Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Fishy Tale

I recently had the bright idea to get a fish for my nieces. I assumed this would be a straight-forward process; go to the pet store, pick fish, bring fish home, put fish in the tank. Voila! We have a pet fish.

Things never go as planned.

I did take a lovely, short, trip to the pet store with both young nieces in tow (ages 3 and 1, to give you perspective). The dead fish on the bottom of every tank notwithstanding, we did pick two fish and bring them home. It was simple, it was done. Two little goldfish to brighten our lives.

Here are Willie and Gooey (haha, I didn't name them) acclimating to their new can't really see them, to be honest. That fleck of orange is Gooey.

Unfortunately, Willie and Gooey only lived in our tank for a matter of hours. They were soon as dead as those other unfortunate fish at the pet store. Actually, the deceased on the bottom of those tanks really should have been a red flag. Oh well.

My eldest niece did rather enjoy flushing the dead fish away.

The next day, I decided we would try again. Of course, it happened to be raining that day, but that did not deter us. We set forth through the downpour on a quest to find a fish that would not die. And in that spirit, we went to the other pet store in town. There were no ranks of corpses floating in these tanks. And we got a fish!

This is Ocean (again, I don't name the fish). I have not yet been able to capture just how gorgeous her blue fins are, but this will give you some idea...

Ocean is very much alive, thankfully. We hope she stays that way.

So that is the tale of how I found a fish for my nieces. I'm obsessed with this fish, by the way. She's gorgeous! My niece chose well...the second time (Although, I'm going to say the first time wasn't her fault. They were just a bad batch of fish).

Do you have any pets? Have you ever had any mishaps when obtaining pets? I would love to hear about your adventures!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Book Review: Jane Austen

This is not going to be like my other book reviews. I'm not really reviewing at all. I'm just fangirling. Bear with me.

So, I recently re-read some of my favorite books...a wonderful set of books by a wonderful author. Books that I re-read constantly, and love more every time that I do. Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, EmmaMansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan. They are all immensely delightful tales that I adore.

Austen's characters are always vibrant and entertaining, her commentaries on society witty and sharp, her dialogue clever, and her narration brilliant and amusing.

Austen is brilliant, and I couldn't possibly begin to even pretend to critique her writing. No words could ever truly express how remarkable and talented her writing is either. So I will leave it simply as she's amazing and so are her books.

Pride & Prejudice

This story follows the life of Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters as they try to navigate society in 19th century England; the balls, the scandals, and the falling in and out of love. Lizzie is an intelligent, witty young lady who is not afraid to speak her mind or point out the follies and foibles of the people around her.

Pride and Prejudice is the first Austen novel I read as a child, and certainly the most popular to modern audiences in terms of the number of adaptions to movies, mini-series, spin-offs, and such-like. I will never tire of reading it. I've also decided that I relate most to Mr. Darcy in this book.

Sense & Sensibility

This novel offers a portrait of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who embody the two qualities set forth in the title. Elinor, the elder of the two, is intelligent, loving, and wise enough to see the potential folly in failing to temper emotion with good sense. Marianne, although sharing many of these qualities, lacks her sister's wisdom; she is, as Austen describes her, 'everything but prudent.'

Sense and Sensibility will never get old. Also, my younger sister and I are very much Marianne and Elinor.


Young and beautiful Emma Woodhouse meddles in the love lives of her friends. Misunderstandings abound.

I don't think that needs any more explanation...

Emma was always the book that I had the most fun reading growing up. I've read all of Austen's books many times over, but for some unexplainable reason, Emma could hold my attention easier than the others. Perhaps the style it is written in is more captivating to me than the others, despite the fact that the main character is so aggravatingly annoying. It might also be because Mr. Knightly is my hero far more than Mr. Darcy ever could be.

Mansfield Park

Fanny Price, a frail, quiet young woman, is reared from the young age of ten among her wealthy relatives, the Bertrams. Fanny is an unobtrusive presence in the household, and steadfast in her secret affection for her cousin Edmund.

I still remember the first time I read Mansfield Park. I was bored to tears and couldn't finish it. It is crazy for me to think about that time in my youth because now I could read it in a day, never putting it down. Fanny is certainly one of my favorite Austen ladies. She's far different from most Austen heroines, though. She has none of the high spirits or the wit that accompany the likes of Elizabeth Bennet or Marianne Dashwood. But she has a quiet strength and a resolution to adhere to her values and beliefs that is admirable.

Northanger Abbey

Catherine Morland believes she is destined to become a heroine like those in her favorite gothic novels. Her chance to prove this destiny comes when a wealthy neighbor invites her along on a visit outside of her small village, to the city of Bath. There a whole new world is opened to Catherine. She meets Isabella Thorpe, who is more worldly than Catherine and takes it upon herself to instruct Catherine in the ways of society.

Northanger Abbey; the one that I read the least often. It is as amazing as the others, but when I have to choose between 7 novels, I generally go with my favorites. This story will still easily captivate me, however, when I do choose to read it. Austen never failed to write brilliantly.


27-year-old Anne Russel regrets breaking off her engagement with Captain Frederick Wentworth. They wanted to be married at 19, but her father, sister, and mentor all disapproved the match. When Anne and Wentworth meet again so many years later, it takes many trials and mishaps for them to reconcile.

The one I often forget, the one that when I read it I remember is my favorite after all (excepting Lady Susan, of course). This story is perfection. Absolute perfection.

Lady Susan

Lady Susan is a beautiful and charming widow intent on making every man in England fall in love with her, married or otherwise, and has her eye particularly on Reginold Vernon, her brother-in-law, a man who very much disapproves of 'the most accomplished coquette in England'.

Ah, Lady Susan. My favorite Austen story, hands down. This one is different from the others in many ways. In the first place, it was published posthumously. Secondly, instead of being written in the narrative form, it is, in fact, a series of letters between a handful of individuals. And it is a full-on comedy. Austen incorporates a great deal of the comic in all her stories, and she is also a brilliant critic of society. Lady Susan, though, is the height of her comedic endeavors. And I love it! The titular character is a truly terrible person, but her many adventures amuse me.

So there you have it. Austen is brilliant, her books are amazing, and everyone needs to read them.

P.S. If you are interested in Jane Austen, I also have a fun little post from eons ago that you can read: The Janeite Tag

Saturday, August 10, 2019

2019 Quaterly Writing Goals #3

It has been far too long since I have blogged. I seem to have forgotten this corner of the internet existed! I have finally returned from my long absence, with a simple post of little consequence.

Quarterly Writing Goals!

This quarter sneaked up on me and took me by surprise. How could it possibly be the third quarter of the year already? And for that matter, how could it possibly be the second month of that quarter?

For anyone who does not already know, quarterly writing goals are simply goals that I make in order to motivate myself to be productive, and I intend to complete them within a three month period (or "quarter" of the year). The past quarter was summertime, so one would think there would be an ample amount of time to be productive and get tons of work done. One would be wrong to think so. I am incredibly lazy when I do not have structure, and as I had the summer off of work, I had no structure.

Nothing got done.

With that in mind, what were my goals and did I accomplish them?

Goal #1 Finish A Promise to Keep. This has been a goal for far too long...and will remain so because I did not finish writing this novel.

Goals #2 was to edit each individual point of view character arc for the novel Return to Sherwood so that I could start the real editing process with my editors. I did not even begin this behemoth of a task.

Goal #3 was the Cover Art for Return to Sherwood, which I had lined up but then fell we're back to square one and this has not been accomplished.

Goal #4 was my conference in April. I did attend this! But I did not quite fulfill my projected sales.

Goal #5 was to outline my fantasy, nope. Did not happen.

Goal #6 was to world build my fantasy novel. Ha. Nope.

Goal #7 was to start writing that fantasy novel. Which I did not.

Goal #8 was simply to purchase more ISBNs...and I did not do that either.

Wow. Look at that. I did all of 1 of my 8 goals, and that 1 was not a resounding victory (totally worth it though, side note. I LOVE going to that conference).

So, what am I going to do in the next month and a half before this quarter ends? I'm so glad you asked. And yes, I do intend to actually get things done. You see, I'm back at work again. Structure. Less time to write and edit and such like? More writing and editing and such like will be accomplished. Don't try and follow that logic. It's just the truth.

Finish A Promise to Keep  For real this time. I have to finish this manuscript.

Edit RS POVs  I have written a novel from many different points of view (POVs) and before I can send it off to editors I must make sure that every single POV is complete. I can't have a character arc fall through the cracks. So I have to edit each individual story as if it were just that; its very own story. This task appears terrifying but is absolutely necessary. I'm not sure how much I can get done between now and Quarterly Writing Goals #4, but I will do my best.

Send Return to Sherwood to editors  This will only happen if I do the above step...

Purchase ISBNs an author can never have too many...

Restart the Cover Art process for Return to Sherwood  Hopefully this time it works out.

Only 5 thus far, but one of them is worth about 15 (the number of POVs in that massive novel). Let's see what I can do!

In the meantime, Happy Writing, everyone!!