Should I…Bookstagram?

Over the past year, I’ve seriously been struggling with social media. It’s been a combination of I don’t enjoy it and I don’t have time with a healthy dose of feeling eh about it all thrown in.

Except this thing called Bookstagram keeps whispering in my head.

Honestly, a year ago, I had no idea what it was because I was brand new to Instagram. But, over on WordPress, I was following a lot of readers and book bloggers and that word kept popping up. Bookstagram.

A year ago, I was also going through a really bad book slump, so I just filed it away and did nothing but try to figure out what to do with these social media accounts I’d created for my blog.

Signing up for NetGalley on a whim while my son was at playschool and my daughter was napping really got me out of my slump and I’ve gone barely a day without reading. My bookish life is going full steam ahead! Have you noticed I post a bit more about books these days?

Reading has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve always described myself as a reader. I read so much I’m books behind on reviews.

Bookstagram

I can’t get that whisper to shut up.

Since I started up this blog again last January, I’ve been adamant about not being a mom blogger. I’m a mom who blogs, but writing about motherhood is only one small part, so I hate calling this a mom blog. Despite the fact that a healthy number of my followers are moms.

But I won’t be a book blogger, either. I can’t just write about books. I could fill my schedule with bookish posts, but I’ll tire of that quickly.

That’s why I call The Lily Cafe a lifestyle blog.

But social media became a big problem. Simply trying to post about my reading-writing-baking-momming-eclectic life wasn’t working. And I was having zero fun.

Helloooo….Bookstagram…

I don’t know if this post even makes sense. But I’m going to give Bookstagram a shot, though I definitely won’t be posting over there every day. The blog will remain the same. Eventually I might figure out Twitter, but it’ll be awhile.

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The Lily Cafe Digest, No. 2

This year, I’m doing a 6+1 blogging schedule of 6 weeks blogging followed by a one week break. Since it’s time for another Digest, it’s also time for another blogging break. Enjoy, and thank you so much for following!

A Look Back

Mother Mondays

Most of my Monday posts over the past 6 weeks have been on the serious side. Two of them seem to go against the grain, so to speak, but, to my surprise, got more of a response than I had expected. I know the norm is for moms to immediately seek out a mom tribe, but I chose to isolate myself from other moms and I think it helped me become the confident mom I am today. I was so glad to know I wasn’t alone! I’m also not the kind of parent to put a screen in front of my kids. They have free access, but devices are not allowed out of our home.

There are a few things I have going for me that helps make motherhood relatively easy. I have a background in psychology and child development, so I’ve started a new series called Parenting with Psychology and wrote about how Erikson’s developmental stages help guide me in raising my children. I have also given my kids reasons why they can’t or have to do something. It may make me exercise my tired brain more, but they’re more likely to behave and less likely to repeat bad behaviors.

But motherhood isn’t always easy. My daughter is almost 2 and still doesn’t sleep through the night. Fortunately (?), I’m often so sleep deprived that I’ve kind of gotten used to it. Those days can be tough, but there are a few things I do to help make those days easier.

Finally, for some fun, I wrote about the tongue. Having kids really made me learn a few things. I was surprised by what I learned about the tongue, but I definitely should have known it.

Raven

I believe we’re about halfway through of what I’ve actually written. Yup, that means this is an unfinished story. I know exactly how it ends. I just have to actually write it.

Raven’s life has been shaken up recently with the lose of someone very dear to her. There are also uncertain times brewing and all the Thief Lords need to be on guard. Oh, and a daughter will never look at her father the same way again.

Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapter 9|Chapter 10|Chapter 11|Chapter 12

Free For All Fridays

I think I’ve been plodding along quite nicely in my ratio baking journey. I’ve really enjoyed not having to use as much brain power to bake. Ratio baking is easier on my brain, and much easier to do than using a recipe with kids around.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading lately. I may have posted only 3 reviews, all 3 books courtesy of NetGalley, but I’ve read much more than that. I’m a big fan of self-published books, but am always sad when I pick up a very promising story only to find the book was poorly edited. I read for those gems, but my heart aches when it’s not executed well.

More generally related to lifestyle, I finally got around to talking about the KonMari method and how it fits into my family’s life. Well, actually, how it doesn’t fit. I grew up with a dad who collects furniture, so I found her method appealing, but completely impractical with my family.

Book reviews: The Psychology of Zelda|The Emerald Queen|The Perfect Assassin

Looking Forward

Mother Mondays

There are many things rattling around in my head. I’m really trying to focus on the way I parent and am achingly aware of how it seems to differ from the vast majority of how other moms do it. But it’s what I do, what works for my family, and I’m happy. There are times I’d like to fit in more with mom bloggers, but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. I’ll have another installment of Parenting with Psychology as well as how I’ve become a put-together mom. I don’t expect any of my planned posts to be popular since I tend to diverge from what so many moms actually do, but it’s what this mom does and maybe there are others.

Raven

Not much to say here. I won’t spoil anything. But, as Jennifer Zeiger commented, the fall out should be interesting. I definitely had a few arguments with some of my characters, and I think they’re much more stubborn than I am, and I’m a Taurus (I don’t actually follow astrology, but people like to note my stubbornness must come from being a Taurus)!

Free For All Fridays

I’ll of course be continuing my adventures in ratio baking and my life between the pages, though this time I’ll be focusing on what I think about cover art. And you can definitely count on more book reviews. They’re still stacking up.

Other News

I’m planning on making a few changes to the blog and it’ll probably touch on everything. I’ve already changed the logo and tagline to better reflect what I’ll be focusing on from here on out, or at least until I change my mind again. I’m notoriously indecisive. For now, I’m taking a more…magical approach and adding a few new items.

Favorite Posts from Around the Blogging Community

Mostly because I feel self-centered about writing a whole post about my own blog, but also because there are so many lovely blogs I enjoy and want to share them with you. Here are some of my favorite posts from the last 6 weeks. I do hope you check them out and give them a follow.

How to Overthrow “The Man,” According to YA Lit by The Cozied Reader: I can’t tell you how much I loved this! It’s exactly why I don’t enjoy reading YA books. She has also written similar How to Guides and I tend to think they’re very accurate. So, whether or not you enjoy reading, take a look around her site and give her a follow.

Imparting Emotions (Magicooking!) by Andrew Mowere of The Association of Merry Makers: One of three writers who run the blog, he wrote Adventus and is currently writing another book in the same world. I’m quite interested in this one as it involves food and cooking and I enjoy a good cookbook, especially a magical one. Too bad it can’t cook for me. I especially enjoyed this snippet he posted and most sincerely wish the eggs he wrote about were real.

So You Wanna Help a Mother, Do Ya? by I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother: Being a mom is tough. No mom will ever say it isn’t in some way hard, even me. Especially here in the States, we lack support. This mom gives an all too realistic look into what motherhood is like, and lets you know exactly how you can actually help a mom out. So, whether you’re a mom or know a mom, read this!

Cut the Cord by Better Than Fine: Written by a mom and Kindergarten teacher, this post really struck a chord in my heart, especially since my oldest is rapidly approaching his Kindergarten start date. She writes about the effect technology has on the kids she teaches and, frankly, it scares me. I’ve definitely cut back on suggesting my son’s tablet when he complains he has nothing to do.

Just the Way You Are by Brooke Cutler: Quite possibly one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever encountered, Brooke isn’t just a lovely mom, but also an all-around beautiful person. Her outlook on life is infectious and I can’t help but see the beauty and magic all around us. Her posts always touch my heart and make me smile and see a little more of the sparkle that life exudes.

The Voice on the Other End of the Phone by The Glorious Train Wreck Mom: This mom does something I could never, ever do. She works in customer service. You know, the people others like to belittle and scream at whenever something goes wrong. You know you do it, and she’s here to say cut it out. Just because they’re in customer service doesn’t mean they can solve all of your problems, doesn’t mean they have all the answers, doesn’t mean they have the answers you expect, and doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your utmost respect. After reading what she deals with, I definitely think customer service representatives should be saints. So, be kind.

“That Mom” vs “Bat Mom” by Early Childhood with Ms. Jane: This is one of the newest blogs I’m following and I can’t wait to read more from her. She’s been in early childhood education for years and is a fountain of wisdom. And guess what? In her eyes, if you’re really paying attention to your kids and don’t want to be that mom who goes talking to the teachers and principal, you’re already a superhero. So just do it.

Thank you so much for reading!

With much appreciation, kat

The Lily Cafe Digest, No. 1

I’ve been wanting to do a newsletter for the past year, but I’ve wanted to neither list my address nor rent a P.O. Box, so here I am, creating The Lily Cafe Digest for all of my lovely readers! This year, I’m doing a 6+1 blogging schedule of 6 weeks blogging followed by a one week break. This means there will be a new Digest every 7 weeks. Enjoy, and thank you so much for following!

A Look Back

The past 6 weeks have really zipped by. Sometimes I think I’d like to post more than 3 times a week, but, at the end of the day, I’m just glad I get the 3 a week done.

Mother Mondays

This year I’m focusing on what motherhood is like for me. It may be different from what so many moms say, but it’s my mom truths. For one, I sit and eat chocolate quite a bit. Daily, actually. I should go see my dentist. For another, I’m one of the “lucky” ones who bounced back after both babies. But it’s hard to feel lucky.

I read an article a few weeks ago about millennial parents singing fewer lullabies than previous generations. As a lullaby singing mom, I was shocked. Of course, their research wasn’t perfect, but still. Music is so important in my life, I have a hard time imagining other parents not singing, but everyone is entitled to their own choices.

My son is going into Kindergarten this fall and we find ourselves with several choices on our hands. We’ll have to enter him into each school’s lottery system, but we’re sincerely hoping to put him in a school that’s better than the one he’s zoned for. Unfortunately, the number of schools where we live is mind boggling, but we’ve narrowed down the elements that are most important to us.

More personally, my menstrual cycle started up again 20 months after my daughter’s birth. With it came some very unexpected feelings.

Raven

With the start of a new year, I started posting chapters from an old story. Originally written during a National Novel Writing Month, it still has a special place in my heart, so I’m sharing it. It’s also not finished even though I know the ending and only sort of edited it. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

Needle City runs on feuds. Almost every family has a feud with another, or two. But instead of sullying their hands and risking trouble with the law, they turn to the Thief Lords. Raven is the only female Thief Lord, and arguably the best. But when she gets caught between routine assassination attempts by her fellow Thief Lords and a routine feud that goes awry, she’ll be stuck paying the price.

Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6

Free For All Fridays

I hadn’t meant for Fridays to be so eclectic, but it’s times like these that I’m glad I declared The Lily Cafe a lifestyle blog. I love reading and baking and learning new things.

Over the past 6 weeks, I reviewed 3 books courtesy of NetGalley. Many of the books I’ve reviewed recently have been from there because I got a little request happy. But I’ve also read a number of self-published books. I am planning on writing and posting reviews, but my life between the pages doesn’t allow much time for reviewing. Sadly, the reviews just keep stacking up.

Reviews: St. Paul’s Labyrinth|All That Will Burn|Here and Now and Then

I’ve longed for a kitchen scale for awhile. My husband surprised me with one for Christmas, and I’ve been putting it to more or less delicious use. Ratio baking has been quite an adventure. Meaning I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate cake. Good thing I can never have too much chocolate. Or cake. Definitely need to see the dentist…

Looking Forward

After my week-long break, I have plenty of posts planned, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Or will write them.

Mother Mondays

Continuing with the idea of sharing my mom truths, I’m really in love with my upcoming post about mom tribes. It might be a little unexpected, and may not even get many views, but I’m proud of how that experience has shaped how I parent.

I have a Master’s Degree in clinical psychology, so I’m really excited about starting an ongoing series I call Parenting with Psychology. So much of what I do is informed by my educational and professional background in psychology and with kids, so I want to share it.

Raven

Not much to say on this section, but chapters 7-12 will be posting on Wednesdays. Let’s get to know how Raven operates a little more, shall we?

Free For All Fridays

More book reviews! Of books courtesy of NetGalley. I swear I’ll get to the self-published books! There will be more Adventures in Ratio Baking because I can’t decide if I love books or baking more, and I always have something to bake. And read.

Favorite Posts From Around the Blogging Community

Mostly because I feel self-centered about writing a whole post about my own blog, but also because there are so many lovely blogs I enjoy and want to share them with you. Here are some of my favorite posts from the last 6 weeks. I do hope you check them out and give them a follow.

January Whizzed Right Past by Jennifer M. Zeiger: If you’ve been following for awhile, you may have noticed I talk about Jennifer more than any other blogger. For good reason. I’ve known her the longest. But she’s also an incredibly beautiful soul. Her middle grades book The Adventure was a huge hit with my 4 year old. She’s open about her early struggles with literacy, which led to a love of choose your own adventure stories, which led to her writing The Adventure. And now it’s taken her into the development of a literacy and creative writing workshop! Follow the link to find out more and get your own copy of The Adventure. It’s awesome for kids! My son will attest to that.

Not All Mothers Are Created Equal at The Eureka Diaries: This mom speaks to my heart. I don’t accept that struggles in motherhood exist and I just have to get used to it. Neither does this mom. She doesn’t shame moms for struggling, but she does encourage moms to use them to reflect and grow to become better.

Why Do I Have a Blog? by Quirky Quip: This wonderful lady speaks to my soul so much! She’s honest and authentic and doesn’t want to be the kind of influencer who makes you want to buy things. She shares a piece of her soul and really tries to get at what is important in life.

Are You Lost Princess? a short story by Nopoodles: I may not read as many writers as I used to, but I still enjoy them and can never pass up a story by Nopoodles. A runaway princess story with an ending that puts a smile on my face. And if you’re looking for LGBT fiction, be sure to hop on over and browse for awhile.

My absolute favorite? Thousand Sunny Queen is done from Mike at The Association of Merry Makers: A trio of writers collaborating on one blog, Mike is one of them and will have a book coming out soon. I gobbled up the teasing bits he posted last year and have been sitting on pins and needles for far too long for it to be finished. The wait is almost over.

Thank you so much for reading!

With much appreciation, kat

Brief Break, or How I’m Attempting to Avoid Blogging Burnout

Last year I gave myself the insane task of post 5 days a week while raising two toddlers. Needless to say, I was exhausted halfway through the year and decreased my posting frequency.

This year, I’m trying out a new method: 6 weeks of posting followed by 1 week of break. Well, I’ve accomplished my 6 weeks (as of this post), so now I get a break. Like most of my other breaks, I won’t be posting, reading, or responding to any new comments. It’ll be a complete break all next week from blogging so I can focus on everything else in my life, and get a few things going. Hopefully.

So, be well, everyone! I’ll see you Monday the 25th, hopefully rested and a step back from blogging burnout.

It’s Break Time

The past few weeks have been rough between raising two toddlers, packing, moving, and unpacking. Three weeks to pack up four people and all the junk that comes with them (cough, toys) simply isn’t enough time. At least, not when the older toddler is demanding playtime and the younger toddler screams to be held almost every waking second.

We’re finally settling in, finally starting to get back into a rhythm. But there are more headaches ahead. Namely, our oldest’s education. He’ll be in Kindergarten next year, which really shouldn’t be any cause for worry, concern, or headaches. But we now live in a sprawling city with an equally sprawling school district. Just because he’s zoned for one elementary school doesn’t mean we can’t try to get him into a better school through a lottery system. Which means I have to jump on doing those applications. Now.

And with the holidays coming up and literally just two garlands lying around, I think it’s time for a break. There is much we need to do in the coming months, much that I need to write down and organize, and many things for me to contemplate as I plan to go back to work by next fall.

So…I’ll be taking a few weeks off. I don’t quite know when I’ll be back, but I’m aiming for January 7th or 14th and The Husband has repeatedly assured me he’ll write posts for next year. I’ll definitely be back, but I won’t write a return date in stone. Next year will be a bit busy, so I may need to lay off blogging a bit, but I really do enjoy it, so I’ll be sneaking it in. I have ideas. I just need to find my lost minutes and hours. Heck, I’ll take seconds at this point.

Happy holidays, everyone!

The Haunted Wordsmith Questions

I’ve been following The Haunted Wordsmith for awhile, but have always been too busy to take part in her prompts and challenges. But now that I’m on the verge of going on a brief hiatus and am exhausted from a month of packing and unpacking, I decided to do today’s batch of questions. I also have nothing publishable and don’t want to write something new. Oh, and I’m completely procrastinating.

  1. If you had a million dollars what would you do with it? Create college funds for my kids and invest the rest
  2. What is your favorite day of the week? I have 2 kids who are not yet in school. I don’t know the days of the week anymore. I think they all end in day, though
  3. You find a plainly wrapped box by your door with no address or markings on it – what do you do with it? Leave it and call the police. I’m paranoid
  4. If you could make someone do one thing – who would it be and what would you have them do? Me and I would make myself finish my almost 20 year old story
  5. It’s raining outside – what are you doing inside? Well, it’s raining today and I made chocolate chip cookies with the kids
  6. Puzzles, crossword puzzles, or word search? Puzzles. I love words, but I’m very spatial
  7. Would your teenage self recognize your adult self? Yes, and she would probably say “I can’t believe we’re still boring”
  8. You have one a celebrity chef for the day – who is it and what do they cook for you? Duff Goldman and cake
  9. Have you ever been banned or kicked out of a store? No
  10. What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate mousse cake
  11. What is the worst movie ever made (provide a link)? I’ve never been a fan of movies, so haven’t actually watched many, but I seriously hate the Star Wars movies. Sorry, but I find a family saga involving patricide set in space to be stupid and completely uncompelling.

Apologies and a Big Thank You

First of all, thank you so much to all the bloggers who have left lovely comments over the past couple of weeks! I really do appreciate them and can’t thank you enough.

Secondly, I most sincerely apologize for not responding. Your comments mean a great deal to me and I feel terrible about taking so long to reply.

This is moving week for us. The past 2-3 weeks have been long and stressful with packing with two toddlers. I bit off more than I could chew and now I have to pick and choose. I enjoy living in organized chaos. My home will never be magazine-worthy, but it’s full of life and shows a lot of happiness and love. Right now, though, it’s just chaos and I don’t always do well with chaos. I feel unorganized outside of my packing organization and have been avoiding blogging.

In a week, we’ll be moved and settling in. Hopefully this blog will also return to normal. I have posts planned and half-written, but my priority will definitely be to respond to each and every comment by then.

Lastly, WordPress recently let me know I have over 1,000 followers. How that happened, I have no clue, but I’m honored that so many people are interested in my blog, and so incredibly thankful.

Back towards the beginning of the year, when I was on a branding journey to eventually monetize, I took a Blogging U course about branding. One of the tasks was to create 3 goals. I’m not goal-oriented, but I made some. One was to have 1,000 followers by the end of the year. Months later, I abandoned that journey as it bothered me, so I didn’t think I would hit that number. I was shocked when it happened and really cannot thank you enough.

Thank you to everyone who follows, reads, likes, and comments! For an introvert who has always struggled with making her voice be heard, this means the world to me and I am eternally grateful. Thank you!

The Intersection of Toddler Mom, NaNoWriMo, and Moving is Exhaustion

I’m exhausted. I don’t think I can hang on for 10 more days. Actually, I’m surprised I made it this far.

Going into November, I knew it was going to be tough. We’re moving at the end of the month and I had decided to do NaNo all while raising 2 toddlers. Even though I had it all planned out, life still happens and I didn’t count on plain exhaustion setting in.

Packing with a 4 year old and 18 month old isn’t fun. There are constant pleas of “play with me” and the cries of a little girl who only wants to be held. I’ve been lucky to get a box or two packed a day, but, considering we move in less than 2 weeks, that pace is not going to cut it. Our home is a mess and there are boxes everywhere. It’s a little stressful.

But my 4 year old really has been an angel. He’s learning to keep himself occupied, or he just jumps on my bed. I always make sure there are pockets of time where we must play, but he’s really been pretty amazing.

Then there’s his 1.5 year old sister. She’s like cling wrap, the way you wish it would work. If I’m not holding her, I absolutely must remain in her line of sight, otherwise the shrieking starts. But I also think she’s going through a sleep regression or teething. Or, more likely, both. I’m lucky to get 4 hours of broken sleep at night, and then I spend half the day telling her I am not a chew toy. Though it would explain her obsession with frozen waffles…

But the hardest part is how tired and fussy she is all day. I’ve mastered packing with one hand and can practically sense when she’s going to go pull everything out of the trash bags.

I had thought naptime and bedtime were going to be my pockets of blissful writing time. I would have their 2 hour naptime to just write. I could easily bang out those 1667 words. No problem.

And it’s not a problem. I can do about 2000. But I’m a plotter and decided to go the pantser route. It’s been interesting and fun, but I’m getting frustrated. I know the general direction and how it ends and I have a good idea of what I want to happen in the middle, but it’s soooo slow. I feel like the pacing is too slow and there’s too much talking. I’m enjoying the world building, but everything else is getting on my nerves. I’m at over 35,000 words and just now getting to a quarter of the way through.

Or, you know, I’m just an exhausted mom trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days while cramming our whole lives into white boxes.

So, packing must get done. The children must be cared for. I absolutely do not need to do 50,000 words. So, I’m not. If I do, great, but, from here on out, I’m going to try just writing every other day instead of every day for however long it takes me to either finish or thoroughly hate this version (likely not too much longer). Maybe I’ll finally get the hang of this story in another 20 years.

And there you have it. The intersection of a mom of two toddlers trying to pack up and write 50,000 words in one month is just plain exhaustion. Remind me to never repeat this experience again.

Blog and Life Updates

Blog updates

A month ago my plan was to spend November almost exclusively posting my NaNo story and then return to my regular 3 times a week schedule of mom, books, and writing posts in December until the holidays.

Well, I’m going to do Allison proud and burn that plan.

Why?

Because she’s a loud voice in my head and life is just too busy for me to contemplate non-writing posts.

Life updates

About a month ago we learned we needed to move by the end of November. My husband’s new job nowhere near where we currently live means we must move. Fortunately, we’re staying in Southern California, but…have you seen the traffic here, not to mention the Woolsey Fire? Returning from apartment hunting once took us 3.5 hours.

So, all month, while I’ve been diligently working on my novel, we’ve been looking for a new home (check) and packing (I feel like dumping everything and starting over at this point). My husband and I have moved many times during our decade together, so we’re kind of pros by now, but 2 toddlers definitely make it harder. And then there’s the unpacking… Not to mention pulling my son out of playschool and trying to find another good program and getting him registered for Kindergarten. Seriously, Kindergarten is going to be the bane of my existence, but that’s for another post.

But life isn’t the only reason why I’m burning my blog plan.

So, what’s the real blog update?

November is half over, which means NaNo is half over, which means I should be about half done. And I am really close to 25,000 words, but nowhere close to the halfway point in my story.

I’ve been writing it exclusively on WordPress and have found that doing it this way has me spending more time developing each scene as I can’t see the whole sequence in a Word document, so don’t know how long it actually is. I just keep adding until there’s no more to add. I’ll probably have to do extensive edits later, or not. I’m enjoying this slow unfolding of the story and world. But it means I’m not even close to finishing this story. But I really want to.

Initially, I started this blog in 2010 so I could have an online place to store my writings. For this month, I have returned to the roots of The Lily Cafe and it has felt wonderful!

For the rest of this year, this will be my writing blog and I will continue to post The Runaway Queen until it’s finished or I get bored of it. I do have one or two motherhood posts and a few book reviews planned (must start writing those, actually) before the end of the year, but I won’t return to my usual schedule until January.

Oh, how I love the freedom of doing whatever I want with my own little space…

Gates to Asphodel Wrap-Up and NaNoWriMo 2018

I’ve spent months posting each chapter of Gates to Asphodel. Now that the last chapter has been posted, it feels strange to not have that one ready-made post, the one post each week I didn’t have to put too much thought into. I have another story I don’t intend on publishing that I do intend on posting here, but sometime next year since the end of this year is rapidly approaching and I’m planning on taking 3-4 weeks off.

But before the end of the year comes, there’s National Novel Writing Month next month.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it for years. At first, I loved it because, being so busy with school, it made it easy to just steal some time for writing. It helped get the creative juices flowing, too, which was lovely. But then I started hating the fact that I called myself a writer and I was pretty much only writing during November or whenever Camp NaNo was scheduled. So, I stopped participating. I’ve written since, but not much now that I’m the primary caregiver to two toddlers. This year, I decided to change that.

I might be a little crazy, but I decided to do NaNo this year. Not only am I still the mother of two toddlers, but there are a lot of things brewing over here, plenty of uncertainty, and a couple of things festering in my mind that I absolutely intend on acting on. So, I might be a little crazy thinking I can write at least 50,000 words next month. But nothing will ever get done unless I just commit.

It’s hard to believe, but I actually wrote Gates to Asphodel during NaNo in 2011. Which, now that I think of it, was a little nuts because I had just started grad school two months before and my first practicum placement one month before. Yet I still managed to write the whole entire thing. Yikes. It’s been doing little more than sit for about 7 years. Other than the light edits I’ve done as I’ve been posting each chapter, it’s never been edited.

Over the years since then, and definitely pre-kids, I participated in NaNo and Camp NaNo. I loved the feeling of writing and getting a story pounded out, but hated doing it just during a select few months. But now I need it. I need something to give me that swift kick to just start. Even though I wrote a post during the first real run of this blog about why I never wanted to participate again, here I am, years later, doing just that. Because I now need what it offers.

Before, I used to be an absolutely plotter. I refused to write something that I hadn’t fully planned out. This time, I’m a total pantser. I just want to get the juices going. I don’t care if it’s good or if it makes sense. I only care that I actually do it.

I had a different story planned, but inspiration struck and I’ll finally return to a story I’ve been working on for almost 20 years (more about it in a later post).

The Runaway Queen: Cass doesn’t want to be queen, so she runs away and leaves her twin to take her place.

Which brings me to a what comes next for this blog paragraph.

I need to commit to writing. I also need some accountability. And I have a blog that’s my space for whatever I want. Which makes me glad I never went further with the branding and trying to monetize. Whew! Anyways. November will be heavy on the writing (meaning I’ll be posting as I write so we get to discover what happens to the twins together!), moderate with the book reviews (because I’ve got some NetGalley books that need to be read and I don’t intend on going light on the reading next month), and light on the motherhood posts (though you can probably expect more than usual in December). So if you come for the motherhood/how I live with two kids posts, feel free to forget about The Lily Cafe during November, but please remember in December to check in.

And that’s the state of this blog. Gosh, how could I have let Gates to Asphodel languish for 7 long years?