Breaking news – 2017 is over!
I know I feel like this every year but (as always) it just seems worse this year. Where did 2017 go? I cannot believe how quickly it passed by. Was that a semi that just knocked me over into the ditch of New Year Fallout?
Well, it was a busy year, a good year, a crazy year – full of changes and full of things that stayed the same. Words rather fail me for 2017 and, as always, I am sad (and maybe slightly panicked) to see another year gone for good. But all the things I learned, the friends I’ve made, the things I’ve done, my family – those aren’t gone. They’re going with me into 2018. More importantly, God goes with me into 2018. He will be with me as He was with me in 2017. And I pray that He might lead me into 2018 in the way that He has planned for me.
To the news at hand –
I’m BACK FROM MY HIATUS! “looks around happily and waits for the applause to die down”
I didn’t get quite as much done in December as I would have liked – but it certainly was an interesting month.
You may have noticed that things look a bit wonky around here; sorry about that. My lovely tech guru friend and I are immersed in giving Allison’s Well a whole new look – but like her mistress – my blog takes a while to pull herself together. So if things look a little weird or the layout keeps changing, not to worry. Your computer or device will not blow up, my blog is just having growth pains.
I received my complimentary print edition of Splickety’s Wreck The Halls – and there I am – IN PRINT! I’m in a legitimate magazine! I was traditionally published!!
Unfortunately, I don’t think Splickety’s December issue is free any more, but is available for purchase – AND, next Christmas, the rights will have reverted back to me and you will be able to read Hope For The Holidays on Amazon.
I can’t quite describe the joy of being traditionally published and I hope and pray the process will repeat itself.
I wrote several more pieces of flash fiction and finished some other pieces of flash fiction.
I wrote some on the Tales of Ambia!
I know – I said I wasn’t going to for a while but then suddenly ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS THE TALES OF AMBIA. I just realized again how much I love it . . . .
I started putting in a smidge of work on my Goose Girl retelling and more planning for the overall series. I know I said a month or so ago that I was going to set Ambia aside for a while – (rather dramatic October in a Nutshell post) but my fancies refuses to listen to me. My mind is deeply embroiled in the adventures of Burndee, Ella, Colin, Cynthia . . .
Gwen, Martin, Ben, Poppy –
“rubs hands together”
“grins – wriggles”
Anyway, I give up. Fine, you fickle little mind, have your way, play in Ambia for all of January and then we’ll reevaluate.
And maybe . . . maybe I can finish the first draft of The Goose Girl! Prayers would be appreciated. 🙂
Speaking of The Goose Girl retelling – it is no longer a short story – it’s a novelette! So much for that little thing I was going to whip out and that ebook only edition. It’s going to take a little longer to finish and will probably end up being a slim paperback. Oh well!
Two different pieces of flash fiction were turned down by two different magazines.
Seriously – it’s a learning experience – and we shouldn’t hide from them! I encourage ALL of you to pursue traditional publishing and not just Indie publishing.
“Rejection should never be taken seriously unless it is accompanied by a punch to the nose.” It’s NOT PERSONAL. And I’m not offended by it all. It can be frustrating, but that’s it. And it’s GOOD TO WORK HARD FOR YOUR CRAFT. Indie publishing can make many things way too easy and we don’t learn through ease – we learn through a long, hard climb.
And as a note – those last two rejections got my dander up and I quickly submitted to two different magazines! “determined look”
Finally posted another song to my Youtube Channel.
And for all you people who refuse to accept that Christmas is over – here’s a song just for you! I had so much fun recording it and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
I reached 25 Subscribers on my Youtube channel!
STAY, DON’T MOVE! DON’T GO AWAY! It took me a year to reach this glorious goal and HOORAY, HUZZAH AND HIP HIP – I made it thanks to all of you!
I now have to eat alligator nuggets and film it. Me and my dares….
Thank you again to ALL my subscribers – I appreciate your support so much! <3
Saw Ferdinand in theaters with my twin.
Aside from this being the second movie I’ve seen at the theater with just my twin. “beams fondly because that is special” this movie was soooo cute. There are some crude moments (but not nearly as much as I thought there would be) and overall it was poignant and darling. I have good memories of the book, because my Mom read it aloud to us – but it was never an especial favorite of mine, I think because the illustrations weren’t very colorful. The movie version certainly doesn’t lack color and brings the vibrant, arid world of Ferdinand to life in a thoughtful romp of a movie depicting a gentle and thoughtful hero that you’ll be rooting for.
I don’t know about you, but I love going to the movies – it’s still a novelty to me – and yes, we did the whole works – popcorn, candy, soda – this was an EXPERIENCE.
Finished my reading challenge
I exceeded my reading challenge of 250 books! I read TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN BOOKS. I actually had to raise the challenge several times. #notreallybragging #justafact
Did I mention that I read 277 books this year?
This past November I also joined Twitter.
Yes, I know I should have mentioned that in my November Nutshell but I forgot. Shhh! Just accept the information and follow me if you are so inclined and pretend that this happened in December.
I created a Author Page on Facebook.
Follow and like and I’ll love you forever.
Just kidding – I already love you.
So – did you get snow this December?
We got some.
Not that much.
I mean – not according to the all-wise, all-knowing Weather.
“A couple of inches and it won’t stick, citizens! Go about your normal, oblivious lives.”
(some time later . . . )
I was still vaguely thrashing around and trying to heave myself out of bed) when somebody called softly through the door: “Look out your window!”
At first, I was literally dancing around the house to jazzy Christmas music in my pajamas, drinking eggnog out of a champagne glass, and urging my family to rip open all the presents NOW.
I walked around all day with a camera, obsessively taking photo after photo.
“Yeah, I know I took a picture of that tree a few minutes ago but LOOK, there’s another half inch on it now!”
My Mom and sisters and I rebelled against the Christmas Purists (guess who they were) and each of us exchanged a small present while we were in the holiday mood. And of course, we rejoiced over the snow. Lookit the pretty snow!
The snow kept falling.
I fell into a baking mood and whipped up some cheddar bacon muffins and a chocolate snowflake cake while listening to Christmas music. Grinch begone – it’s snowing – it’s CHRISTMAS TIME!
Still more delightful snowflakes. We were literally beside ourselves with excitement. My twin and I bundled up and went for a romp in the snow. My big sister joins us. Snowball fights, snowmen and general frolicking ensued.
Suddenly at 5:30 – the power blinks.
Outside, tree branches start snapping and falling to the ground.
We rush inside to get warm – a few minutes later – the power goes out.
And stays out.
Dinner was history – but we huddled around candles and ate my cake and muffins. We were all rather grateful that this happened on a Friday evening – and not during business hours. It’s been snowing all day.
The heat in the house started started dropping rapidly and the power was still off.
The next morning, it was even colder, and we were all slightly hungrier. We began trying to organize some emergency rations and supplies. Sadly, we were caught flat-footed and were ill-prepared. But still – it’s a glorious and beautiful sight outside.
We empty our refrigerator and bury as many contents as we can in the snow on our back porch to save some of our perishables. My brother and Dad begin shoveling the driveway and I helped empty our ice maker to keep the freezer from leaking all over the kitchen. Several of us bundle up and hike down the street to survey the damage. Several telephone poles have snapped and power lines are lying around willy-nilly. Let’s not even mention all the tree limbs on the roads.
An enterprising neighbor on a quad reported that the main roads were clear. We’re able to get in the car and bring back hot food – because we sure ain’t getting it at home.
It’s getting colder. My twin has an atomic clock that helpfully displays the inside temperature. It’s the only way we can tell the time or the temperature and it might be better if we didn’t. The numbers click down slowly, mockingly. It has never been this cold in the house before. I start thinking about The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the horror stories of families being frozen solid in their homes. Obviously, it’s not THAT cold in the house, but it is so cold it’s hard to move.
Sunday morning. It has stopped snowing by now but there’s plenty of the stinking white junk lying around on the ground.
The couple inches of “non-sticking snow” has turned into eleven inches.
As you probably guessed, Sunday was another day spent scrounging for food, reading by windows, huddling under blankets, and heating water in measuring cups over candles to make tea.
It’s amazing how tired you get at night without electricity. There is no incentive to stay up; there was nothing to do except watch my sister’s Christmas Pyramid rotate or gaze at the patterns candles make on the ceiling. Which is rather nice, but not for hours at a time.
Fortunately, my older sister (who has Boy Scout blood flowing in her veins) had a hot-spot and a radio and we were able to check via websites when our power would come back on.
With thousands without power, the odds didn’t look too good.
My twin and I take the opportunity of the early nights to sit in my sisters bedroom in the dark and talk with her for an hour or two like old times. (we moved out earlier this year)
While we are chatting – we see a flashing light outside. My sister leaps off the bed and looks out the window to see a “cherry picker” disappearing down the street. We begin to hope but don’t wake up anyone else because we don’t want them to be disappointed.
4:30 am. My twin and I are restless and wake up when the lights and heat suddenly come back on. I meet my older sister in the hall and we have a silent screaming celebration and flick light switches in celebration.
We all end up getting up anyway. We rejoice, close the refrigerator doors, crank up the heat and return to bed.
And the power stays on!
We were without power for nearly 36 hours and I have to tell you there is nothing more glorious than the sound of heat blasting through vents. What was I grateful for this Christmas? Electricity. Our lives revolve around it and it’s hard to be without it. It made me realize how much I take heat and warmth for granted and how shamefully comfortable I am in my day-to-day life when there are thousands of people who have no concept of the things I expect to be available for me 24/7.
The next morning (December 10th), we were so giddy we decided to have Christmas early. We made a huge hot breakfast (oh joyous day), toasted with bubbly grape juice and ripped open presents. After all, we were in the holiday mood and this way we could have a White Christmas, since that pile of stuff outside had reverted from white garbage back to beautiful, virgin snow again.
I have to say, I was greatly relieved that we decided to have Christmas on the spur-of-the-moment. After three years of glorious rebellion against Christmas traditions (we would vacation during the holidays) my little maverick heart was suffering at the idea of joining the crowd in the usual celebrations so I was very pleased indeed that we were still somehow pulling off a Christmas Caper this year.
Funny story to wrap-up that Nightmare Before Christmas.
A week later, while we were sitting watching TV in our living room suddenly –
The power blinked off.
A collective howl of dismay erupted in the room. We were literally sitting there frozen in the dark – we couldn’t BELIEVE that this is happening again.
After two minutes of moaning alternating with shocked silence, the lights flicked back on.
There was a mad scramble for flashlights, battery rechargers and we may or may not be tempted to stay up into the wee hours turning light-switches on and off and sobbing.
Fortunately – the power stayed on. And you can bet your boots that we prepared now. Coleman stoves, lamps, Sternos, flashlights . . . we’re ready!
I spent Christmas proper (and New Years) sick with a truly dreadful cold. So yeah, not so Merry…. It didn’t help that a couple other things were acting up and between everything, making me feel like I had been sideswiped several times by a rogue sleigh.
Let’s just say if I ever find the person that gave it to my brother . . . “pounds fist into palm meaningfully”
Unfortunately, the rest of my siblings have it to and it’s taking forever to move through us. Such is life.
So – as you can see – having a maverick Christmas and opening the presents early is a good thing – because we weren’t quite the jolliest around here on December 25th.
So that post was a bit of a monster – but hey – it IS the last post of the year?
How was your December and Christmas, my dear followers? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!