So, we’ve made it to April, the 4th month of the year. Now, up until a few years ago, I really didn’t think that much about it. However, after the past few years, I’ve decided to celebrate each month as it comes, lol.
So, what’s new this month?
This month is Camp Nano. Camp Nano happens every April and July and it’s a great time to work towards a writing goal. Unlike NaNoWriMo in November, you don’t have to hit a goal of 50k words or even work on a novel, it can be whatever word goal/project you want. However, the benefit of these camps are that you can be part of a community and get some encouragement while writing.
Another great resource for Camp NaNo is 4thewords. 4thewords helps gamify your writing. It’s a wonderful game where you can craft and battle monsters by writing. They have a special month long event with special quests and monsters to battle during Camp Nano.
Come and give it a try, there’s a free trial, so if you don’t like it, you’ve lost nothing. Also, if you enter my code VXKKX33097, you’ll get some extra free time and if you do decide to get a subscription, you can earn some extra crystals as well.
Every April, for bloggers, there is an A-Z blogging challenge that you can participate in. I’m not participating, but I have in the past and it’s super fun. Basically, you pick any topic you want and then write a blog post for every letter of the alphabet and post them throughout the month of April.
There are all sorts of neat topics being blogged about, I highly recommend that you check it out. I think you’ll find something amazing to read 🙂 You can find the master list of topics on this website: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
My plans at this time are to update my 4 Vella stories once a week, with a random story getting an extra chapter on Fridays. So M-F, I’ll be posting a chapter a day for all of my Vellas. Come by and check them out, remember, the first 3 chapters are free 🙂
Ok, confession time here. I have way too many story ideas bouncing around in my head. So imagine my shock and surprise when I counted up my in-progress stories and found that I have 15 that have not been finished and many haven’t been updated in much too long (I am so, so sorry my faithful readers).
Because of this, I have experienced story paralysis. So, I’ve come up with a system to beat this. I wrote up all the titles of the stories in a numbered list and then I pulled up a random number generator. Whatever story the number lands on, I’ll update that day and then I’ll mark that story on the list as ‘done’. That way I’m not updating the same story again and again while others languish. Once the list is completely ‘done’, I’ll start again. So updates for all stories will only be two weeks at most and not months like it has been.
I have been absent for the past several weeks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed and truthfully, it’s ok if you didn’t. I don’t really have a high online profile anyway. (Yes, I am an introvert, lol. It’s one of the reasons that I chose writing over something like acting or politics.)
The reason that I’ve been gone was exhaustion. I had hit a wall, hard. It was to the point where I found it hard to get out of bed, but neither was I able to get any decent rest, no matter how much or how little I actually slept. I was run down, burnt out, and hiding from the world. I just couldn’t find the energy to care whether or not I was interacting with anyone or going anywhere. It was just easier to stay at home and try to make it through another day.
At the same time, I was utterly miserable. I was letting down everyone in my life, I wasn’t meeting my goals, why couldn’t I just shake this off? After all, everyone else manages to get up and push through the day, so why couldn’t I? I was lazy, a failure, a bad sister/daughter/friend because I couldn’t be there for those I loved. Every time I would go to write, I would just stare at the blank screen, nearly in tears because no matter how much I searched, I could not find any words or stories inside me.
My cup was empty. I had absolutely nothing left to give. No stories. No energy. Nothing of myself to offer my friends and family. It was like staring into a misty abyss in the mountains inside myself. I knew that there would most likely be something wonderful if I could just get rid of the fog.
But the truth is, this didn’t happen overnight. I wasn’t perfectly fine one day and totally empty the next. No, this was years and years of neglect on my part that led to this point. Our world values busy. The more items you have crammed into your schedule, the more items you can produce, that’s when you are considered a productive member of society. And so, we hit the ground running, day after day, not noticing that we’re destroying the most valuable thing we have, ourselves.
As everyone knows, these past two years have been, challenging, to put it lightly. Not only that, but living in the digital age and the constant stream of information at our finger tips and we’re under pressure 24/7 to process more and more and more. We don’t have sanctuaries or rest anymore. Many times, our homes are no longer our havens since people have started working remotely. There is no shift from work to the relaxation of home. No, now work is all the time at home because that’s where work is now. There is no division, no invisible boundary lines.
A few weeks ago, I got fed up with the brain fog and the lethargy. I got tired of not being able to perform and not being able to figure out why. I took care of myself, took my vitamins, ate fairly well, and tried to sleep at least six hours at night (I’m a night owl living with morning people, lol). So why was I unable to function? This kicked off some major research on my part.
And I discovered that I have adrenal fatigue. Now, this is a very controversial diagnosis. Many doctors do not believe in it. Also, it’s not a condition but a syndrome, something that happens because of something that’s happening in the body. To break it down as simply as possible, adrenals produce cortisol. Cortisol is what tells our body whether to fight or flight. It’s our stress response. However, when our bodies are under long term (chronic) stress without an actual event, the body starts getting confused about what to do with all the cortisol. After all, it’s only a short term solution. Cortisol gives you the energy/strength for survival and then after the event/danger is over, then you can go back to normal. But with chronic stress, there is nothing to signal an end to the situation for you body to return to business as usual.
So, I made some changes, took a social media/news fast, changed some of my diet, and started treating the adrenals directly so that they could stop over producing cortisol. And within 24 hours, the brain fog started to clear. Within a week, I started to engage with the world around me again. It’s been nearly a month now, and I’m finally getting my energy and creativity back. I feel like I’m slowly reclaiming my life and who I’m meant to be.
During this time, I’ve also been taking a hard look at my life, re-evaluating everything. Self care has become a lot more important to me, because I never should’ve allowed myself to reach this level of burnout in the first place, to where it became impossible for me to live my life ‘normally’. I’ve gotten rid of some of the busy work that was adding nothing of true value to my life. I reassessed my commitments, my goals, my dreams, everything.
I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take time to get myself back to what I consider optimal health, especially since life is not going to stop throwing challenges at me. But I’m going to start treating myself right, taking care of myself like I take care of those I love. I’m going to give myself more grace, laugh and live more instead of trying to keep up with the fast pace of this constantly moving world.
And don’t worry, I’m going to keep writing. I love to do it, it brings me such deep joy and commitment. But I’m going to stop trying to be that perfect author that does it all. Instead, I’m going to laugh and spin stories around a blazing campfire under a night sky blanketed with stars. I’m going to dance and sing and just enjoy the journey that my characters take me on. Because quite frankly, no one gets out of life alive, so I want to start enjoying the journey.
We’ve made it through the month of September (and three-quarters of the way through 2021) and because of this, I think we all deserve a treat 🙂
Because of this, I’ve gathered together some great Kindle Vella authors for you guys to check out and enjoy.
Hope you’re having a wonderful day!
Forsaken Beauty and the Etherbeast
A bookish strongwoman longs for freedom.
A beast searches for a cure.
Together, they’ll break man-made curses.
After her own father sells her to the unscrupulous Ringmaster, Belle thinks she’ll spend the rest of her days performing cheap stunts while the Nuzaran masses gawk at her ether-poisoned body. A chance encounter with a beast by her solitary campfire changes everything. Can they find liberation or will the past consume them both?
I have a deep love for Universal Monster movies, all things related to Nikola Tesla, and iced coffee. The first two things fuel my creativity and the latter keeps me motivated! You can check my other works on my website: https://simplykelseyjo.com/
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Genre: Dystopian Steampunk SciFi
After an alert goes out to the paying members of the disaster bunker known as New Eden, residents find themselves trapped between two vastly different worlds: one that preys on trauma and one that creates it. Now, a newly wealthy yet troubled man and his new friends must find a way to live with the Hell they bought or return to the Hell which remains.
Benjamin ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes, paints, uses sharp woodworking tools and plays with glue. Sometimes he does these things at the same time. You can read more at https://www.bxwretlind.com/ where, in addition to books and art, he writes blog articles focused (mostly) on writing.
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Genre: YA Dystopian
People tell you to live life to the fullest. Take your time. Don’t make rash decisions. I should have listened. Maybe it would have made a difference. Tomorrow is my eighteenth birthday. A day that’s supposed to be special. Eighteen years old means adulthood. Life is just starting. That’s how it used to be, years ago. Before our new society formed. Instead, I face uncertainty. My past sways the outcome. On this birthday, I will receive the most important gift. The gift of the date I will die.
Celebration turns to disaster when a mysterious curse goes awry. A reminder that the Sorcerer’s prophecy still plagued the royal family. Roselyn’s memory is suddenly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Confused, she flees to the place the prince fears most–the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest. Danger lingers closer than she can imagine, forcing her to seek help from a dark stranger who may be the key to recovering her lost memories. Can she break the curse without breaking her heart?
A lot of inspiration for the forest descriptions in my story comes from the tropical island where I’m stationed: Okinawa, Japan.
Victor and Iris aim to change a dangerous race to first place, that’s if they can survive the literal fast-paced profit motive.
When Victor broke into Iris’ repair shop, she expected a profit raid, not an unknown racer fit for the pro-circuit. But their chance encounter provides a chance to get what they both want. A way out. When adrenaline remains the most addictive commodity in this corporate sponsored world, can they resist the attention it brings?
The race is on… but can they ever stop?
Rose Sinclair was a community leader who started with a blog in 2013, and now writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance novels and organizes pen pal projects. https://artoverchaos.tumblr.com/
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Fight or Flight: A Cinderella Tale of Court Intrigue
Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?
However, the stories never tell of what happens after the Prince finds his Bride and Cinderella finds her ‘Happily Ever After’. What should be a happily ever after for Alyssa quickly becomes a game of survival as she tries to navigate a hostile court and those who are eyeing her position next to the prince.
Will she manage to win the game or will the strike of midnight only declare the beginning of her doom?
In addition to writing Urban Fantasy, one of the things I love to do is write fanfiction. You can check it all out here on my blog in addition to my original works.
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Tate and Claire are leaving Las Vegas. He wants to escape a crippled MC after their beloved leader is murdered. She wants to flee a dead-end job and “Mommy Dearest” mother–who suspiciously took her father’s place as the club’s new president. When she hastily agrees to a meeting with a man her mother hates, Claire’s thrown into a night of terror that derails Tate’s plans. Lies unravel…and sins are revealed. But will those secrets be bigger than the one they buried in the desert years ago?
Genre: Coming of Age Romance, Family/High School Drama
An Operator’s Daughter
Severe anxiety and sexual harassment, 17-year-old Ashton has to deal with both when jettisoned into a dysfunctional family and chaotic high school. Her father, a retired SEAL, is struggling with the death of his soulmate and loss of self-purpose, and refuses to provide a home for the two of them to share.
Drawing strength from her deceased mother’s journals, Ashton begins to overcome the chaos of her present situation. But when her own budding relationship with an Operator begins to parallel her parents’ love-at-first-sight story, she must put aside logic to secure her own happy beginning.
New episodes for An Operator’s Daughter are released on Tuesdays and Fridays, with part II schedule for release in December 2021.
Laurie Anne Brandon writes fiction based on her experiences living in suburban Western Washington state and careers in sports television production, alpine ski instruction, secondary education, and military educational counseling. An Operator’s Daughter is her first work of serial fiction.
Claire, a journalism student at Brunston University has stumbled onto quite a few secrets about B.U.s alumnae. Outing the culprits might not only destroy the guilty, but take down the innocent as well. Travel with Claire Richardson as she navigates a sticky trail of clues that will ultimately force her to choose between what is good and what is evil.
Every since I was a young girl I absolutely loved watching Mystery and Suspense movies with my mother. The art of a story unfolding to reveal the larger picture inspires me to create characters whose curiosity pushes them to find the truth.
Visit my Link Tree for more info on current works @
Something that we don’t do nearly enough of is celebrate our achievements, be they big or little ones. People are amazing and we deserve to celebrate ourselves and others. It can be anything from ‘I did laundry today’ to ‘I ran an Ironman Triathlon’. Let’s celebrate ourselves and others. I want to hear where you won today.
In the spirit of fairness, I’ll go first.
I flew a kite today with my little brother (he’s in his 20’s, lol). It was just a nice moment of being together.
I did a progress check test for my martial arts over Zoom along with the rest of my classmates. It was nice to be part of the community and it helped me see where I was succeeding and what parts were a little bit rough. Another step on the path to black belt, it makes me happy.
This last one’s a bit happy/sad. I finished up my largest Fanfiction, put up the final chapter. This story was my first attempt at dipping my toes into The Hobbit fandom of writing. I did NOT expect how large the story would become, 35 chapters/167k words. There may be a sequel for it someday, there may not, but I’m proud of the story that it became.
There’s nothing really special about today, it’s just a typical Tuesday, one day in a blur of many more.
But it also means something else to me.
That’s what this date means to me. On March 12th, I tested for my Provisional Black Belt at my dojo. Two months ago, I participated in my test and being tired at the end of it, I said brief goodbyes and headed out because I was tired and had a long drive ahead of me. After all, I would see them all next week in our usual classes.
I was wrong.
Next week, my dojo had to close in order to be compliant with Stay at Home orders, because we had a pandemic on our hands that we had no idea how Covid-19 transmission happened or what the symptoms or ultimate outcome of infection was.
Just like that, a large part of my life was gone. And I want it back. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to flatten the curve and get as much information about this disease as the next person. And my dojo did and is doing an excellent job with videos and zoom calls and even one on one video lessons to make sure that our training isn’t interrupted during this time.
But the longer we have to stay home, the more a little bit of us dies inside. Humans are social creatures, we need other people. And studies have shown that stress and depression can lower our immune system. The longer we have to stay at home and worry about normal or when can we get our jobs again, the weaker our immune systems are getting. Even our exercise is highly limited and regulated, because our gyms and dojos are closed, as well as our parks and open spaces where we could get fresh air and sunshine. Because of this, our chances of getting sick are actually increasing drastically.
I’m not saying that we should go hog wild and disregard everything. But America needs to start opening up again and letting people start resuming our normal lives, even if it is just slowly. Otherwise, we’re going to have a pandemic of a different sorts on our hands. One of suicides from depression and the inability to pay bills or feed our children. One of deaths from domestic violence where family members cannot get away from their abusers. One of deaths from strokes and heart attacks of people too scared to go to the hospital because they know that they will be locked away from their loved ones.
I know that some of you will hate me and say that I’m just willing to let people die from Covid. That’s not the truth. Every death breaks my heart. But neither am I willing to pretend that this pandemic isn’t costing innocent lives in other ways as well.
Let’s work together to find a solution and work towards a brighter, stronger future. Let’s be the beautiful, strong country that I know we are.
Although I have done many things this year and achieved several
accomplishments, I have felt overwhelmed, stressed, and under motivated.
Although I had dreams, I was only halfheartedly pursuing them, too
stuck in the loop in my head filled with self doubt. I also told myself
that it was ok, that I didn’t have to be perfect, that I was doing well
That wasn’t the truth. I
woke up tired and went to bed tired and was maybe putting 30% of myself
into life. Enough to get by but not enough to thrive and grow. Even
though I was getting things done, I didn’t feel proud and successful. I
felt less than because I knew that I was capable of so much better than
what I was putting out there.
As some of you may know, I am a
wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. I was blessed to have
these oils enter my life in 2013 and although it took me a while to get
into and understand them, I literally cannot imagine my life without
This past week was the annual convention for doTERRA in
Salt Lake City. I love conventions because I am surrounded by 40k like
minded people, the energy is great, and the learning to be had is
phenomenal.The theme of this convention was Together and they did an
outstanding job of it as always.
However, as amazing as all the
new products and science was, that was not my main take away from this
past week. In the past week, I ran into so many incredible people. Many
had three or four jobs, one of my uber drivers was pursuing a double
major and triple minor in school. They were all so happy and fulfilled,
even though their time was full.
But what finally got me was the
performance advocate that they brought on. Her name was Ashley Hess. She
already had a full time doTERRA business, but she also wanted to pursue
a music career. So she worked her business by day and pursued her music
career at night. At this point, I told God that I got the message, that
I needed to put myself all in.
So I have committed myself to
going all in. To put all of myself into my doTERRA business, my writing,
and my karate journey. I am going to stop hiding and saying no. I am no
longer going to hold anything back, but I am going to let my light
shine, be genuine, and put my whole heart and soul into wherever life
Onward to the journey!
P.S. I decided that I needed an outward sign of my commitment, something that I could see every day and remind me of my promise. So I now have doTERRA purple hair 🙂
We just are. We’re always trying to get ahead of our never ending to-do list, the commitments and promises that we’ve made, and the daily necessities of living. It wasn’t until two days ago that I realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. The idea of a long weekend is both a cherished and hated idea. More time off, but it means that we have to work even harder to get caught back up.
When I realized that I was thinking like that, I had to stop for a minute and ask myself. When did all the things that I HAVE to do become more important than anything else? Yes, I set myself a goal of having an x amount of words written by a certain date. But what good is having met my goal if I’m a frazzled mess trying to reach it? Or if I’m missing out on important moments that will never happen again for something that I could put off until tomorrow?
So this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to live in the moment. If I write, fine. If I don’t, well, it will always be there tomorrow. I’m not going to make plans or follow a schedule. I’m going to go where the wind takes me and see what adventures and treasures that I can find 🙂
Breathe deep. Live in the moment. Hang and be weird with your friends and family. Just enjoy life, it’s a gift.
Here at the Meadowlarks & Morninglories Farm, we are moving more into raising mini nubians. Nubian’s originated in England and although they are primarily a dairy breed, can also be used as meat goats. Now as anyone who has ever had the pleasure of owning/raising goats can tell you, goats can be quite stubborn and cantankerous. They have their sweet moments, don’t get me wrong, but when their mind is set on something, oftentimes their owners get taken along for a ride.
This is where mini nubians come into play. Over the past decade roughly, breeders have been working on breeding nubians smaller while still maintaining their standards as a dairy goat. This makes them ideal for people who love goats but don’t necessarily have the strength to deal with a full sized goat. Not to mention, they are adorable! Some of the babies are only about knee height.
Right now, we are working on building our herd and transitioning from full sized nubians to mini nubians. To this point, we’ve brought in two smaller bucks and several smaller does. This is where Hershey comes in.
Hershey is what is known as a wether. All that means is that he is a fixed male goat. Wethers primary use is for either meat or companionship. Since they are fixed, they can safely stay with does without the risk of breeding them. Also, since they are larger than the does, they can defend them better against threats. Hershey was chosen for his good personality and sweet disposition and should be a great addition to the herd.
However, it did take a bit to get him home to us. He was finally big enough to come home with us, so today we set forth to get him. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive get him from the farm where he was born. It was a pretty drive and my mom and I had a great time going down there through some of the prettiest countryside. However, the ride back home seemed a bit longer, as he’d never been separated from his herd before and sang the song of his people on and off searching for them. However, we made it home without any incidents, so I’m calling that a win.
We put him in with the bucks at this point (the does are in the pen next to them) just until the herd gets used to each other. Then we’ll separate off the youngest does that we don’t intend to breed this year and put him in a pen with them.
In addition to the goats, there was Monkey a.k.a. Munca. She climbed the kennel bars we had her in as a kitten, thus the name. She oversees the running of the farm and takes her job very seriously.
So a long road trip but totally worth it. He’s settling in nicely (it will take a couple of days for him to fully settle) and is going to make an excellent addition to our herd.
So what new animals have you added to your family or farm lately?
Human beings are complex creatures. We are rarely ever just one thing, but change our roles throughout the day as needed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a writer and I’ve been writing for so long now that I no longer remember when I began writing. But that’s not all I am. So here’s a peek at a few of the other hats that I wear.
In December 2016, I started looking for a dojo that taught Tai Chi so I could get back into shape. I live in a rural area, so there’s a lot of driving involved and add in a desk job and I wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be physically. The Tai Chi place that I found was highly questionable in their answers to my inquiries, so I decided to look elsewhere. I found my current dojo, which teaches International Kenpo Karate Jiu-jitsu, a form of American Kenpo. I paid for sixth months up front because I knew that if I didn’t pay, I would go. I’m still there 2 1/2 years later and loving every minute of it. I go for my brown belt next month (eek) and my dream is to eventually open my own dojo.
We live on a 23 acre farm in rural Colorado. It’s a beautiful place and I feel so blessed to be able to see all the stars at night. We have quite the motley crew of animals. We have nine goats and will be picking up a tenth on Friday (I’ll do a special post about all of the goats and the new one on Friday.) All but two are mini nubians. And let me tell you, mini nubians are soooo adorable. They’re only about knee height, so tiny. They’re like the fun size of goats. We also have a small flock (6) chickens that keep us in fresh eggs. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you’ve tasted a fresh free range egg. Then we have 5 midget white turkeys. Sigh, what to say. I now understand why calling someone a turkey is an insult. They are not the brightest birds, but they’re great grasshopper control. We also have 4 dogs and 8 cats, which I’ll talk about more in a different post, as I could go on about them all day.
I have several hobbies that I like to pursue in my free time. I am a voracious reader, I basically read everything I can get my hands on, although I have to draw the line at horror and books with too much gore. I have a very vivid imagination and I like to be able to sleep, lol. I also do needle arts, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and sewing, although all by hand. The sewing machine and I do not get along. It is currently sewing machine 2, Katie 0. I haven’t decided if there will be a round three. I also love the outdoors and love to go hiking and swimming. I do not like skiing or snowboarding. I know that this is strange for a Colorado native to say, but it’s true. Honestly, the idea of strapping two sticks to your feet and going down an icy, rocky mountain at high speeds or strapping two feet to one stick and going sideways down said mountain, yeah, my self preservation just nopes out. Still thinking about trying cross country skiing though.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the day to day things that everyone has to do, grocery shopping, meals, laundry, all the day to day minutiae that we do.
So what hats do you wear? I’d love to hear all about your adventures and the things that you do day to day 🙂