Writer on the Road – Day One

Between my normal writing schedule, I’ll be doing a mini series about my life on the road. I’m going through some massive life changes and starting NaNoWriMo, so this series will be a little bit about how to stay productive while writing, but also just about my trip in general.


I won’t bore you on what it’s like to check out of military housing. I could fill a book about my life of dealing with the government as a military spouse, and that’s really not something I want to write about. I’ll just leave it at, it was annoying, but typical, and we were quickly on the road.

We headed down to Portland, a place I only know anything about because of a quick google search of “Is Portland really like Portlandia?”, and took a drive long the Columbia River.

What struck me as crazy was seeing the damage done by the fires. Not because of how everything was black and dead, in fact it was the opposite. I was admiring the striking green of new grass against the charcoal black tree trunks and fresh pine needles pushing through scars, all the while thinking, anyone can recover from anything if nature can come back from a fire like this.

It wasn’t till I saw the simple white crosses hammered into the ground did it really hit me. This wasn’t just nature, people were recovering, too. For miles, the recovery wasn’t just something you could see, it was something you could feel.

It put life in perspective. Here are people who have truly lost, not just land or houses, but loved ones. Family and friends they cared about are gone forever, and here I am driving through just admiring how nature’s recovering. Heck, the hardest thing I had to put up with today was arguing with a housing inspector. My drive became somber and even humbling, as I really took stock of how much I had.

Stress is easy to let creep up on you. Here I was, worried about my novel, trying to set up a house to move into, and get through military paperwork. I thought, “How am I going to get through the first part of this month”, all the while others out there are asking “How am I going to get through this day?”.

So when you start to feel stressed, take stock in your life. Be grateful for what you have, because you never know when you could lose it. Got a deadline looming? Dealing with real life mini stressors while writing your novel? Look at what you have instead of what you don’t have. It really will give you a new outlook on how much you have on your plate.


Stranger Things Review – Season 2 Episode 1

I stayed up way later than I should with how crazy my life is right now to catch season 2 of Stranger Things. Like most people, I’m in love with the first season. The nostalgia vibes, the Stephen King like story, and the great acting all had me hooked.

I was pretty excited to see the next season, in spite of mixed reviews, so here’s my take on how the second season is going.


Just as a fair warning, spoilers are whited out between the !! !!.

The first thing I want to point out is my love of the writers ability to introduce characters through conflict. They did this every time they needed to introduce someone in the first season, and they followed it up with the same formula. You might argue, “Doesn’t this get old?” But they do it so seamlessly, you barely realize it’s happening until someone points it out.

We start the episode with a bank robbery, introducing a collection of characters that are almost cliche 80’s punks. Spiked hair, piercings, mohawks; they looked like cut outs from the British punk scene. After a quick chase scene with cops, !! it’s relieved one of these girls shares something in common with Eleven, proving many a fan theory true that there are other numbers out there. !!

From there, it’s basically a run down of how everyone’s life has changed since the first season. The one thing that was clear about this episode was that everyone’s still suffering from the aftermath of the demogorgon.

Each character is suffering from the loss of something, and most of them have some serious PTSD. I really loved the way the writers handled it, too. No one character was the same in how they handled stress. Some broke down in tears, others froze completely, and with the use of Dutch angles, some people’s worlds literally tilt.

One thing that the first season didn’t touch on that episode one promised was showing the other families in the town. There wasn’t a lot that went on with Barb being missing, and the absent parents of Lucas and Dustin, but it already gave us a glimpse of Dustin’s mom and Barb’s parents, so here’s hoping they keep that going.

The one thing I wasn’t thrilled about was Dr. Martin Brenner’s replacement. Paul Reiser takes up the coat as Dr. Owens, after Matthew Modine, and while he’s not horrible, he lacks the charisma Modine instantly brought to the screen. Maybe it’s because I’m only used to him playing comedy roles? Unlike Sean Astin’s addition to the cast, an actor I’ve seen wear many different masks, it was hard to think of Reiser as anyone other than Paul from Mad About You thanks to my mom. Sure he was in Aliens, but still.

Speaking of additions to the cast! One character I wasn’t sure I was going to like was Max, the sulky red head played by Sadie Sink. I always approach new characters to a franchise I like with a little bit of caution, especially young female characters. Writers usually write them very one sided. Preteen girls have to be flowery and rainbows, or bratty and annoying in adult shows.

I shouldn’t have doubted the Duffer Brothers, however. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I was plenty annoying as a 10-12 year old, but it’s nice to see them portrayed as something other than those two tropes. While she wasn’t much, she showed some promise. Overall, she’s talented.

So was it an episode to rival season 1’s first season? No, it wasn’t as great as the introduction to this universe was. Did it answer some questions and show serious character development? Definitely.

All in all, I don’t think fans of this show should write it off as some message boards have. There’s a lot of promise and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

2017 NaNoWriMo Influence Map

My NaNoWriMo novel this year is a paranormal comedy, and with it only a week away, I gathered up my inspiration to make myself an Influence Map.

As promised, here’s what’s keeping me motivated on this project!



1. This one is a bit obscure if you don’t know The Twilight Zone, but in season 3 episode 16, I saw Death personified for the first time in pop culture. I was 10 when I first saw this episode, and it’s stuck with me all these years. While Death won’t be a huge character in my novel, I definitely love the idea of Death appearing to people in different forms, and hope to translate this as well as The Twilight Zone did.

2. I found this picture on pinterest and for whatever reason, it just cracked me up. From this picture, I started collecting others that reminded me of haunted cafes, or ghost related things. I took it and ran, and haven’t stopped since.

3. Now, I won’t be too influenced by Gravity Falls, but I do like the general feel of the show. A town with supernatural happenings that just kind of shrugs and goes with it is definitely the vibes I want to give off.

4. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Ghost Whisperer, but an old writing friend of mine pointed out some of my plot points reminded her of that show, so I went back and rewatched a few clips, and yeah, there are definitely a couple similarities. Not many, but enough to admit when there are common themes.

5. Buffy is one of my favorite shows of all time. I love the girl killing monsters trope, and while my main character isn’t as outgoing as Buffy, she’ll definitely be in a “Hell Mouth” situation. She’ll also be a reluctant hero type, so that’s a bit of inspiration for me as well.

6. & 7. Practical Magic and Dime Store Magic are inspiring as far as the witchcraft goes, but also because of how they portray female friendship/sisterhood. Much like Death, witches won’t have a huge part in my novel, but they’ll have enough of an impact on the plot to take some inspo for them.

8. Gilmore Girls has a bigger square because I’ll definitely be pulling some of the class division in small town life, as well as a woman trying to make her own away from her family. As I’ve been saying, this is really a paranormal book about friendships, especially positive female ones, and I really hope to be able to portray that.

9. I’ve been listening to the podcast, New World Witchery for close to 3 years now. While it’s mostly about North American magic, they have side stories revolving around folklore that I’ve always found inspiring. Their collections of ghost stories, American witchcraft, and general folklore will heavily be influencing my world building.

10. There’s a house in the small town of Steilacoom, WA that sits on a hill facing the bay. With two stories and a shade of dark mint green, when I first drove by it, I had my husband pull over so I could get a closer look. Now an office building, it’s the perfect size and layout of where I imagine MC lives and works, with a cafe in the bottom, and bedrooms on top. It’s my main setting inspiration, and I can’t wait to explain why this house turned cafe is now the pit stop for lost souls in my universe.

11. Good Omens was the first Terry Pratchett, and 3rd Neil Gaiman book I’ve ever read. I loved the snappy dialogue and hilarious idea that an angel and demon are trying to stop the apocalypse from happening. The writing style of both authors has heavily influenced my comedic work, and to say I didn’t get my character dynamics from them would be a lie.

12. As stated above Steilacoom, WA is a town a drive through or visit semi frequently. The first town in Washington, I love how cute and quiet it is, but since I’m a small town girl, I know that there’s probably some problems there that are just under the surface. Maybe there aren’t literal ghosts people are trying to hide, but I bet everyone has a few skeletons they try to keep buried. While I called my city “Stella Cove, WA”, there will definitely be some similarities between the two cities.


Hope you enjoyed seeing where my ideas are heading! If you’d like to make one of these influence maps, check out the link here for the download. Also, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo comment below with how you’re getting ready. What’s your story about? Have a link to share? Throw it my way!

Also, I’m looking for writing buddies, so shoot me a line on the NaNoWriMo site to team up.

Book Review #4 – The Megarothke

I was six years old when I was inexplicably allowed to watch Alien. I say inexplicably because I grew up in a strict house, where science fiction and fantasy weren’t always allowed. When I ask my mom how I was able to watch this film, and so young, she usually scoffs and says, a bit disdainfully, “Don’t look at me, your father liked that crap.”

Whatever the reason for me getting to watch Alien at such a young age, it sparked a love of science fiction horror in me. While I still watch many movies and short films in this genre, I’ve strayed from reading it. I have to admit, I haven’t picked up a book that wasn’t high/urban fantasy in years and it wasn’t until fellow writer and friend, Robert Ashcroft contacted me asking if I’d like a copy of his first book did I get back into reading sci fi horror.

And damn, after such a long drought from this genre, “The Megarothke” welcomed me home with open, bloody, mechanical arms.


The Megarothke is set in 2048, seven years after “The Hollow Wars”, and follows Theodore “Theo” Adams as he and the last 50k people claw their way through a war with machines just to stay alive. There’s a beast lurking just below the city of Los Angeles, and the small team set out to search and destroy the Megarothke will do what it takes to save the last of humanity.

Through a series of time jumps and unsettling quotes at the beginning of each chapter, the story of how The Hollow Wars” came to be, how the world has changed and just who or what the Megarothke is, unfolds with every spine tingling chapter.

What did I love about this book?

Ashcroft’s ability to build a solid, believable world, interwoven with a complex timeline is well above par. He doesn’t waste time going into too much depth, or leaving things out, and avoids flowery language to try and get some of his more complex ideas across. Not only does this make the reader fall into the world of The Megarothke, but it makes it easy to relate to Theo. While Theo is intelligent, he’s an average guy and he explains things as such. This trait also creates a great conflict later, when you’re introduced to his wife, and you get an amazing clash between characters.

I also enjoy how believable everything is. It’s not too much of a stretch to see certain aspects of Ashcroft’s world coming to pass, and since I’m a firm believer in “science fiction could one day become science fact”, it’s an unsettling black mirror held up to today’s society. There’s a fine line between too much technology and just the right amount, and Ashcroft makes the reader ask “How far is too far?” And let me be clear to note here, I don’t mean when it comes to a more accepting transworld, as there are several trans characters in this novel, but the use of technology until it swallows everything that makes us human.

Ashcroft’s military and philosophy knowledge also extremely evident. There isn’t one scene that makes me go “Wait a second, how real is that?”. It’s evident he’s a man with a military background, as well as being someone who knows what their talking about when it comes to philosophy.

Lastly, I loved the dark humor salt and peppered in throughout the novel. I even laughed outright at a few parts and scared my dog as I read this into the long hours of the night. And yes. I did in fact stay up past midnight just to read this.

What might not work for other readers?

While I don’t mind a story that starts at one point and then jumps back a few years, I know a few readers who have a problem with this form of storytelling. I think Ashcroft handled his timeline beautifully, and if people who don’t like “7 years earlier” trope can get over this, they’ll have a great time.

Overall Rating?

I would most definitely buy this book in hard back, and go out of my way to get it signed.


You’ll like The Megarothke if…

you’re fans Robopocalypse, by Daniel H. Wilson, Westworld, Blade Runner/it’s source material Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Black Mirror, or if you enjoy the of the work that comes out of Oats Studios (in fact, I’d be the biggest supporter if they made a film adaptation of this with Ashcroft).

Keep your eye out for this fantastic novel, coming out in February 2018. You’ll be up all night just to try and finish this refreshing addition to the Science Fiction genre.

Lessons Learned From Van Living

The long awaited “Vanlife” post is here! This Personal Post weekend highlights what I learned from living in a van for three weeks, and what my plans are for future travels.


My husband first introduced me to van life through youtube videos. We watched a few but both settled on really enjoying Kombi Life. Episode after episode, blog post after blog post, and when we filled up on all we could there, we spent hours looking through the van life subreddit.

We decided this was the life for us. It screamed ADVENTURE and, damn, did we get one. Here’s what we learned about life by traveling from Tacoma, Washington, to Austin, Texas.

Sometimes, the GPS isn’t the best to follow.


On the last leg of our trip, we accidentally took a wrong turn and wound up in New Mexico. We had a great time, and found beautiful campsites, all because we forgot to follow the GPS. It actually saved us time, and we had a blast.

Everyone was given a roadmap to adulthood when they were kids, either by parents or society. Mine read “Graduate high school, go to college, get married, have kids, work until you can’t anymore”. Most adults in my life followed that formula, or tried to, and they taught me that was the way to grow up. But sometimes that map doesn’t work out, and you wind up in a better place, one that you wouldn’t have found if you didn’t go off the path the GPS laid out for you.

Your belongings aren’t everything.


With my husband being military, we don’t have a lot of stuff to begin with. Moving every one to four years makes it hard to want to pack everything up over and over again, so we’re not a very materialistic couple. Even with as little as we take with us each move, we still learned objects are just that, objects. While sentimental value is nice, it’s empty if that’s the only thing in your life. All we needed were each other, our dogs, a camper stove and a mini fridge and we got by just fine.

When you get a feeling you shouldn’t be somewhere, trust your gut.


In a cavern in the middle of Colorado my husband got a bad feeling. When he said, hey, I think we should go, I agreed. We already decided it was important to always trust each others’ gut, so we packed up the van and got out a dodge (ha, the make of our van).  Shortly after we got out of the cavern, the sky opened up and parts of the campground flooded. I’m not sure if where we were at was safe or not, but I’m glad we got out of there.

It should go without saying, but this is how life should be in general. If you have a gut feeling, trust yourself. Chances are there’s a reason you feel that way.

Decide what’s more important the journey or the destination.


Being in a small, enclosed box with someone, there’s sure to be some tiffs. The only one we got in was that we both didn’t know what we wanted out of the trip. Did we want to stop and sight see? Did we want to rush and spend more time with friends and family? Neither of us asked these questions and we wound up spending one night having to discuss this at length.

It’s important to know where you’re at in your life, and you have to ask yourself, what’s more important? Is it spending time in the now, or should you hurry to reach the goals in your life. You can always take your time when trying to reach those goals, but figuring out which one is more important before you jump into a big life changing event is always good.

If things get really hard, have someone with you who can make you laugh.


Just like life, road trips get hard. Problems always are going to come up, and when things get extremely rough, it’s important to have someone you can laugh with. Even if you do butt heads from time to time, because arguing will always come up no matter how close you are with someone, the good times should outweigh the bad. Every time something went wrong on our trip, my husband and I were there to make the other one laugh. We listened to comedy tapes, my husband did funny voices, and I’d read him stuff online that cracked me up (which isn’t hard to do). It taught us that laughing’s important, and every trip needed to have some humor to get us by.

So what’s next?


We sold our big van to someone else who wanted to give the van life a try, and they’re traveling around Washington state now. Next for us, though, is going to be a bus. We want to go on longer trips, which requires a little bit more room, so a small tour bus is right up our alley. Here’s hoping we find one soon!

Inspired by the Strange

After taking a walk around some museums this week, I realized something. I’m am entirely too inspired by dead birds.

Flightless, for those of you new to my blog, is my work in progress that revolves around people with wings. It’s no secret that I love birds, and I’ve taken a much deeper interest in ornithology since I started my novel in order to build a believable world and a realistic species.

As much as live birds inspired me and my writing, walking around a museum and seeing still life paintings of hanging pheasants, ducks with broken necks, and small song birds laid out on tables, I realized that was more the mood of my novel than the live birds I’d been studying. Heck I was more inspired by those paintings than I was holding an a hawk a couple weeks ago.

You can always tell when I’m way too happy. I smile so much, I wind up squinting so bad.

After I made this discovery about my sudden love of dead bird imagery, I whipped up a quick banner with a picture of some of these classic oil paintings and decked out my Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and even my Deviantart page.

Yes. I have a Deviantart page. I know.

It got me wondering though. . . .

What’s something strange that you find yourself inspired by? Comment below and let me know! I love hearing what inspires others.

Finding Time to Write

As I hammer through some suggested edits, I’ve been talking more with others about writing and the most common thing I hear is “I could write a book, if only I had the time!”


Truth be told, I didn’t and still don’t have enough time. When I finished my manuscript for Flightless, I was in the middle of a military move, driving an hour and a half every for work every day, and trying to cram in as much family time before I left Texas. It’s a year later, and I’m trying to get through ANOTHER military move (this time mostly by myself because of my husband’s work schedule), finish my last month at my job, and still sight see around the Pacific Northwest. I was supposed to be here for another two years, and instead, I have a month left.

All that being said, I still believe in making time to write. So where do I make time, and how can you?

Lunch breaks –
I get a thirty minute lunch break, and 20 of those minutes are spent working on my book. It might not be my longest writing time, but it’s 20 minutes I can spend getting work done.

Wake up early –
I don’t do this one often, just because I’m a night owl, but sometimes if I’m feeling up to it, working on editing is the first thing I do.

While cooking dinner –
Most of my dinners are made one of two ways. Out of a box or time consuming with lots of prep. Either way I have to wait while it’s in the oven, so instead of doing chores, I write. Sure my house doesn’t stay ridiculously clean, but it gets the job done.

When someone else is driving – 
My husband usually is the one who drives when we’re traveling around together, so I take that time it takes to get from point A to point B to hammer out a few hundred words. Even if it’s just a trip to the store, and I’m jotting down ideas and changes on my phone, it still helps.

At night –
This is my favorite time to write. Everyone’s asleep, no one’s asking anything from me, and I can get a lot hammered out.

How do you make time?

Start to notice when you’re wasting it. Did you binge watch an entire season of whatever newest thing came out recently? Do you really think some of those episodes couldn’t have waited while you worked on one chapter?

If you’re really not sure how to make time, start writing an hour by hour list of things you did in a day and find out where there’s some wiggle room. This is what helps me every once in a while when I start to fall off the tracks. Not only does it show where your writing time is, but it also shows how much you spend on things that might not be as important as that book you want to write.

One last thing. Don’t write in a room with a TV, and shut off the internet.

For those of you who know how to work a tv/internet connection without getting distracted, bravo! For the rest of us? TURN IT OFF. Find ten minutes at a minimum and try to write as much as you can with everything shut down. Music is fine, but try to play it without needing the internet.


Favorite Spooky Buys on Etsy

It’s time for Personal Post Weekend! This is where I write non author related things and share what I’m looking at online, or what I’m going through in my everyday life.

I’m particularly excited about this one, as it falls on October first, the start of my favorite month!

I’m the type of person who prefers going to curio shops to get my Halloween decorations, and I can admit, some of them stay up in my art room year round. While my husband doesn’t mind it, for the most part, I keep the creepier items of my wishlists on just that, instead of having my house turn into a natural science museum.

That being said, I’ll be sharing them with you today just to spread some love to Etsy artists and sellers.

As a quick disclaimer, some of the images below can be a little unsettling for the squeamish. Viewer discretion is advised.  Post contains taxidermy art, big leather books, and somewhat occultish curios.

Continue reading Favorite Spooky Buys on Etsy