I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

The end of the first quarter of the year is approaching with haste, even though it feels like only yesterday we were putting the finishing touches on our resolutions for the year. My, how time does fly. So far this year, with writing at least, I’ve fared well. Between this blog and my other projects, I’ve accomplished a fair amount. As far as my novel goes, my outline is complete, and the first Camp NaNoWriMo session is just around the corner with only a few weeks away.

With the outline in hand, I’ve been researching in preparation to dive deep into the heads of the characters I plan to portray. For this novel and series in particular, I am not writing Own Voice, which is intimidating. There will be Own Voice rep in it, but it will not exclusively come from the main character, who is a far cry from who I am. Still, I adore this MC, as well as every other single one in this series, and so I plan to do right by each one of them.

Within the next few weeks, I will be inhaling more novels, information, and hopefully some rest, as I continue to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. At this point, I would like to hit 50K if possible, or write until the manuscript is complete. Whether or not my time or life will allow that, will be better determined throughout the course of April. The minimum goal I plan to set is 30K though. I’d like to write at least 1K a day, and then if I need to, complete the manuscript in May. As of right now, that is where I’m at in the writing process of what will hopefully be my debut novel.

With that being said, throughout the course of April, some Friday writing posts will include updates on my progress throughout Camp NaNo, what I’m learning from it, etc.

So, that’s about it for today. This post is a bit more informal than what I normally write, but NaNoWriMo is just that, so I figured I’d follow suit.

If you’re reading this, are you participating in Camp NaNo? Have you heard of it? Let me know down below in the comments if you like. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

T.J.

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Part of a Day in “Little Norway”: A Travel Blog

Part of a Day in “Little Norway”: A Travel Blog

Poulsbo, Washington, or “Little Norway”, as it has been dubbed due to its past, is a destination sought out by various sorts of people. Whether that be for the Scandinavian history or the shopping offered down town with picturesque views, there seems to be something for everyone in this quaint town. A few weeks ago, on a brilliant Saturday morning filled with sunshine and a light breeze, my family and I took a stroll down Finn Hill Rd. where the majority of locally owned businesses in Poulsbo reside.

A sign at the back of the shop.

Our first stop was Sluys’ Poulsbo Bakery, which was packed with people and pastries the duration of our stay, which made picture taking a bit hard to do. Still, I managed a few. Spoiler alert: The donuts are fantastic. However, besides donuts, I must note that there is much more to be found in this beautiful bakery, including Scandinavian specific items, bread, and various other sorts of treats. In short, you do not want to miss this.

The top of the building above Sluys’.
My glazed donut, which I split between myself and my 5 year old.

From there, I broke away for a bit to make my rounds of the book stores, while my spouse and daughter ventured elsewhere.

My first stop was Away With Words. This store, if you have not heard of it, is a gem. Not only does it offer novels, but hand mixed tea and various bath works that correspond to a certain book or genre as well, which are sprinkled throughout the store amongst the literary stock. Here I purchased a book, and awkwardly spoke with the store associate. Overall, I would definitely recommend stopping in if you have a moment or two to browse. It has been open less than a year, but definitely has the means to go far!

Next up, I stopped into Liberty Bay Books, which is a must if you’re searching for any sort of book whilst in Poulsbo. This indie book store has not only books, but also toys and a coffee café in the back. The arrangement of the store, coupled with the sitting area provided to peruse possible purchases or drink caffeine, gave it a cozy vibrancy that was hard to ignore.

Can I just say that finding these two side by side made me laugh, and love this book store even more? That’s a story for another day though.

After time well spent amongst the stacks, we strolled around, and enjoyed the beautiful day that was before us.


While I didn’t get a tattoo, I thought this building was an ideal location to mention, as it is the oldest building in Poulsbo, as stated above.
Sadly, that bakery advertised in this picture is no longer in business, but there are various others just a hop skip and a jump away. Plus, beautiful mural, right?
Another gorgeous painting on the outside of a building.
History is ripe in this town. If one chooses to look, it would not be hard to find it.

Our next stop was Poulsbohemian Coffeeshop, where we tried a few lemonades, which were both delicious until the very last drop. Mine was lavender and honey flavored. If you enjoy strong flavors of both, then check it out! Also, the shop has ample work space and enough room to accommodate a sizable amount of people, if need be. The best part of it all though, besides the beverages, have to be the views that can be found while glancing out of the windows in the back of the shop. Overall, it is definitely worth the trip, if any of what was mentioned before appeals to you!

A bit further down from the shop spoken of above, an entrance to the board walk can be found.

Our last stop, before we called it a day, was to the Sea Discovery Center. This little building held a small aquarium complete with educational classrooms, a theatre, and much more. If you have little ones of your own, this is an excellent place to visit.

If you’ve ever thought about stopping in Poulsbo, and you’re in the area, then rest assured there is much to see and do.

Until next time, Little Norway.

The Weight of Years

The Weight of Years

Nearly two months ago, I sheared off over two feet of my hair. Relief was instant – I felt lighter than I had since I last did that over four years before. The first occasion that my hair was shorn, I equated it to the fact that in my life, I have always had bulky, and at times, disagreeable hair, which necessitates cutting off portions of it to varying degrees every so often. Now, as I’m older, I realize it was much more than that.

With locks that were over half the length of my body, it was difficult to believe that someone would not equate my appearance to a certain binary gender, rather than the way I wish to be seen – otherwise neutral, or non-binary. Dysphoria became the norm, as vulnerability encompassed a part of my mental state, which made each day or social outing that much harder. As each strand descended to the floor, I felt an extra breath of life fill my lungs.

Free from the burden of the weight of years, I have found a peace that only exists within me as I allow myself the room to be who I am, rather than what the world wishes me to be. However, I am far from where I want to be as a whole, but each change helps.

The Diviners: A Book Review

The Diviners: A Book Review

Small-town hellcat turned New York City flapper, Evangeline O’Neill introduces each reader to her world in Libba Bray’s novel The Diviners with equal amounts of spunk and quick wit. However, though she leads us in, throughout the story, those who choose to pick up this treat of a novel are given insight into not only her life but those of a host of other characters introduced within its pages. In short, I took pauses in my reading of this book only when necessary. Were I not held back by time constraints, I would have completed this tome in one sitting.

To give a little back story, our main heroine has been sent to New York City by her parents to live with her Uncle Will who is a bachelor, museum owner and professor to boot. Not long after Evangeline’s, or Evie’s arrival, a brutal murder kicks off Evie’s involvement in aiding her uncle and the police solve an investigation into who could have done it. Delving further, it becomes apparent at separate points to most involved, that this case is not a typical whodunnit, and that Evie’s supernatural power could be the key that is necessary to close this case.

As mentioned above, Evangeline is the star of the show in every sense of the word. Her character, though brash and outspoken, has a certain flair to her that cannot help but leap off of the page. Throughout my reading of this book, though I enjoyed every single character, she was the one who stole my heart. Not only is she the take-charge sort, but she also has depth, despite her less than desirable attributes, such as her inability to see past the next party at certain times, or her narrow-minded view of what she should be concerned with. She is by no means perfect, but no one person or character ever is.

With regards to the rest of the cast of characters, no matter how small or large a part they may have played, each one had a fully fleshed out persona which made them feel as if they were real people being written about. Diversity was woven in with ease, with little fanfare. Inasmuch, each held a significance to the story in some way, and although they may not seem to at certain portions throughout the book, eventually each loose thread is tied up, and their importance revealed.

Speaking of loose ends, as far as the technical aspects of storytelling – such as plot, world-building, and pacing – I felt each was executed well. Given that Mrs. Bray wrote from the perspective of an array of various characters throughout the course of this novel, I was impressed at how well she weaved their lives, stories, and character arcs together. Likewise, the world-building and plot were each intriguing enough to keep this reader engaged until the very last word.

Overall, I could not have asked for more from a YA Fantasy book. All of the elements of this story combined made for a fantastic novel. It was, as Evie says, “The cat’s meow.”

I rate this novel 5/5 stars.

Allow Yourself To Fail

Often times collectively as humans, we are all so intent on success that we forget what it is to reach it. To succeed is to also have failed. Without failure as a teacher, how can we know what it is to do better? Refusal to become complacent in repeated failure is where growth happens, and eventually triumph. However, first, there must be errors, followed by acceptance of the knowledge each one has given, which will then lead to the creation of a foundation to build triumph upon.

This is a concept that I personally struggle with, as I am impatient. Over the years though, I’ve become more adept at accepting blunders and then working to make certain they never happen again. Even now, with regards to writing, as well as life, it is a fact that at times I find hard to accept in the face of a freshly made mistake. The truth is though, without my past losses, I would not have known how to go forward and create a better future for myself.

I do not seek failure, nor advise anyone else to, but it is inevitable in life. When met with it, one must acknowledge it, learn from it, and then move on. Otherwise, to become so consumed with the past is the road to future failure, rather than new achievements. So, permit yourself to fail when necessary, rather than dwell upon the loss, use the information gained instead to execute your goals more effectively the next time around.

Blackathon Recap

I suppose I’ve learned my lesson regarding overzealous TBRs. To be honest, I set myself up for failure, because there were multiple books I had begun before the inception of that list. To say that I fell short of my expectations for this month is accurate. However, I did manage to pick up new titles that I genuinely enjoyed and still completed each of the challenges.

What I Did Read:

  1. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert – You can find my review for this novel here. It’s safe to say though, I will be sure to read more of her work in the future.
  2. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 – I thoroughly adored this comic. When I reached the end of the first issue, I wanted more. I will definitely be purchasing more of this series in the future.
  3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – I had been anticipating this book since it was published. Despite the fact that the style is different from what I usually read, I still could not put it down until I completed it.
  4. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – I tore through this book so quickly. As with The Hate U Give, I could not think or breathe properly until I read this book to the very last page. Another amazing novel by Angie Thomas! I’m eager to read her 3rd!
  5. Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess – This book was a last minute addition to my TBR for the month, but I really liked it. The story touches on some tough subject matter, but it is still unlike most I’ve read before. It was a surprise read, for sure!

What I Listened To:

  1.  “Cuz He’s Black” by Javon Johnson
  2. “Waiting” by Jasmine Mans, Alysia Harris, Jennah Bell
  3. What I’ve Learned by Aja Monet
  4. “Balaenoptera” by Joshua Bennett

Each poem was poignant and beautiful. I enjoyed my listening experience with each piece. I highly recommend picking up the aforementioned titles, as well as listening to all of these poems.

As for the novels which I did not get to, they are all books I have wanted to read, and I do plan to finish them all at some point this year, possibly even in March.

Thank you to our hosts for putting this together! It was a really enjoyable month, and I hope to do it again next year!