Readathons, Uncategorized

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon Preparation

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Soo… Tomorrow the magical journey begins! Yes, that’s right! Tomorrow is the first day of O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon 2020! I have a lot of work (AKA Book 9 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga) going on next month. As well as Dewey’s and a personal project I’m considering. I’m unsure about how to go about the latter, but some planning will definitely be needed if I’m going to balance everything!

I’m still really excited for April to get here. With all the crazy stuff going on in the world I need a good distraction that allows me to connect with the world while still practicing social distancing. I may be a little over cautious I refuse to even order out. Though, everyone I know is doing it. I want a calzone, but not not enough to take the risk. At this point, I’d just rather be too safe than not safe enough. Anxiety or caution. Frig if I know. lol

So, first off, Book 9 is on schedule. I already read (I’m averaging 12 books a month as of right now) so I don’t think the readathon will interfere with that.

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In the mean time to get ready for the month – I’ve made the first reading journal I’ve had in years. It’s really cutesy with drawings and stuff, but my phone won’t take a decent photo of the pages. That sucks, but life goes on.

I’ve sorta planned out my reading order, but that’s always subject to change. I’m the sort of reader who follows their whims and moods. So, these readathons are always a challenge for me. Dewey’s Readathon is at the end of the month and I’m hoping to use that as a catch up for anything I don’t get to throughout the first part of them month.

First up, I’m tackling my second largest book (the largest if Order of the Phoenix, but I love that book and can finish it in a day if I have nothing else to do). My first O.W.L. read will be for my Transfiguration course. I’ll be reading Incubus Dreams by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is a reread for me, but I love the Anita Blake series. I wanted to read Micah, but that book is still at a friend’s house waiting to be shipped after the plague ends.

What’s your first book for O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon?


A Day Off from Writing: Random Rambles

Filled Drinking Glass

I woke up this morning and booted up my computer after some coffee and scrolling around Reddit. Then I realized I wasn’t working on a book today. That’s always a strange feeling to me. I decided yesterday to take today off. Seriously, editing and polishing the Crow King’s Heir and getting everything ready for its launch was tedious this time around.

Editing in the background of covid19 sucks. Covid19 suck altogether, but it’s definitely affected my concentration. The news is always calling to me and I’m terrified sometimes. Not knowing how this will end is difficult for all of us. I need a day off, but today’s challenge is not to spend it with the news.

I’m relieved that it’s live now. Everyone can read it and find out Micah’s fate and stop asking me. I hate to say it, but when everyone first asked I had no clue whether or not I was going to kill off the Hemlock Universe’s favorite drummer. I had a loose plan for the war, but not his fate exactly. Either way, his fate is sealed and life is what it is. I’ve heard from some of the speedreaders of my page (you ladies amaze me with how quickly you ate my book lol) and no one’s threatened to lynch me yet so I guess it’s okay. lol

Today I’m hoping to get some reading done. I’m 1/3 of the way through Stephen King’s The Outsider and really want to know what the heck is going on. King’s good that way. I was listening to the Institute on audio book when I decided Micah’s fate. The books have zero in common except the bad guys are assholes like most bad guys are, but he KILLED MY FAVORITE CHARACTER! It’s a King book. I expect this to happen, but he killed him! I won’t say who, because it’s a fairly new book and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. That sealed Micah’s fate one way or the other.

This year I’ve read a lot more than I usually do in the beginning of the year. My yearly goal is 100 this time around. I read 81 last year and 58 the year before. So, here’s to topping both of those. I’m at 33/100 so far. 10 books ahead. In my teens I read so much and in my early 20s too. Then life happened and I didn’t get to read as much. Now, I protect that time as self care because I really do feel better on the days I read.

I’m off here to go to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d love Starbucks right now, but I’m isolating for social distancing. I haven’t been out (besides the yard) since the 14th. I’m finding new and creative ways to enjoy my free time at home.

Stay safe and help flatten the curve.


Insomnia in the Time of Covid19: Up late and hating it.

Hey guys! The world’s is a scary place to be right now and we can’t go anywhere else. I won’t be talking about the virus directly. I’m not a doctor or a scientist. I’m a storyteller with a lot of anxiety. There’s enough chaos out there without me adding to it. Be safe. Wash your hands. Stay home if you can and practice social distancing.

I have a lot of anxiety. I’ve mentioned this before. I talk about mental health a lot. I have another blog in draft right now talking about self-care and anxiety. I’ll finish it when I can. For now, I’m mostly here to ramble. Heck, if I keep having trouble falling asleep maybe I’ll make it a blog series.

A lot of things have us stressed out right now. I feel a bit guilty for worrying about the editing of my soon to be released novel, but I still have it. I work from home year round and I’m trying to carry on as normally as possible. Except, you know that’s next to impossible.

I worry about my friends and family. I worry about you guys. Heck, I’m worried about everyone. I’m worried for the earth. I’m starting to tune out of the news a lot more. I can’t sit and watch it every day and sink deeper into this hole.

I don’t usually make posts like this on this blog. I try to keep it upbeat and fun, but I wanted anyone who’s terrified to know you’re not alone.


I Did a 30 Day No Soda Challenge and this is Why I'm Not Looking Back

All the way back in simpler times of February 21st of this year I started the No Soda Challenge. I say simpler because of the recent developments and won’t ramble into thoughts of what should’ve been done differently between then and now. But it was February and in my small town it was simpler times.

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For years I struggled to lose weight (I lost a bunch and then gained half of it back after a trauma in my personal life) and with a life long addiction to soda. I hail from a part of the country where it’s not uncommon to see people dilute soda (pop, soda water, Coke, whatever you call it) into their small child’s bottle. Thus, in 1989/1990 my parents did too. I’m 30 now and this has been a life long addiction that I struggled to break through my 20s. Nothing really stuck, because quitting soda sucks! It really does. I won’t sugar coat my experiences with quitting. The first week was hell. i thought I’d die before I made it to day 30. Now, it’s been 32 days and I’m going strong. More or less, but more about that later.

First, let’s break it down by days and week.

Day One: I was okay. Tired, but I started the quit the night before so I was surviving. I drank coffee and tea (no sugar or sugar replacements) and survived just feeling brain dead.

Day Two: Felt like I was going to die. Tired. Had a headache. Everything made me want to cry. I missed carbonation. I didn’t supplement it, because I tried that before but somehow it always led me back to soda.

Day Three: Hell came to my small town. Usually, what happens is I give up about this point. Quitting soda gives you heart palpitations. Even my doctor told me this, but they give me panic attacks. So, I had a panic attack that night sure I was dying not from quitting soda but from some mysterious thing. Yep, that’s how panic attacks work. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Day Seven: By the end of the first week I was in awe of the fact I stuck it out that long. I was posting on my FB author page so I had some accountability to those who followed me there. I think this was my biggest motivation. I was posting daily updates and didn’t want to fail in front of my readers. It was only 30 days after all.

Week 2: I was back to work as normal, but had so much catching up to do on The Crow King’s Heir (Book 8 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga), because my first week off soda left me too brain dead to keep up with my normal word counts. So, I buckled down and worked. I still missed carbonation. It took me forever to get awake in the morning and I started dreaming about gas stations full of soda fountains. The dreams were so vivid I tasted my poison of choice: Pepsi.

Week 3: My third week of quitting soda was an exciting day. I finished my first draft of The Crow King’s Heir and a state of emergency was declared in the United States. Needless to say I wasn’t thinking much about soda at the time. I continued to make daily updates on my page, because I wanted to go on with life as normally as possible.

An old friend made a joke that she thought I’d only quit drinking soda at the end of the world… I was not impressed.

By the end of the third week I didn’t really miss carbonation anymore. I did still crave sugar at times. I’ve let myself have a couple glasses of orange juice a week. I know that fruit juice is just as bad for you with the sugar content – but it’s a happy medium for me. When I quit soda I was drinking probably 4+ cans a day. So, three glasses of orange juice a week is a huge improvement.

Week 4: I wasn’t really thinking about soda or how long I’d been quit. I was pretty sure I was done with it for good by this point. I didn’t want to waste anymore calories or money on it. Don’t get me wrong sometimes in the morning I still want the sugar.

Yesterday, I had a tiny drink of soda poured from a 20 oz bottle of a friend – freshly opened don’t worry about cooties and it didn’t taste right to me. It was like sugar beer or something. I can’t describe it. I didn’t even finish the tiny bit that was given to me. Seriously, don’t worry we practiced social distancing. She stood outside my window several feet back and we used hand sanitizer. She just wanted to check on me.

So… Why aren’t I going back?

  1. Don’t want to waste the money. It’s expensive to keep up with how much I was drinking a day. According to my QuitThat app I’ve saved just over $60 bucks so far.
  2. I’ve lost 9 lbs since quitting soda. Seriously, I’m not doing that much different. If anything I’m getting less exercise since I haven’t left the house since 3/14.
  3. I get full quicker and I’m not starving in the morning.
  4. Fruit tastes so good now – so sweet and delicious. I’ve always liked it but it’s a huge treat now when I have my daily fruit.
  5. I don’t want to worry about it during the ongoing current events.
  6. The health benefits are huge – we’ve all heard about them so I won’t list them here.
  7. I feel as if soda as I remember doesn’t exist in reality. What I remember is what my tongue with its taste buds ruined by years of soda recalls. That’s not how soda really tastes.
  8. I’ve come this far and don’t really want to give up the progress. I mean 32 days is a long time after being addicted for 30 years.
  9. My anxiety isn’t as bad.
  10. I don’t feel so stiff all over when I wake up in the morning.
  11. Quitting a 30 year habit makes me believe quitting cigarettes for good is possible. I quit last year for almost 7 months before falling back into the trap.
  12. Diabetes runs in my family. Quitting soda reduces my risk.

If you drink soda, I don’t care. lol I mean that in the nicest possible way. When I first told my friends I planned to quit – they all had the same worry: I’d nag them to quit. We all do things that are bad for us and we know we do. If you want to quit – just know you can do it. I did it. If you don’t, cheers! I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.

Readathons, Uncategorized

My O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon TBR

It’s almost April and you know what that means! It’s time for my second attempt at the O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon. Last year my O.W.L.’s were flawless. My N.E.W.T.s not so much. So, this year I won’t be going after writer/journalist again. I”m going the healer career path. While also going for the add-ons of Animagus Training and Legal Defense of Fantastic Beasts.

That’s 8 books which is more than doable with my reading record this year. (32/100 books so far as of 3/21/20.)

To accomplish my career and side courses I’ll need to accomplish the following.

Herbology: Mimbulus Mimbletonia: A title starting with M

See the source imageThis book is a reread for me, but it was the first book that came to mind when I read the prompt. It’s a really good series that I hope eventaully to reread in its entirety just not next month. lol

Charms: Lumios Maxima: A book with a white cover.

One thing that helps me in readathons is to leave some of the books up to what I feel at the time. This is one of those. Just glancing at myself I can see 6 books that have white covers. I have plenty to choose from and will when the time comes.

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Grindylows: A book set at sea or the coast.

See the source imageThis is another reread for me, but I haven’t read it since I was a teenager. I know Nicholas Sparks if famous for breaking hearts, but I really love some of his books.

Potions: Shrink Solution: A book with less than 150 pages

See the source imageI swear not every book for the readathon is a reread! There are some I haven’t read yet! BUT of course this is another reread. My copy of the Christmas Carol has about  125 pages. It’s an easy read I can finish in a setting and assure I get my potions O.W.L.

Transfiguration: Animagus Lecture: A book/series with shifters.

See the source imageThis is another reread from a favorite series. It’s not my favorite in the series that is Micah, but Micah was one of the books left with a friend after I moved. We were planning to ship everything soon, but… COVID19. My stuff can live where it is for now.

Arithamancy: Magical Qualities/Balance/Opposites.

Paris with You (Camden Cove #4)I read all over the place, but one genre I don’t read a lot of is sweet adult romance. I’ve read the other books in this series slowly over months, because they’re a nice change of pace but not my favorite by far.

Care of Magical Creatures: Hippogriffs: A creature with a beak on the cover.

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I’ve heard really good things about this one and it’s set on my shelf long enough. Time to finally crack it open. lol

History of Magic: Witch Hunts: A Series with a witch or wizard.

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Those of you who know me know this one is going to be an HP book. I’m doing a reread through the series this year as I’m in the mood for it. I don’t think I’ll start the next one (Order of the Phoenix) before next month so I can save it for this prompt.

That’s my TBR for next month. If I finish early (Which I might. I’m averaging 10 or 11 books a month this year I might try to add in some of the other prompts too just for the extra O.W.L.s

Are you participating in O.W.L.s Magical Readathon next month?

Readathons, Uncategorized

Readathons and Reading Challenges to Enjoy While Flattening the Curve

I’ve talked to friends, family, and readers who are all looking for a way to fill in time they’re spending at home. Of course, reading is our number one go-to,  but everyone could use a bit of spice in their life.

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So without any further ado… Let’s get onto it. readathons first. Of course, I’m biased and my favorite readathon is

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon.

It’s fun and a two parter with the first happening in April. Yep, I’m a big HP nerd (Proud Slytherin for life!!) and though the readathon doesn’t have to include the HP books it is based on the exams given at Hogwarts. I participated and passed my O.W.L.’s last April. My N.E.W.T.s in August were interrupted by some crap. So, I didn’t finish the challenge. This year, I’m trying again. Except I’m not going for writing. I’m going for healer. I might blog my readathon experience, but I’m not 100% positive I will.

Book Roast from Youtube (the host and creator of the readathon) can explain it much better than me. I’ll link her video below. FAQs, Career paths, and prompts can all be found in the description below her video on Youtube. The first part of this readathon runs the length of April.


Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon


This happens on April 25th this year according to the director’s Twitter. I participated in this one once or twice last year. It was great fun. Basically, you read as much as you can in 24 Hours. If my writing schedule allows it I will be doing this one this year. You can find more information here.


The PopSugar Reading Challenge

This is a year long challenge and you’re not behind if you didn’t already start. You can check out the prompts here.


Off the Grid Readathon April 17-19

This readathon encourages readers to put down their phones and read. This readathon encourages you to take as much time as you can away from all the daily distractions and really focus on reading. You can find more information here.


Queer Lit Readathon March 28 & 29 (weekend edition.) 

This readathon’s title explains it all. It’s all about LGBTQ+ reading and books. Hope my schedule let’s me participate in this one before O.W.L.’s start.


There are many many more readathons and reading groups spread across the internet. One I’m personally active is r/52Book over on Reddit. It’s a subreddit for those trying to read 52 books in a year, but anyone with a yearly reading goal (bigger or smaller) is welcome over there. It’s a friendly place to chat with other bookworms and to get reading recommendations.


Where Have I Been? (And some notes about book 8 of The Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga)


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Writing. Editing. Moving. Gaming. Reading. Everywhere except for on the blog, I guess. Life’s been crazy here and that was before people started hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and tomato sauce. (Yep, that one stuck with me. You know who you are if you told me that. lol)

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In January I made the choice to move again. Midwestern weather and me are not friends. I’m not Dorothy and have no ruby slippers so it’s been an adjustment process. Being back in my small hometown isn’t my idea of a great time, but it’s where I am for now and the foreseeable future.

I’ve addressed mental health on here before. COVID19 is messing with my head sometimes. Logically, I know social distancing, staying home (haven’t left my front porch since Saturday), good hygiene and all of that is the best I can do. On the other hand I’m a writer, so my brain is going crazy with possibilities if I’m not working/reading/gaming. So, I’m finding ways to stay busy. Working is my favorite way or will be once I can start book 9 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga. Yes, I know, you guys want book 8 first (The Crow King’s Heir.)

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I’m really excited to share this one with everyone! Yes- this reveals Micah’s fate for better or worse. This has been a challenging book to write. Heart wrenching, even at times, but I’m happy with how things worked out. I only have 2 chapters of rewrites left to do tomorrow. Then my lovely editor will start the next round of edits.

I hope to be more regular on the blog as staying home more gives me more free time. Coming up should be if my schedule doesn’t change: A list of readathons taking place over the next few weeks and similar things. We’re all stuck home alone together and I hope to fill in at least a bit of the gap we all have in our lives right now.

Stay safe and healthy and flatten the curve.