Finished!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Can you believe it’s already only four days until Christmas?  Where has December gone??

I just wanted to post an update on here that I FINISHED my novel!  I actually finished it back on December 14th, but I’ve been so busy with preparing for Christmas, job stuff, being a wife, dental issues, church, finances, keeping our kitten from destroying our apartment, shopping, and more, that I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  It’s been quite the month!

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However, since finishing my book, despite everything else going on, I’ve still been able to step back for a moment and sigh with relief.  It truly is the best feeling ever to finish an entire first draft of a novel.  Though I still have lots of editing and revisions ahead of me I’m sure, just knowing that the story from start to finish is down on paper, not just swimming around in my head, is an incredible feeling.  The story is there; now I have to polish it.  Also, considering I was starting to become a little fearful that I wouldn’t finish, I’m pretty relieved.  In fact, I was so determined to finish my book that I wrote 7,000 words on December 14th.  Which, if you don’t know, is a LOT.  Especially for one day.

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I wrapped up “The Cursed Blessing” at a total of 77,400 words.  I was aiming for somewhere between 70k and 80k, so I’m quite pleased with the result.  I have hopes to reach 80k in the editing process, but I guess we will see.

This book has been completely different from my other two novels.  Not only is it the shortest novel I’ve written, but it was the easiest to write by FAR, and it had the most fleshed-out/developed outline.  While my outline for my second book was simply a page with a “timeline” of plot events, the outline for TCB sat at over 6500 words, with each notable scene jotted down from the beginning to the end.  While I had to revise the outline for my second book about three times while writing the book, the outline for TCB stayed true and worked for the entire book.

I can’t help but wonder if my latest novel is shorter due to the fact that I had a stronger outline and a more developed concept of the book before even starting it than I had for either of my other books.  Thus, I was able to be more concise in my writing.

Another difference between TCB and my other novels is point of view.  For my two published novels, I wrote from various points of view, the main character being in first person, and then other parts of the story from different character points of view while using third person.  For TCB, I stuck to the main character’s head, in first person point of view.  The reader only knows what she knows, and honestly, I really liked that.  It makes sense that not writing scenes from other character points of view would shorten the book as well.

Though there is this entire idea behind NaNoWriMo of “quantity, not quality” (which, for a time bothered me, though I learned this November that they just meant you can always edit later–you can’t edit a book that doesn’t even exist to begin with), I do believe this book is my best work of “quality, not quantity.”

But I guess I’ll see if that still seems true when I start editing sometime in January. 😉

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Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I finished and after New Year’s I will start editing it, life permitting that is.  Work and being with my husband take priority.  For now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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-Tialla ❤

*Phew* It’s December!

The last time I graced this blog, I was considering doing NaNoWriMo, and if you don’t remember that blog post, you can read all about it here.

The reason for my absence since then has been preparing for and participating in said NaNoWriMo.  And I am happy to say that I finished my 50,000 words on my story with one week to go in November!  It was incredibly fun to sit down and pound out those words, oftentimes more than I needed, and watched the progress bar increase as I updated my daily word count.  Also, watching my writing buddies update their word count was a large part of the fun.  Writing a novel is usually such a solitary project that it was so nice to feel that community and sense of camaraderie as we all worked toward the same goal of 50k in thirty days.

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My book is not finished, but I only have about one-fourth left to write.  I’m currently at 56,000 words and I’m still trying to keep up the momentum of writing each day so I can finish this novel.  That fear of not finishing is starting to get to me, and I will do nearly anything to keep that from happening. So I keep telling myself, “I will finish, I will finish, and I will finish soon.”

I’d like to think that motivating self-talk is helping.

I may not be writing as much daily as I was during NaNoWriMo, but each word written is still more than I had the day before, and as my husband would say, that’s what matters.

Also, speaking of my husband, he rocks.  He spent all of November being my biggest encouragement, motivation, and simply put, my biggest fan.  I had my own personal cheerleader of sorts.  He spent each and every day telling me how much I could totally do this, and how he knew it would be amazing.  Yep, he’s amazing, and ladies, he’s mine. ❤

Now my goal is to simply finish this book before Christmas, preferably by the first half of December.  I’m planning on letting it sit until after New Year’s, at which point I will return to it with my red pen and edit the crap out of it.  I’ve promised my husband the very first read, and then my sister-in-law, a good friend of mine, and possibly an author friend.  I still don’t know if I will publish this book; I guess I will have to see how I feel about it once I’ve completed at least one round of editing.

For those of you who don’t know (that is, those of you who don’t follow me on my other social media), my book is titled, “The Cursed Blessing.”  Here is the synopsis:

“Crossing the ocean didn’t turn out quite how she expected.  Actually, not at all how she expected.  As she’s dragged through the icy water and she gulped her last breath of air, she knew this was the end.  But was it?”

Vague, but purposeful.  Also, book summaries are the bane of my writing existence.  (I know nearly every writer can attest to this as well.)  I wanted to spend more time writing the book itself than crafting the perfect summary, for now.

My designer for “Where Shadows Lie” created a cover for my NaNoWriMo book, which I simply love!

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And yes, there are mermaids.  You can get excited.  I know I am. *throws confetti*  I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid, so this book has been so much fun for me.  As a side note, this has been my first time writing fantasy and I am really loving it!  I’m sure I’ll be returning to fantasy again.

If you don’t hear from me again before the New Year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

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-Tialla

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo?

I’ve decided on doing NaNoWriMo this year!  For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month.  I haven’t done it before, and I’ve had hesitations due to the fact that I usually like to focus on quality, not quantity.  However, since I’m having a hard time getting back into writing, maybe just getting those words down on paper is exactly what I need.  After all, I can always focus on quality in the editing phase, after NaNoWriMo.  I may not succeed in finishing the novel during November, or maybe I will, who knows.  Also, even if I do succeed, this book might not end up published simply because I’m not doing NaNoWriMo to publish another book; I’m doing it for the joy of writing.  And because of that very fact, I’m very excited.  No pressure to perfect a book for readers; just writing to write.  Maybe that’s what I truly need to get into writing again, because it might be the whole process of publishing that is intimidating in the back of my mind somewhere, keeping me from pouring myself into it again.  Next month starts the serious planning stages, and I can’t wait!

I explain a lot more about my thoughts on NaNoWriMo in my latest vlog:

The Coconino County Fair

The county fair rolled into town this past weekend!  My family and I have gone to the fair every year for as long as I can remember.  It’s been a first-weekend-of-September tradition.  However, this year, Joshua and I were able to experience it together as a married couple!  Joshua has lived here in Flagstaff for a couple of years, but he hadn’t gone to the fair until now, so I felt rather honored to be the one to show him around.

The fair lasts four days and though my family and I would typically go on the first day (also known as “School’s Day”–when all the schools took field trips to the fair, including homeschoolers), Joshua and I didn’t end up going until the last day.  We also didn’t go until the afternoon, which unfortunately was fairly close to the end of the fair, so a lot of booths were already packing up.  However, it was still lots of fun.

(I forgot to take pictures other than on Snapchat, so you’ll have to forgive me.) 😉

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Upon entering the fair, we immediately headed for the food, because let’s be honest–that’s the best part of the fair.  We both LOVE funnel cakes, which was actually one of the first things we talked about when we initially began dating, haha!  We requested this funnel cake with powdered sugar, hot fudge, and caramel, which was fantastic! (As a side note, it was a bit of a breezy day, which meant I ended up with powdered sugar all over my shirt, pants, skin, and purse!  Haha!  Ah, the joys of powdered sugar.)

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And of course, what is a county fair without cotton candy and kettle corn?  Cotton candy was really just for the nostalgia, but the caramel kettle corn was delicious!  Sweet and salty!

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All in all, it was a wonderful time!  We walked through the food vendors, then continued onto the booths and exhibits as I pointed out various places I had entered items when I was younger.  We didn’t have a chance to go on rides as they are very expensive, but it was still fun showing them to Joshua!

Do you enjoy attending county fairs?  What is your favorite part of the fair?

-Tialla

Our Honeymoon!

We were blessed to have an absolutely fabulous honeymoon.  Though I must say, Joshua and I are both introverts and huge “home bodies.”  Thus, the more adventurous part of our honeymoon–aka, the parts with out of state/out of country traveling–definitely had us wishing for home, even with how much fun we had.

Anyway, our honeymoon started in Sedona, Arizona.  Sedona is an absolutely beautiful place here in Arizona, so if you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it!  The town is surrounded with beautiful red rocks formations and gorgeous valleys.  However, there are some really weird things about Sedona as well.  Such as the belief in vortexes is huge, the amount of palm readers and mystical shops is surprising, and everything is overpriced because, well, tourists.  We knew about all this before deciding to spend the first few days of our honeymoon in Sedona.  However, Sedona is still beautiful and it’s a really cute town, so we planned on it, and we don’t regret it!  In fact, it was our favorite part of the honeymoon.  But Sedona does have another quirk we discovered: everything, literally EVERYTHING is closed at 9, or maybe 9:30 at the latest.  Even Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC–everything.  So weird, and a little unhelpful when you and your newlywed husband want a late night snack.  The only business we found open was a Bashas’ grocery store, so at least we had that!

We also got a free car wash when we drove up with our “Just married” decorations.  It only helped us love Sedona even more!

Here are some photos from our Sedona adventures….

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We saw Tarzan! Honestly, I don't remember much from it, though.

We saw Tarzan! I don’t remember much from it, though.

 

Dinner at "Golden Goose Grill" which was delicious and service was phenomenal! We had the entire patio to ourselves. :D

Dinner at “Golden Goose Grill” which was delicious and the service was phenomenal! We had the entire patio to ourselves. 😀

 

Starbucks of course. One of my favorite photos of us. <3

Starbucks of course. One of my favorite photos of us. ❤

Our next stop on our honeymoon was the Flagstaff train station!  We took the train from Flag to LA!  It was SO exciting.  We loved it, and are totally planning on taking the train again when we want to travel somewhere out of state.  Way easier than dealing with airports!

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We got a sleeper roomette, which made it so much easier for the overnight trip than sitting upright in coach. ;)

We got a sleeper roomette, which made it so much easier for the overnight trip than sitting upright in coach. 😉

 

Once in LA, we took a cab to the cruise ship port!  As first-time cruisers, we were both very confused about where to go, who to talk to, or what to do, and people seemed very reluctant to help.  That was discouraging, but we finally figured it out!

Also, the Queen Mary was right next to our ship in LA.  If we wanted to do another “cruise,” I think we would just go on the Queen Mary because it is stationary!  We had fun on the cruise (the unlimited food and free room service being the best part), but the motion of the ship got to us (not making us sick, just throwing us “off” all the time), and it was too crowded/too rowdy.  It was a party cruise for sure, haha!  And we are too introverted for that. 😉

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

First glimpse of our ship!

First glimpse of our ship!

 

The interior of our ship was very much into bronze, gold, and LOTS of colors. A little dated in my opinion, but maybe that's just because it was headed to Mexico!

The interior of our ship was very much into bronze, gold, and LOTS of colors. A little dated in my opinion, but I suppose they were going for a “festive” look since the ship was headed to Mexico!

 

Pano of the very top deck!

Pano of the very top deck!

 

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My favorite part of our room would definitely be the portholes and window seat!

My favorite part of our stateroom would definitely be the portholes and window seat!

 

Pano of Mexico!

Pano of Mexico!

 

We definitely had fun! It was a bit windy so my hubby had to hold my hat. <3

We definitely had fun! It was a bit windy so my hubby had to hold my hat. ❤

 

All dressed up for fancy night!

All dressed up for fancy night!

 

Our waiter was so nice on the last night of our cruise!  He had this small cake made for us!

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We had quite a gap between disembarking from our cruise ship and catching our train back to Flag, so we took a cab to an outlet mall.

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Yep, on our honeymoon, we joined all the little kids and saw The Secret Life of Pets. With all of our luggage still with us, because there was no where to put it. The movie was cute!

Yep, on our honeymoon, we joined all the little kids and saw The Secret Life of Pets. With all of our luggage still with us, because there was nowhere to put it. The movie was cute!

 

After the movie we walked outside for a while, found a Barnes and Noble, and browsed there for a bit.

 

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The view from the cab.

The view from the cab.

 

And the train ride back to Flagstaff!

And the train ride back to Flagstaff!

 

After we got back to Flagstaff, we still had another week set aside for our honeymoon, giving us two weeks total.  Unfortunately, Joshua did have to work half-days that week, and even though we didn’t like being separated for that, it was helpful to have something for a paycheck. 🙂  All in all, it was lots of fun, and a wonderful time to just relax with each other.  We definitely miss those days of spending every moment together without the need to go to work or anything, but we enjoyed it while it lasted!

-Tialla

The Dry Well | A Writing Update

The Dry Well {A Writing Update}

Some, or perhaps all, of you may have noticed my lack of blogging for quite a while.  A large part of this absence from blogging in the past 11 1/2 months (wow, almost a year!) has been due to God bringing a very special man into my life–the man I now call my husband.  However, it’s been longer than that since my consistent blogging, probably since I published my second novel, “Where Shadows Lie” in June of 2015.  Ever since I decided to take a break from writing at that point, I haven’t blogged very much.  It’s been one post here or there, every month, or couple of months truly.  My blog has become a place for general updates–how I spent my summer, haircuts, big news, dating, engagement, and marriage.

I would like to take back my blog to the place I consistently updated, but I’m not even sure how to now.  It’s been so long, and my life has changed so drastically since that was a priority for me.  I started this blog when I was fourteen and in school and now I’m nearly twenty-one, married, and working.  Life is 100% different in every way.  I feel like I have grown up with this blog, but I don’t quite know where to go with it now.  I don’t even read blogs like I used to–I have severely cut back on my blog subscriptions and I only follow at most five blogs now.  I am more particular about what I put energy into reading, and I hardly update my blog because I just don’t know what to write.  I love my life, but it simply isn’t fascinating enough to share about all the time.  Honestly, I feel like that has a large part in all this: what to write.  And that actually brings me to the topic I wanted to share.

I am a writer and a published author.  Writing is my passion and nothing else quite compares to the thrill of seeing a book go from an idea to a published novel in the hands of readers.

It kills me that I have absolutely zero passionate story ideas to follow right now.  I am dying to start writing a new book and begin that process all over again; to experience the joy of a story unfolding before my eyes as I type away.  The truth is, my imagination feels like a dry well right now.  Perhaps I need to just wait for things to settle down with my marriage and then I’ll have an idea to run with.  People ask me when my next book will be out, they wonder what I’m working on…because surely, as an author, I always have a ready spring of ideas to pull from.  I watch my favorite authors as they release book after book, year after year, and I can’t help but marvel how they have all these great ideas–they never run out!

So, to be completely honest, I’m a bit at a loss right now in my writing.  But I refuse to give up and I am keeping my imagination wide open for an idea that I can latch onto and mold into a story.  I have high hopes that I just need to wait for life to settle a bit, and then it will come to me.  We will see, I suppose!

The same concept applies to blogging.  I still don’t know how to start consistently blogging again because I simply don’t know what to write about.  Perhaps I will post more book reviews here, but even as much as I love books, those reviews don’t feel personal enough for my blog.  Perhaps I will post more vlogs, but I have a hard time filming those because I’m such an introvert.  Or perhaps, through trial and error, I will find something that suits me, and discover my blogging niche.

Until then, thanks for sticking with me, friends!

-Tialla