because it signifies their last night of freedom for an entire month.  for the 30 days following Halloween, we’re all doomed.

our fate can be summed up in one set-of-abbreviations-that-pretends-to-be-a-word: NaNoWriMo.  sound it out.  it works.

NaNoWriMo, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is short for National Novel Writing Month.  it’s a thing where writers all across the world (amateur, professional, delusional) band together and commit to writing for the month of November with a goal of 50,000 words by the end.  that’s a small novel (for most people- I’m cursed with a “knack” for writing 120,000 word novels.  I do not say that to brag, as I have much smaller chances of getting published with such a word count).  that’s an average of 1667 words per day, I think.

last year I participated (you, too, can make an account on the website here!) and used my 50K to finish out my first draft of Finding You and, when that was finished, work on Across the Lake.  I was up until about 11:30pm the last night.  it was awesome.treachery cover

but this year I think signing up might have been really stupid; 2014 has been the craziest year of my life, as many of you know because I’ve waited weeks to return your text messages.  I have my first grown-up job of my life, volunteer and church commitments, and – wait for it – a social life!  (disclaimer: what I call a crazy social life is seeing friends maybe two or three times in a week and it’s EXHAUSTING.  is this normal?  I just want to curl up in my bunk bed with my glow-in-the-dark stars above me and watch musicals and eat fruit gummies and avoid all human contact.)

I’ve decided to work on my complete rewrite of the first novel I ever finished, previously called Betrayal.  this time it’s Treachery (that just blew your mind, admit it), and you can read a bit of it on Figment, here.  my description “blurb”, if you’re interested, is as follows:

” a young woman is caught up in the dangerous world of espionage when she joins the plot to reinstate her exiled queen, all the while struggling with love and trust in the face of deception and betrayal. ”  (<– I’m terrible at blurbs.)

anyways, wish me luck.  I’ve set a calendar for myself, and I’m going to try and stay ahead of schedule.  we’ll see how that goes.

if you want to follow along, there’s a chance I’ll be adding some as I go.

thanks, lovelies!  comment and let me know if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, and if so, what your project is!  also, feel free to add me as a buddy on the site!  happy writing!  don’t die!!  (I already bought chocolate supplies…muahaha.)

(p.s. I actually never did celebrate Halloween as a kid; my parents were super careful about dark stuff and magic and ghosts and all that. then we moved to the boonies and nobody came anyway.  as a grown-up,

moral stuff aside, I totally see the need for a holiday where I get to watch Tim Burton movies (today was Beetlejuice – w00t w00t! totally dressing as Lydia Deetz next year) and eat pumpkin desserts and talk about fall leaves and paint my nails epically.  so yay!)

p.s.s. I totally did my nails.  I wasn’t joking.  10748609_10205056274468732_684370979_n




This past weekend I had the best night of my life: I saw Ramin Karimloo live in Albany.

It was honestly as simple as that- I was practically jumping out of my seat waiting for him to come on stage, and when he did I came seriously close to that embarrassing fangirling that I always find so repulsive in footage of Justin Bieber concerts.

When he sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis early on in the performance, I nearly cried.  His voice was so beautiful and powerful, and had all the emotion that the song should bear.  I think God has blessed him with one of the most amazing voices in the world.

After the show (which had a wonderfully long encore), which included music from Doc Watson, Johnny Cash, great musicals, and several of his own pieces (some of which were folk songs, and many of you must know my love of folk music), we went out into the lobby-ish area and waited to meet the man himself.

We actually talked for a bit, and I can honestly say that Ramin Karimloo was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.  He’s encouraging and real and super humble, despite being mind-blowingly talented.  His openness in giving God the glory in subtle ways was really wonderful as well.  Overall, it was seriously the best night I can remember of my life.  I’m torn between hoping his music takes off like crazy for his sake and hoping it doesn’t so I can always get tickets when he’s in the country.

I would seriously encourage y’all to check him out if you don’t know his music- the 25th Anniversary of the Phantom of the Opera, the Original Cast Recording of Love Never Dies, the 25th Anniversary Concert dvd for Les Misérables, and his own solo album, “Any Human Heart”, are just a few examples of the music you can look into to hear his incredible talent.

I dare you to watch the video linked below and not become a fan:

‘Til I Hear You Sing

It’s what you’ve all been waiting for!  Only…I can’t bear to post it.

Most of you know that I finished Esmeralda (on paper; it’s allmosssttt all typed up)! And it only took me 100 days which was pretty cool.  But guess what!?!?!

I hate my ending.  It’s not bad in and of itself, but let’s just say that it builds up to something far grander and then….kaput.  The excitement just dies.  It’s lame.  I hate it.  When I wrote the ending to Betrayal, which I am now editing because it has so very many flaws, I got butterflies at the end.  (Okay, maybe I’m not supposed to admit that, because many of you have read it too…  And maybe you hated the ending.)

The only part I like is that in re-reading it, I sense an unconsciously written nod to Charlotte Brontë in there.  Otherwise…oh, I can’t even think of it without cringing.

So I have a proposition: how about I type it up and before I post it I send it to anyone who’s interested?  Then y’all can tell me WHAT IN THE WORLD TO DO ABOUT MY ENDING!  I mean it- I need help.  Just facebook, tweet, figment-wall-post or email me with your email address and as soon as I get it typed up I’ll send it to you. 🙂

And I mean it- please take me up on this.  I need the advice.  And this means if you don’t want to read my whole dumb ending but you still have ideas for how it could go, I want that input as well! Please.  🙂

I am in love with Russia.  I’ve never been there, but the culture, the history, the revolutions, wars, politics, fashions, fairy-tales, names and language are fascinating to me.  Plus I love winter and snow and fur coats.  😉   Probably one of my favorite novels is Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs.  It gives me a taste for the Russian culture that I can’t seem to rinse out of my mouth.  *shivers excitedly*

Honestly, I don’t pretend to know anything about Russia yet, so please don’t hold me in contempt if you do.  🙂

When my parents were dating and then engaged, 21 years ago, they helped an entire family (as in, the babies up to the grandparetns and all kinds of aunts, uncles, and cousins branching off to every side) of Ukrainian refugees acclimate to America.  They helped them learn English through the Bible, comparing scriptures in each others’ languages, etc.  My mom, who has always been good with linguistics, can still read and speak a little Russian.  So now that these people have children of their own, children my age, I’ve been privileged enough to grow up going to the glorious, splendid, overly-catered-with-luscious-Russian-food weddings all my life.  I love it all- the service is in Russian, and although I understand only a couple of words, I revel in it.  The food is marvelous.  The people are ALL lovely and welcoming (they learn your name and instantly start calling you family).  The food is out of this world.  The weddings are grand, extravagant, joyful and looooong.  Did I mention the food?  I am in love with this culture.  If you can’t tell.

So it happens that I often draw from it.  I don’t know as much as I would like (which I’m working on), but I do know a lot of names- and names are my favorite.  🙂  So here’s the list so far for Esmeralda (the * means I have a friend by this name) –






I mentioned someone named Willem once…

Leopold is eastern-European…

It has been mentioned to me that I might make the Russian theme a bit more apparent, more of the story, and I am thinking that on my second or third write I will do just that.   Honestly that list doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s not only in Esmeralda that I do this.  One of my more recent stories, The Capricious King’s Daughter, is set in a very Russian world- I’m still developing it, but winter is a key component, and the names of the characters so far are Asha, Eduard, Elizaveta, Dessa, Yuriy, Galina, Luba, Ivan, Fyodor, Milek, Georgiy, Efim, Pavel and Sergei.  Haha…yeah, it’s an obsession.  I love Celtic names too, as you’ll know if you’ve read Betrayal.  🙂