Monthly Recap — January // in which I read little and nearly forgot what my family looked like (I kid)

Jan Recap 1 (edited)

I started January thinking, “This month will be a quiet month, a gentle month, a month of dedicated editing and digging into books. This month I shall be a hermit and all I shall do is edit and read.”

Oh, poor, wishful, deluded Annie.

Basically by the end of the month I strongly echoed the Doctor.


Curious Wren Bloggy Stuffage

All things bookish

My reading in January (or rather, lack thereof) is utterly scandalous. Scandalous, I tell you! I finished a grand total of– *gulp* two books. *hides behind door* I think that is the worst record I have ever had. In my defense I did read regularly — I just didn’t finish much. Wodehouse’s short stories kept me happy most of the month, Jill the Reckless was rife with humor (“This woman always made Freddie feel as if he were being disemboweled by some clumsy amateur.”) and I finally read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the first time and, humans, it. is. wonderful. pun sorta intended 

I treated myself to this gorgeous copy at a rare Barnes and Noble trip and I fully intend to read it to my children someday.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

All the rest of my reading time this month was (still is) devoted to Crowning Heaven, a planetary fantasy I am beta-reading for Emily and, let me tell you, peoples, if you love fantasy: you will want to squish this book close and gloat over it.


In other news, I attended my first library book sale last week. Twas glorious. I nearly got trampled, but everybody was so nice and friendly (bookworms are just lovely humans, aren’t we?). People recommended authors to me, I chatted with old ladies about mysteries and life and all that good stuff; lost my sister and Mum multiple times in the crowd and tracked down every good book I could. We came away with full boxes. Most of my 20 books were research for writing and whatnot, but I found a copy of Behemoth which makes me happy. Now I just have to read it.

All things writish

Barely anything writish went down this month, unlike I had originally intended. Lots of planning and brainstorming and plotsing, but not much actual writing. Which was rough because I started to feel stressed and I missed my charries terribly, but on the whole I think my impromptu break was good for me. Especially after the mad insanity of finishing Blood Thread. I might not have put many words down on paper, but I lived. January rejuvenated my inspiration and mind, and I long to pour all my energy into edits this month. It’ll be grand.

Also, after reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I am SWARMED with ideas for retellings. HALP ME FEND OFF THE PLOT BUNNIES.

Life Glimpses

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post January was madly busy.


I was home only 11 days last month, those were interspersed throughout January, and as a people-loving human who needs her darlings around her, it was rough. But, despite hardly being home and not getting any editing done whatsoever, it was a good month.

My nephew was born in the very first week of January and he is a snuggly bundle of cuteness that I will never tire of holding. Unless, of course, I faint from the adorable. That is a possibility. o.o

(this Tiny Human waited anxiously for her baby brother to finish being born) 

The week after the Cutest Nephew Ever was born my older sister Holly and I had the opportunity to house-sit for friends. We were gone for more than a week and it was amazing. Their house is many-leveled and posh and I read and worked on my blog lots and watched the entirety of Once Upon A Time season 4 with Holly. We went to a bookstore with escalators and I rode them and felt like a levitating superhero. Or a majestic Queen.

(Holly likes to take pictures like this and send them to me. She’s awesome like that.)

And talking about books (we weren’t, but pretend we were) I started Winter while we were house-sitting and, Sweet TARDIS of Gallifrey, I really love this crazy crew of charries. I forgot how precious Thorne and Cress are. shippinggggg

(I am a huge fan of scribbling in inspiration journals between people-watching and eating at restaurants.)

// all things bright //

  • Joy and I have been soul-friends for almost four years now and finally, finally we had the chance to talk face-to-face. We skyped twice and chatted for hours about everything imaginable. (love you, goosie!)
  • I have a laptop! This is huge news, humans. To make a long story short, I’ve been praying for months for the funds to buy one, and then a friend of mine gave me her little-used college laptop because she felt she needed to. It is new-ish and beautiful and I still can’t quite believe it’s mine. Having it is a tremendous answer to prayer. I still cry when I think about that reminder of just how much God cares about even the little things. *gets all teary again*
  • I got to spend four days with six of my favorite children on the planet. They’re such darlings, and I couldn’t love being a part-time nanny more.
  • Guess what? I have a kitten! At last. (#AilurophileAllTheWay) She loves people with all the love, and is precious and warm and soft. I call her Leia.


  • pillow fights. trips to bookstores. telling stories to eager, listening children. long talks with friends about all things writerly. deep discussions. small-ish roadtrips. mint shakes. piping hot chai tea. sherbet. spine-tingling emotional songs. romping with a friendly golden retriever. halo parties and candy fights. escalator rides. fairytale books. snuggling a brand-new baby. basking in the glow of a Christmas tree.

Around Cyberspace

all the fandoms

(unabashed fangirling ahead. feel free to skip this if you wish)

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post my older sister and I watched Once Upon A Time season four last month. Excuse me while I howl in the corner.


This season gave me so many feels.



And that finale. O.O


I was thrilled by the unexpected, new addition of Will Scarlet. He is hilarious.


And let’s take a minute to appreciate how lovable and awkward and spot-on Anna’s character is?


Sometime I want to write up a post about this TV show since there’s so many things I love about it, but things I disagree with too. Needless to say, I am on pins and needles for season five.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was every bit as amazing and gripping as I expected it to be. More so even, with plot twists I didn’t see coming, great fight scenes, nerve-racking stunts and a female character who is so much more than just eye candy or a plot device. I really want to review this on Curious Wren soon-ish. Also it was refreshingly clean with only a few swear words and one tiny scene. And can I just mention how much I love the Ethan Hunt’s character? And BENJI. Actually just everyone.


Agent Carter season two started airing in January. YAY. My family never, ever watches TV shows while they air so it tells you how much we like Marvel that we’re willing to spend our Tuesday evenings watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. Once the first episode of season two started up I basically went all fangirly a la Jemma Simmons.


And watching it reminded me all over again how much I love Peggy and Jarvis as a team. Because hilarity and camaraderie and I’ve-got-your-back and general British awesomeness happening. I’m also very curious to see where Thompson’s character is headed. I’m getting hints of inner conflict already and I could see his character having a great story arc. Let’s hope it doesn’t go south. We don’t need another Maniac Grant Ward in the Marvel TV show family.

Looking Ahead

  • I am starting a new blog series along the theme of my word for the year — brave. The first post should be up sometime this month.
  • During February I’ll be editing the fourth draft of I am Juliette intensively. Which is thrilling and terrifying.
  • Plus, working on college stuffage which is also thrilling and terrifying.
  • I’m nearly done beta-reading Crowning Heaven, and then it’s on to finish beta-reading Emergence by Brianna. Both books are fantasy, albeit two very different kinds and I. love. them.

How was your January, lovelies? What are you looking forward to this month? Have you seen any of Agent Carter or the others? Any fantastic books you discovered last month? LET US CHAT. *gives out baby griffins*


// bright

Over the past few days my virtual mailbox has been flooded with post after retrospective post about the Old Year and looking towards the New Year. They are all fascinating to read and some are very inspiring, but I’ve noticed that almost every single one has something in common: “Twenty-fifteen was a hard year… I was broken down and built back up again… I learned so much and came out a stronger person… this was one of the toughest years I’ve ever conquered…”

May I tell you a secret?

Twenty-fifteen wasn’t like that for me.

Twenty-fifteen didn’t put me through the fire. 

And that gave me a sense of guilt. Even of fear.

What was wrong with me that the trials I encountered this year didn’t break me down? Why was it that my memories of the past year were so bright and vivid and full of light? Was I somehow shallow in ways I didn’t know? Was I forgetting how to learn or was I becoming content with staying just as I am? Had my growth as a person and child of God slowed? 

And then I realized.

2014 was one of the hardest years I ever lived through.

Not last year, but the year before is a year that stands out in my tapestry of life as one of the darkest, one of the most painful, one of the most trying years I’ve gone through. That was a time that broke me down so I could be builded up again a stronger and, hopefully, wiser person. A time where I walked through the fire and despaired of seeing the other side. A time when I slowly began to understand just how unconditional God’s love is and just how much worth I am in his eyes, no matter how I look in my own sight.

We are human. We are fragile and we measure heartbeats by time because our finite minds can not yet even grasp the idea of a world that is timeless. We are mortal and in our imperfection we can only handle so much. And who better to know that than our Creator?

To put it very poorly, for me, Twenty-fifteen was a breathing space. A time of bright colors after the storm.

This year I was blessed by so many amazing experiences and moments and people.

In the spring my older sister Holly and I went on our first out-of-state road trip together and we stayed in quaint Bed & Breakfasts, explored deep caves, and picnicked in the middle of a quiet, lushly-green Civil War battlefield. I traced the scars of bullets in ancient trees — half-imagining I could hear the roar of battle –and cried in the graveyard of over a hundred Confederate and Federal soldiers. I walked up a staircase Lincoln once stood on. We attended a lovely wedding, got lost, went on hay-rides through gorgeous fields, adopted the most wonderful Southern couple as our “aunt and uncle,” had far too much Nutella, and created still more private jokes. I fell in love with Kentucky, drank in the glorious scenery much more than I read, went to Chick-Fil-A for the first time, window-shopped in idyllic towns, took multiple character sketches, bought my first Wodehouse novel and made friends with various members of the feline family. We listened to Danny Boy so much I have a hard time hearing it now because it makes me homesick.

The surreal perfection of that trip still makes my heart skip a beat — I hold the memory of it like a beautiful gem.

There were lots of firsts for me in Twenty-fifteen.

(inserting a list because, clearly, lists are life.)

— went flying. in a four-seater plane. amazing. we are so tiny in the scale of things. why do we even waste our time with worry and fear when we are faced with the evidence of such majesty and power of God.

— played laser tag and am apparently a natural. this is what having brothers and being a Halo fan does to you. and i love it.

— wrote in cafés and developed a taste for coffee. am i a real writer now? yes that was snark.

— rode on a ski-lift. in the summer.

— fell in love with acting and drama and please, please let me be in another play this year.

— discovered all over again how rewarding and heart-warming and happy it is to be at a church where you belong. where you feel you have come home. thank God.

— won camp nanowrimo july at 25,000 words. which was the most amazing writing spree i have ever done whilst writing long-hand.

— basically wodehouse and sutcliff and rowntree and chesterton and stengl and dicamillo. recommended.

— scrawled a steampunk fantasy thing i adore.

— met this darling (so, so lovely) and this darling (also lovely) and we three became the sea scribblers which is ever bit as epic as it sounds.

— this blog happened and sometimes i still can’t believe that it is real. dream come true. and here’s a thank you to each and every one of you wonderful people who follow and comment and interact and take the time to read. it means so, so much to me. impromptu group hug! *hands chocolate chips around*

— participated in several read-alongs. also recommended. ^_^

— spent several months as a sunday school teacher. stressful and rewarding and i think the teachers, ultimately, learn more from the students than the other way around. tiny humans, i love you.

— scribbled this in a style i never tried before, and now i love it with all the love.

I visited tiny, gloriously overflowing bookstores, and swam at night in glimmering pools and ate far too much ice-cream and went to the beach almost every week just to sprawl on the sand and read Wodehouse or think happy thoughts. I tapped into my artistic side because adults color too.

I remember the thrill of learning I finaled (I say this is a word, spellcheck) in a well-known creative writing competition. I remember struggling to find the silver lining all the times it felt like our old, old house was falling to pieces around us, when talking to people in face-to-face conversations was torturous because the old fear of being my real self had surfaced again, when I forgot to be thankful for my people and realized just how selfish a writer’s life can be when they spend too much time in their own world. I remember attending the national God Save America conference and feeling that swell of proud and patriotism every time the veterans were honored… I cried more in those three days than I had in a long time, and I was reminded once again of the power and wonder of prayer and how little we use it — especially myself.

I read copious amounts of incredible books, watched old movies with my siblings and cried over The Battle of Five Armies and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Art days trotting about a city with family and good friends were some of my favorites.

I made new friends, so many wonderful, inspiring, supportive people — both writers and non-writers.

Writing every day was something I conquered and, slowly, I’ve begun to feel like that far-off day of publication is a hairsbreadth closer.

Was 2015 an easy year?

No. But it was a bright year.

Sometimes a person’s growth is like silver melted down and re-molded. Sometimes it’s like a tiny sprig of grass reaching steadily towards the sunlight.

I don’t know what Twenty-sixteen holds for me.

But I can’t wait to find out.

“The future is yet an untrodden path full of wonderful possibilities.” — L.M. Montgomery


Fourteen years ago I was a six year old little girl. 

Fourteen years ago the world as I knew it changed forever. 

I still remember that day as if it was yesterday.

I remember Dad renting a TV so we could watch as the atrocity unfolded.

I remember sitting in front of it on the hard, wooden boards of our floor, my siblings clustered around me. 

I remember the confusion I felt.

I remember my mother crying as she tried to grasp what was happening (how could this possibly be happening). I remember her crying when she explained to me.

I remember the fear. (so little, and taut with vague fear and dread, even though I’m with Mummy and Daddy.)

I remember the horror as I began to realize that people were dying. (so many people).

I remember watching people jump from the towers in desperation. I remember clutching my fists, unable to believe my eyes. 

I remember turning to Mummy with one simple word: “why?” (Mummy always made everything better.)

I remember being too stunned to even cry.

I remember Mummy holding me and my two younger sisters close as if –thousands of miles away from NY — something could happen to us.

I remember people streaming to churches. 

I remember praying numbly myself, and in my six year old mind not even knowing exactly what to pray.

I remember the stories of heroism and humanity and patriotism that finally made me cry when I couldn’t before.

I remember wanting to donate blood, but not knowing exactly what it meant.

I remember being fiercely proud of my people, my nation, as we banded together and bound up each other’s wounds.

This was my first encounter with horrific tragedy. 

Six years old.

Someone, I can’t remember who, told a story with tears streaming down her face about not remembering to give her Dad a hug that morning. He died two hours later.

For more than ten years after that I hugged my Dad goodbye every morning without fail.

My parents taught me to be thankful, to live life treasuring each moment, savoring every breath.

9/11 drove that lesson home.

May we never, never forget those who died, those who gave their lives to save others, and the thousands who are still affected by September 11th. 

“…. That we here highly resolve that these dead have not died in vain: that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg address.

“…. I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” — J.R.R. Tolkien