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Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

Last year, my posts on here dropped off dramatically. Between the ending of the Trifecta Writing Challenges in March of 2014 and taking on a larger number of substitute shifts at work, I lost a lot of my motivation and time to write. And it showed. Compare my 51 total posts in 2014 to my 12 total posts in 2015.

So far in 2016, I’ve written more than 2/3 of the number of posts I wrote last year, and I don’t intend to slow down again. Am I any less busy? No. Not by a long shot. But I’m getting better at balancing, and protecting my writing time. I’m seeking out new writing challenges and getting back into some like Chuck’s Terrible Minds Challenges.

It’s going to be a fun year. Thanks for sticking around.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to this year.

I’m going to get caught up on Welcome to Night Vale. I’m only about a dozen episodes behind right now. That’s not too shabby for only having started listening to the show back in February. I’m also reading the novel, which I received for Christmas. It’s proving to be just as much fun as the show itself.

My high school class will be holding our ten year reunion this summer. Despite most of us still living within a few hours of our hometown, we haven’t spent a lot of time together since graduation. It’ll be good to see old friends again.

When you’re a part of it, Ren Faire is always just around the corner. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and to celebrate, we’ll be open for nine weekends instead of the usual eight.

I found an amazing book challenge via one of my facebook friends. Take a look. I’ll be working through this checklist as I work toward my goodreads goal of 100 books.

2016 Reading Challenge

I’m looking through potential titles to read for all of these, and I’m not going to allow a single title to fulfill multiple requirements, even though some certainly could.

I’m going to learn Numenera. I bought the boxed set last summer, and I’ve been wanting to really get into it. It seems like an absolutely incredible RPG, and I love learning new systems. I’m also hoping for some more stuff from Wizards for 5th Edition D&D.

And there’s my goals for this year.

I’m pretty damn excited for 2016. I look forward to having you along for the ride.

Well, it’s not quite what I would’ve liked it to be, but here’s a summary of my slowest year since starting this blog.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 has been an incredibly big year for me, but not so much on the writing front. It’s become painfully clear to me over the last few weeks that this needs to change. I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, though. Sure, they’re a good way to plan out some of the changes that you’d like to make over the coming year, but how many of them are abandoned? According to research, about 92%. So it’s not good enough to make this just a 2016 resolution. It’s got to be more than that. So, here we go.

1.) Write more. I know, this one’s fairly obvious. I didn’t get a whole lot written during the course of the past year, and I need to focus on that. I’ve neglected my blog, and therefore neglected you, dear readers. That’s not fair to any of us. If I’m going to be a writer, I have to write. “Art harder, motherfucker.” Part of this includes starting up a journal again. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I kept a regular journal, something that I used to work on every day. At the very least, it’s a way of ensuring that I write something (anything) more frequently. It’s all about developing a rhythm. Writing needs to be my strongest habit.

2.) Submit more work. I’m totally okay with getting rejection letters, but I have to, you know, actually send stuff in to publications in order to get said aforementioned rejection letters. And who knows. Maybe somebody will like what I send them (I’m open to recommendations, by the way).

3.) Draw more. It gets my creativity going, and I know that’s been a major issue as far as #1 has been concerned. I’ve been trying to get back into it, since I’ve always love to draw. I found my art supply tote from college, and so I’m going to be breaking out the charcoals again for the first time in a loooooong time. I also want to get back into pencil drawings (way less messy and so much easier to take on the go—and an example of some of my work from high school can be found here).

4.) Communicate more. I’ve been kind of in hermit mode for a lot of the past year. While I did see my family a lot (having two sisters get married in the same year will do that), I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of my friends as I would have liked, especially considering that some of them have moved closer. Some will also be moving away soon, and I want to see them before they go.

5.) Vote. What? It’ll be a presidential election year. If you’re eligible to vote in the US, get out and fucking do it. This applies every year, but since more focus is given to presidential elections, I’m making a special note of it. I’m not going to go into any sort of depth on my political viewpoints here. This isn’t the place for such things. Those of you who know me well should have a pretty good idea of who I’m rooting for anyway.

6.) Get full-time employment. You’d think that with almost five years at my current employer this one would be a gimme. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately, I’m getting a lot of substitute shifts. Substitute shifts are good, and definitely help to pay the bills. However, locking in full-time would give me a great deal of job security. Is it the ultimate solution to financial woes? No, but it’s better than hoping that another one of my co-workers gets sick or goes on vacation or has a baby or what have you.

7.) Read more. I’ve knocked out 187 books so far, according to Goodreads, and I’m pretty pleased. My goal for the year was fifty. And yes, many of them were graphic novels, but I still got through all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, along with several other longer novels. I’d still like to read more. I’d always like to read more. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that everything that I read is helping me provide better guidance to library patrons looking for their next book.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start to planning my year. Stick around, dear readers. There’ll be new stories coming your way soon.

And hey. Thanks.

I’m really not, honest. I’ve just been swamped for the last couple of months. I’ll have new stuff and a summer recap or two up soon.

So, it finally happened. My rather irreverent take on some of the things that happen to me at work managed to catch the attention of someone at Booklist. This month’s issue featured an article on Twitter Reference, and it included one of my #librarylife tweets. You can check out the article here.

I quit my job.

Well, one of my jobs. As many of you are aware, I’ve spent much of the past two years working for a local bookstore in addition to my job at the local public library. For better or for worse, the bookstore and I have parted ways. The time had come, and so I turned in my two weeks notice for the first time at any job I’ve ever held. My official last day is going to be on January 2nd, but as things currently stand, I may have already completed my last shift, dependent on Friday’s as-yet-undetermined schedule.

I’m not certain what 2015 will bring. A lot happened in 2014, both good and bad. I had to say goodbye to far more people than I would have liked, and there have been great periods of painful silence. Still, a great number of positive things have happened too, and I’m hoping to see much more of those things in the future. My life is going to be changing drastically in 2015, and I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store for me.

Neil Gaiman said it best, and so I’ll leave you with this quote.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” -Neil Gaiman
Happy New Year, everyone!

 

December is halfway through, and it has brought with it the special sort of self-imposed hell that comes from working in retail during the holiday season. As such, my writing on here has dwindled to almost nothing but apologies for not having written more. I seem to get to write a lot of those. I don’t like it. Two posts a month is unacceptable.

Thank you, Lemongrab.

Thank you, Lemongrab.

I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year. It’s not that I didn’t care, because NaNo is another special sort of self-imposed hell, and I’m rather fond of those, or so it would seem. I’ve tried before (and managed upwards of 33,000 words out of the 50,000 goal), and I probably will again, but this was not the time.

A little over a year ago, I introduced a character named Kidd Raven in a short story. Originally designed for a pirate-themed D&D campaign, Kidd Raven quickly took hold in my head as one of the most complex characters I’d ever invented. Now the campaign has stalled a bit, with some of the players moving out of town (and others out of state), and it may be that it only ever continues via something along the lines of Storium. However, when you’ve got a good character, it’s really hard to let go. So, I’m going to be repurposing Kidd Raven, bringing the pirate’s swordsmanship and spellcraft into a non-Wizards of the Coast world. A few changes here and there, obviously, due to copyright issues and whatnot, and this could shape up to be a damn fun adventure. This is new story number one.

New story number two is one that I started on in September, when inspiration struck during Nan Desu Kan. It’s very difficult to come across an image like this and not be driven to write about it.

the-white-door

I mean, look at it. That’s gorgeous. Who’s the figure in the photo? Where does the door lead? That’s new story number two. I like where it’s going so far.

And of course, I plan to continue working on what I consider to be one of my most ambitious projects to date. This one’s a novella, at least in its planned form. I don’t want to say too much more about it right now, but it’s also been in the works for a while. It may or may not make its way here to the blog, whereas the other two stories are slated to appear here for your reading pleasure. In the meantime, I’m working on getting some more short pieces, poems, and reviews up here in the very near future. Thank you all for your continued readership.

So, Horns was freaking amazing. Very much looking forward to the film adaptation’s eventual arrival at one of our local theatres. Also knocked out Andy Weir’s The Martian and John Scalzi’s Lock In. Not a bad month of reading so far. Toss in the handful of DC’s New 52 volumes I’ve gotten through, and the fact that I’ve finished all of season two of Arrow, and it’s been an awesome couple of weeks. Now it’s just the rest of October’s obligations left ahead of me. Namely, I get to make myself look like a Capitol resident. That’s right, Hunger Games fans. It’s almost time for a Colorado Capitol Couture fashion show.

A few months ago, I wouldn’t have considered taking part in this. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have said I had the confidence to go out on a catwalk to model clothes. This year’s NDK changed that. Couple that with my ever-improving skills in costuming, and you end up with me planning to model a costume of my own design. I promise that there will be pictures, because it’s going to be glorious. The only real question now is if I can stand to go with the crazy beard styling I’m planning long enough to wear the outfit for Halloween too, or if I’m going to do something equally ridiculous and fun instead.

Oh, yes. My favorite holiday is almost here too. Halloween is just over two weeks away. I’ve got a costume that’s nearly ready, and I would like to do it, but I’m probably going to have to have a backup plan for work that morning. That’s no problem, though. I fully expect to have one costume for work at the library and another for anything else I might end up doing. My patrons are used to seeing pirate me. Other cosplay me might freak them out a little. Plus I think we have a staff meeting that morning, sooooo… Gotta tone it down just a little. It’s my favorite holiday, though, and I’ve got to live it up.

As far as new short fiction goes, I promise there are still several that will be coming soon to a blog near you. This blog. I meant this one. Yeah. Stay tuned.