Put a fork in me…

I’m not really done at all.

stick a fork in it

BUT BUT BUT! Yesterday, November 24, 2015, I hit my 50,000 words to WIN at 2015 NaNoWriMo.


Last year I won on November 23. I’m trying hard not to let it get to me that I was a day slower this year. This November was pretty busy. I took a professional certification exam on the 11th (and in 1-4 weeks, I should hear if I passed. Wankers.) and I traveled for work last week (and also my train killed a person, which totally ruined my word count for the the evening as well as ruining other people’s lives and my ability to ride anything with wheels or the equivalent comfortably – DON’T RACE THE TRAIN, MORONS! AND IF THE GATE IS DOWN, JUST WAIT.).

So, busy month!

Plus, you know, job. Job that I love with the intensity of a thousand black holes suns.

But I did it. I got 50,000 words into the newest book in twenty-four days. That’s writing a little under 2100 words a day while also parenting and working and commuting and being a good(ish?) partner and friend.

So, I’m totally a winner.

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I have a shirt that says so and everything.

The big question looms, though!



Next I finish this book, which is the first in a new series.

Next I send out my other book (the first in the previous series) to three more beta readers (PSM Cat was my first reader).

Next I start edits on either current book OR book 2 in the first series.

Next I outline book 2 in the new series.

Next I need to do revisions on book one in original series based on reader feedback.

Next I hire an editor/try to get an agent/self-pub/a little unclear on this one – still kind of hoping for a six figure advance on my new book deal.

Next I just keep writing and editing and writing and editing.

Also next? I need to figure out when I’m going to go for a run, because November  always kills my fitness, what will the obsessive writing and still having a job thing.

Next, I just keep writing.

neil gaiman writing

Book Review: Waking Hearts

Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows I have mad love for Elizabeth Hunter. She is a gifted writer whose world-building skills are phenomenal. It’s entirely possible that I am deeply in love with one of her characters who likely isn’t real, but if it ever turns out that he’s returning my interest, I’d be out of here (here being Portland with the kidlet, etc) for life in Wales in a heartbeat.

AHEM! We are not here to talk about my crush on Carwyn.

We are here to talk about the newest book in Ms. Hunter’s Cambio Springs mystery series.

waking hearts cover

I’m not just saying this because I got an Advanced Copy of the book – this book was amazeballs.

First of all, a romance novel set between people who are a bit older and a bit softer and with four kids? That’s full of crazy. Everyone knows romance only happens between ridiculously hot people in their 20s with impossibly tight bodies.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Blurb

When everything you’ve longed for is standing right in front of you, would you find the courage to chase it when you’ve given up on dreams?

Fox shifter Alison Smith gave up on happy endings when her ex-husband walked out, but that didn’t mean she was allowed to give up on happiness. With four growing kids, Allie is determined to look on the bright side and carry on, even when life seems to keep kicking the girl who’s fallen down.

Four kids, two jobs, and a pile of debt left over from her ex seem overwhelming most days. Luckily, Allie has the best friends a girl could ask for. Especially a certain quiet bear who’s always been her rock.

Patient. Oliver Campbell knows what it means to be patient. But twenty years of wanting one unavailable woman may have pushed him to the edge. With Allie working every night at his bar, their friendship has begun to fracture.

Then old ghosts offer one more kick to the little family that’s already down, and patience is a virtue Ollie can no longer afford. Allie’s ex-husband may be gone, but his actions are haunting his family. With danger licking the borders of Cambio Springs, the bear and the fox will have to work together. And twenty years of unspoken truths may finally come to light.

waking hearts blur


My Thoughts

Usually when I’m reading a book I intend to review, I go fairly slowly, highlighting (love ereaders for this), and taking notes so that when I go to review, I have my thoughts and favorite quotes and everything all ready to go, making the review process fairly easy.

I did not do that this time. This book was so freaking good that I totally forgot to take any notes or do any highlighting.


I seriously highlighted one thing, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it spoke to me on a visceral level.

“…the band’s good, right? I remember them from last time.”

I mean that’s not normally what I’d pull out of a book to convince other people of its sheer awesomeness, unless you like books that have mention of good bands.

I love the band

What I really liked was the realness of having four kids and trying to blend that into a house that previously had zero kids. The interruptions you face when you’re just trying to get some kissy face time in, the sibling fights (thanks be to Freya I only have the one kid, although sometimes I think if he had a sibling maybe he’d fight with her [her name is Eleanor Jane and she’s completely imaginary] instead of me).

ANYWAY, sidetracked again.

The kids were written so well, and the way both Ollie and Allie interacted with them was realistic and fantastic.

I’m not going to lie – I tend to distribute my lust towards different types of shifters, although recent conversations with Ms. Hunter (always so formal in the reviews) and my PSM have opened my eyes to the wonders of bear shifters (and opened my pocketbook to another damn series, damn you women).

Ollie is what you hope an Alpha male will be in the paranormal romance world but that you seldom get. Strong, protective, a little hot-headed, dead sexy, but also completely respectful to the woman he loves, great with kids, and not pushy when it comes to the more physical parts of their relationship.


So often you get the Alpha male pushing too hard, spouting “destined mate” crap, and more incidences of mate-rape than one should ever have. (The number you should have is exactly zero.)

Ollie is protective of Allie, especially as the danger and tension start to heat up, but he also recognizes that she is a strong, capable woman who can do for herself. He just wants to let her know that she doesn’t always have to anymore.


Notable Quotes

This book, in addition to being a serious romance and an exciting mystery definitely had some funny moments.

Ollie volunteered to help hang the laundry. It is lingerie…

“It’s just underwear, Ollie. Everybody wears it.”

“No.” He straightened, a pair of black lace panties dangling from one finger. She had to admit they were small. Even by her standards. His eyes were angry, and he sounded pissed off. “Not everyone wears these.”

A kidlet argument

In the end, the festering argument was ended by the figurative hand of God.

“Enough!” Allie finally yelled. “We are getting ready for church…[a]nd you’re both going to pray for each other during silent prayers.”

And the romance

Ollie thought he’d known what fear tasted like, but he hadn’t known. Not until a small blond woman and four precious kids invaded his house and his heart. He thought he’d loved her before.

He had no idea.


Final Thoughts

This was a wonderful book. If you haven’t already, read the first couple in the series:

Shifting Dreams (1)

Desert Bound (2)

Waking Hearts (3)

And then read everything else Elizabeth has ever published. You will not be sorry.

(Waking Hearts in on Kindle Unlimited! You have no excuses.)

*I got this book for free as an ARC in exchange for an honest review and possibly a martini – I’m a bit unclear on that part.

Now that I’ve eased you back in gently (twss)

It’s time for everyone’s favourite game: NAVEL GAZING!


Not nearly as exciting as naval gazing

The drugs I’ve been taking since early September are working great. My kid is healthy again. The architect is super. I have wonderful new people in my life that I didn’t have at this time last year.

There’s really only one problem.


Still one misstep from tipping over.

Still one misstep from tipping over.

I still have none and what’s suffering now are two things.

Thing the first: the health stuff – the eating well and exercising. I have a 10K in 2 and a half weeks. I haven’t run in almost a month. So that’s going to go well. I have a half marathon in just over 3 months. One that I’m traveling for. I may be walking it. That’s a totally legitimate way to go 13 miles.

This used to be my favorite thing...

This used to be my favorite thing…

I miss running in a totally abstract way. I miss wanting to run and enjoying running, but I don’t actually miss running at all. I can’t even talk myself onto the trails, and I love(d) trail running.

I need more time or more energy or more hours in the day.

Every meme that says I have the same number of hours as Beyonce can bite me. Does Beyonce spend 2 hours/day commuting on public transporation? I doubt it. Also, she has a staff.

Every meme that says I have the same number of hours as Beyonce can bite me. Does Beyonce spend 2 hours/day commuting on public transportation? I doubt it. Also, she has a staff.

Thing the second: I kinda want to spend less hours commuting to work and being at work and working. I also want to continue to get paid because I like (well, like is such a strong word) paying my car payments and student loan payments and mortgage payments and eating. (I do like eating. That is completely sincere.)

The desire to work less seems to be at direct odds with the desire to keep receiving my paycheck. I need some kind of magic. Or to just move my office to the basement with my stapler and write all day because the money keeps coming and everything thinks I’ve been fired.


This session of navel gazing is brought to you by 5 hours of sleep/night (sleeping like a pro!) + writing every morning at 5 + a full-time job with a commute + family, both the architect & Bean and the wider reaching family…

Anyone have some advice on how to make the 3.5 year old start running with me? And keeping up? And not bitching about his legs being broken two blocks in? (Why isn’t he an athlete yet? Shorty.)

Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

What I really really want is someone to come to my house and look at my stuff and say, “Amy! I can fix this! This is what we’re going to do.” And then that person will organize and rearrange my whole life and help me make and stick to meal plans and call me once a week to yell at me (in an encouraging factor) and everything will work out and I will live happily ever balancing work and writing and exercise and parenting and partnering and eating well.

So, if you are that person, call me!


call me


So, I know it’s been a month since I’ve graced you with my presence and everyone’s been refreshing constantly trying to find out if my eye issue resolved itself.

You can breathe a sigh of relief. It did.

However, I apparently shared with all and sundry (so sorry) including my kid who ended up with the most horrific eye infection I’ve ever seen. Five doctor’s visits, including the ophthalmologist, lots of drops and ointments and finally oral antibiotics, and it’s finally *knock on all the wood* cleared up.

It was so bad that I came back a day early from my Vegas conference to take care of the little freak.

In the care of the sister wife whilst I was winging my way home.

In the care of the sister wife whilst I was winging my way home.

At his ophthalmologist appointment, nine days into the oral antibiotics, there was still infection present all around that poor right eye, but at least he could open it by then.

Eye exams are way more fun for the small set

Eye exams are way more fun for the small set

The good news is that other than the disgusting tears of blood issue, he has perfect vision! Hooray?


Of course, this immediately preceded the most important holiday of all time. Halloween.

The Bean was Captain Barnacles, but refused to wear either the polar bear hat or the Captain’s hat, so he mostly looked like a kid in blue pajamas.

I am dressed as Captain Barnacle's polar bear mother in this shot.

I am dressed as Captain Barnacle’s polar bear mother in this shot.

The architect, sister-wife & I threw a party on the 30th and it was great fun. I took zero pictures, so you’ll have to content yourself with this photo of me as The Morrigan, Celtic battle goddess and chooser of the slain.

2015-10-30 18.55.09

You may be saying to yourself, wait…isn’t that what you did last year?

NO, people…stay with me. Last year I was a Valkyrie – a NORSE battle goddess and chooser of the slain.

Hallowe’en itself was, of course, the architect’s and my nine-year anniversary, so we got gussied up and went out for a night on the town. We partied like it was 1999. Or something.

2015-10-31 20.44.43

And now, here we are, the ninth day of November.

It’s writing month for me. I finished edits on my book I’d been working on the last week of October and sent them off to my PSM. She has assured me that it didn’t suck. She did, however, complain that there was not enough surprise breastmilk fetishes or shockers, so I’ll need to remedy that for book two. (She did not say that.)

So now I’m 16K words into a new book. Different series. This one is less light (if you can call a mid-apocalyptic book light) and is requiring lots more research.

But a small sampling of what I need to read.

But a small sampling of what I need to read.

I’m having to beef up my Swedish language lessons and spend most of my time alone in the car listening to language tapes now (instead of Irish drinking songs). I actually bought a book in Swedish and was relieved that I understood enough to accurately calculate the exchange rate from Krona to dollars.

In addition, I’ve gotten really, really serious about the writing this year.

2015-11-01 08.54.42

All the most serious writers exercise their craft in mythological creature onesies.


Happy November! I hope all of you nanowrimo-ers are killing your word counts and at least a few of your characters.


Every year I dedicate my month of writing to my Dad – an avid nanowrimo-er himself – and this year is no different. He appears on my buddy list each year and I will never take him off.


Always my writing inspiration


Red-Eyed Bruise Beast, at your service

So I am having some kind of weird allergic reaction to…the world, I guess. I always knew there was something wrong with the unwashed (m)asses.


It started Saturday. Every time I went outside my eyeballs started itching. Sunday morning, I looked terrible.

Some eyedrops later, I look partially human again, but every time I went outside, I’d swell right up again.

Monday morning I couldn’t open my eyes. That is awesome. By Monday afternoon, I could barely see. One of the bonuses of working in a hospital is that when I call for a same day appointment and they have an opening in 10 minutes, I can get there.


My eyes were redder

Turns out I has an allergy. The doc said that the ragweed is the worst this year and even people who typically do not suffer from seasonal allergies (like me) are suffering. I have claritin and medicated eye drops and now I look less like this:


And more like this:

slightly less hideous today

slightly less hideous today

(So, just tired and like I’d been punched in the face.)

That combined with an astonishing number of bruises on my body make me look…less than my optimal attractiveness. So, I apologize to anyone brave enough to beard the red-eyed bruise beast in her den later. I hope my horrible visage doesn’t permanently scar your retinas…

And Freya willing, I’ll have normal colored sclera tomorrow.