNOW!

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Truly, truly, it is a nutty, but good time! Frankly, I never knew how complicated planning a wedding could be, especially when I’m trying to launch my writing and bookkeeping careers! Lordy!

Furthermore, there are some things in the works–wedding and random–that will be life changing by the end of the year. I truly pray they work out for the best.

Speaking of writing, I am very pleased with how my technique is progressing, even if life tends to keep me from my office more than I’d like. There are some really good, concrete things happening in my novel and I do hope to be sharing it with you, soon! (Alas, if only money wasn’t an issue; I would write full-time in my pajamas and get my book out there faster! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

So, not that I’m trying to make excuses, but I adore you, dear readers, and I don’t want you to even imagine that I might’ve abandoned you all. I will see you soon. The next blog post won’t be too far off!

Have a happy, cool, crisp Fall, one and all!

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO WEARING MY SWEATERS AGAIN!

A Writer’s Guide to Impending Holiday Interruptions

Well, ladies and gents, I cannot believe it’s December! Honestly, I wish life would move slower–it seems to have picked up pace and left little time for my writing, again. That, and we here in Wooster have yet to see snowfall cover the ground, which adds to the citywide disbelief that the Christmas season is upon us.

Yet time keeps racing forward. I know I feel bogged down when the iconic Willy Wonka quote repeats in my head:

“So much time, so little to do–wait–

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It’s even worse when it’s on automatic replay. Then I know my mind is trying to calm the impending stress-out: “It’s the Christmas season,” It says. “It’s going to be busy. Do your best and regroup in January.”

So I try to take it one day at a time this December; get as much done as I can, try to keep promises.

One of the most common pieces of writing advice I come across goes something like this:

“You will get interrupted. The key is to write every day; whether it’s 100 words or 3,000.”

However, the unexpected events seem to throw that plan out the window.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, we at the Mortimer household were thrown into another jumble; emotions included. I’m not talking about the holiday or dad’s birthday, but our love of the household, Vito. Vito passed on from this world on November 28th, two days after Thanksgiving. For me, his passing was bittersweet: it was a sadness to say goodbye to a loving friend and yet also a kind of relief. He had suffered from diabetes for the majority of his seven years. To see him be at peace from the vet appointments and twice-daily injections, to hold a strong belief that he’s romping around Heaven’s meadows with Choy, gave me hope…

… but I still couldn’t concentrate on my writing. While my outward facade consisted of peace and prayer, inwardly, my thoughts couldn’t gather. Every time I sat at the computer last weekend, my mind would not settle, my concentration: static awareness. So, instead, I sat working on my Christmas presents.

Now I’m progressing smoothly through my crafts, determined to give homemade gifts this year rather than store bought. It saves on money and is a great meditative tool. Maybe I’ll make a stock of scarves, gloves, dish towels and washcloths and put them on Etsy for you all to buy? We shall see!

In any case, the goal of this Christmas season is to not stress about the interruptions it might bring; to continue to write, as much as possible, with the time I have. Oh, and also, not to overthink my future goals.

Just take it one day at a time.

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Writing Updates, Crimson Peak — HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

First off, let me say, I have been listening to “Valse Sur Une Berceuse Anglaise” ON FREAKING REPEAT since I saw Crimson Peak last Monday. The music plays in the background as Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) woos Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) into demonstrating the Viennese waltz. The following ensues:

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Yes. A highly romantic scene, a dance between two meant-to-be lovers, spouses caught in a horrible plot.

(THEY ARE MEANT TO BE. I WILL ACCEPT NO OTHER ANSWERS. FIGHT ME.)

Honestly, if Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing had been in a Jane Austen novel–especially if Tom Hiddleston played a male love interest–GOD. I think feminine hormones would take over the world and kill us all. Seriously. Go check Tumblr right now. I guarentee within the first page you’ll find someone gushing over Tom.

(I’m one of them.)

I swear, I SWEAR I was over gushing over Tom Hiddleston. And then the Victorian Gothic Romance fangirl in me reared her head. Doomed, I say! Doomed!

Others are making a big deal of the sex scene in Crimson Peak. Me? The waltz was my downfall.

“There are two kinds of people” as Tumblr likes to say.

Speaking of big deals, I found out that they announced Museum of Words last Friday when I was sick. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win. I was hoping I would, but I didn’t expect it, like I do with most things. It was a slim shot for anyone, at best. 35,000 stories were entered; the chances were slim at best for anyone. Furthermore, I think most contests look for literature-type, “real world” submissions anymore (unless they specifically look for fantasy, sci-fi, or speculative fiction). My style is more in line with pop culture. A fangirl through and through.

Honestly, I read the submission that won. Brava. She definitely deserved it, I will say that.

As JackSepticEye says in GTA V with Markiplier, Bob, and Wade, “I ain’t even mad, bro.”

(Maybe a little disheartened, but not mad.)

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Anyways, so here’s the hopeful optimist in me coming out. I have a theory: maybe I’m not winning contests or getting selected for journal submissions because my “big win” is going to be Angel’s novel being published. Maybe, just maybe, God is saving that moment, a “winning” moment, for when I will truly enjoy it. Isn’t that how he always works? Gives us what we need, not what we want?

I have confidence that you guys and gals will enjoy Angel’s story. And I’m excited for you to read it. Personally, I’m just happy the Museum of Words loss didn’t cripple me like I feared it would.

I also think Crimson Peak had excellent timing. Due to my obsession with the waltz (yes, obsession), I’ve been distracted in a moment where, in another time, I would’ve been depressed for longer. Points for you, God. Points for you. Funny how that all works out.

Hope you guys and gals have a happy and safe HALLOWEEN!! (Still have no idea what I’m dressing as. Instagram will surely reveal my decision!)

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From Gettysburg to Fall; Time to Create!

Sitting at my laptop.
Apple cider by my side.
Long sleeves.
Typing away.


GOOD LORD did the weather turn! Last week I was in 70 degree Gettysburg, this week: FALL!

Yes. YES, ladies and gents! Fall is back in Ohio! That wondrous time of year! Time for spooky! For a midnight walk in the woods! Leaf crunching! Hot drink of choice! Long sleeves! Cuddles! Halloween!

Yes… this is the time of year I enjoy most.

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I only wish it had felt like this in Gettysburg. Something about tromping through the battlefields in a light jacket, browsing the historic downtown, crunching the occasional leaf. Well, I mean, some of that I did. However, even though the first day of Fall was last week, it didn’t feel like it until this week. Isn’t that what always happens?

Ah. C’est la vie. I still enjoyed being there. And I got some nifty vibes.

After all, Tolkien himself said:

“… always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’, somewhere: not of ‘inventing’.”

The purpose of this Gettysburg trip was to get away, by myself, and explore a new location. Whether it be haunted or not. I wanted to have one last exploration before I settled in for the latter part of the year. The time where I really love to be home and write. Plain and simple. Fall brings forward ceaseless inspiration. Honestly, if I didn’t need to sleep or eat, I could probably churn out multiple books in this three month period.

So, now I settle in for the “cold months”, hard at work on my novel’s completion. It will be circulating to agents soon. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!

HELLO FALL!! (+ Scary Drabble)

So… this past month has been absolutely grueling. I’m not even sure how it got to be September. But, yep. My computer is telling me it’s September 16th.

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It’s honestly been one of those hectic months where nothing seemed to go right. Especially these last two weeks. On top of that, time seemed to speed up. So the moments that I could jump on my computer and get to my writing were significantly shortened.

I’m also wanting to sell things online. To get the store (Allison and I are planning) up and running. And I currently have those items stuffed into a corner next to my desk.

NOW, FINALLY, I CAN GET TO ALL OF THAT.

Sweet Lord!! To top it off, the weather is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. For those who may not know: I love Fall.

Fall is me. I am Fall.

Okay, not literally. But I love this season! What other time of the year brings you the comfort of wrapping in a sweater, drinking a hot drink, and watching a good horror movie?

You thought I was going to say “Reading a good book” didn’t you, dear Reader?

Sure. Sure you did.

*grins*

Honestly, Fall is the best of both worlds. Crisp and cool weather. Great for a good walk in the woods.

But wait… oh, then… then the sun is starting to set. And you’re not entirely sure you’re alone in those woods. A branch breaks. Was that a squirrel? Or maybe a bear? Or… something else? Or maybe someone else? Your imagination travels faster than your feet can carry you. You can’t catch it. You start running to the exit. Wait. Which way did you come again?

Another branch breaks. It came from right behind you. Your eyes have to strain… to see in the darkened twilight. A cool wind drifts through the forest. Your skin prickles. You swear you heard your name, whispered, behind you. Your feet trip over themselves as you try to escape the claustrophobic woods.

You start listing the names of all the monsters you know: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Lucifer… and you start to ask yourself…

Which one is breathing on your neck?

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Post-Midwest Writers

Honest to God, I loved this conference. Man, it’s been SO LONG since I was in a writer’s workshop. Literally, I haven’t gone to one since college. Three years ago. And I discovered that I was really out of practice with some writing techniques. So I re-learned some new and old pointers (for example: passive vs active sentences and avoiding “to be” words) and I got to socialize + network with some very talented people. Writers, agents, and otherwise.

Aaaand…. I pitched to an agent. Haaaahhhh… I was so nervous. But she was SO ATTENTIVE AND KIND. Annnd… yeah. I’m working really hard to finish my book. Because. Things happened.

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I also decided that I’m going to build an official website and send out a… bi-monthly newsletter. I believe. Still planning.

All of this will come to fruition after Nashville next weekend. *pinches nose*

If there are any writers out there looking for a warm, welcoming, helpful, affordable, and FUN conference… CHECK OUT MIDWEST WRITERS. I really suggest it. It’s… just amazing.
Click here for more information: Midwest Writers
Tomorrow I begin my loooooong four hour trek home.
I will catch you all back in Wooster!
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