Off the Grid . . . Kinda


If this space seems a bit quiet this week, its because I’ve wandered into the woods of Indiana for a little vacation. And I’ve left my laptop behind. I’ll pause for a moment as everyone gasps …

I won’t be totally disconnected as I’m bringing my phone and kindle fire, but I intend on spending more time outside than on the internet. Instead, my trusty pen and journal will be my chosen tools for writing. I’m looking forward to getting back to basics.

If my muse can’t keep quiet, I may post a poem or two from the app on my kindle. Stay tuned for the possibility of some impromptu poetry!🙂

Otherwise, its time for some much needed time away from everything on my worry list!🙂

Hello trees … I’ve missed you.


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c.b.w. 2016

26 Random Facts


It’s been a while since I’ve played a blogging game, (they all start to look the same after a while, don’t they?), but 26 Facts A to Z looked like fun. I spotted it on Paula Acton’s blog and if you want to see her list you can find it here.

A- Age: I’m hurdling toward 40, but I feel like I’m still a kid in many respects. I still love Disney movies and coloring.

B- Biggest fears: Drowning, someone breaking into the house, and failure. However, snakes literally paralyze me. I have no idea why as snakes have never given me a reason to fear them.

C- Current time: 3:19 p.m. It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Clouds are in the sky and it’s a warm 70 degrees.

D- Drink you last had: Tall Cafe Mocha – I’m still enjoying it, actually!

E- Every day starts with: Feeding my furkids. I’m not allowed sleep past 5:00 a.m. Ever.

F- Favourite song: At the moment, I love Life Support by Sam Smith, Coldplay’s new album A Head Full of Dreams, and the soundtrack for Cinderella (the live action version, 2015).

G- Ghosts, are they real?: Not sure. Haven’t met one, yet.

H- Hometown: That’s a tough question. I’ve lived in a lot of places, so I’ll go with my favorite: Land O’ Lakes, WI. It’s a tiny town in Northern Wisconsin (not the Minnesota town that makes the butter). My best childhood memories live in thick forests and beautiful lakes.

I- In love with: My husband, Edward Cullen (even after 8 years), Jim Halpert (it’s been longer for him!), and Charlie Cox a.k.a Matt Murdock a.k.a Daredevil, (my newest love)

J- Jealous of: Anyone with a literary agent. It’s been a long stretch of rejection! However, it’s not a bitter jealousy.

K- Killed someone?: I killed a character in my first novel. Does that count?

L- Last time you cried: Today. One of my furkids is struggling. He’s elderly and near the end of the line – it’s not easy knowing I’m going to lose him and soon.

M- Middle name: Nope. That’s my secret.

N- Number of siblings: One younger sister. I love her dearly.

O- One wish: At the moment, I just want more time to knit. Of late, it seems life is invading my precious crafting time!

P- Person you last called: My mom.

Q- Question you’re always asked: Are you ever going to have kids? No.

R- Reason to smile: Even with hardship and loss, life is beautiful. I just have to look out the window or give my furkids a hug to know how lucky and happy I am to have this life.

S- Song last sung: I don’t sing. Trust me, I’m doing the world a favor.

T- Time you woke up: 5:00 a.m. As always.

U- Underwear colour: Today, it’s blue.

V- Vacation destination: My most recent adventure was in Portland, Oregon. This year, I’m not sure I’ll be going anywhere. My husband is currently in night school, which means someone needs to be home with the furkids.

W- Worst habit: Compulsive chocolate eating. It’s wildly out of control and is likely to get worse with Valentine’s Day around the corner.

X- X-Rays you’ve had: Just my teeth. I’ve been lucky on the medical front, so far.

Y- Your favourite food: Chocolate. Much to my peril, I can’t leave it alone.

Z- Zoos visited: Out of Africa, Phoenix Zoo, Chicago Zoo, Payson Petting Zoo (this is barely a zoo, but we had fun).

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Feel free to play along and post your link in the comments!🙂

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c.b.w. 2016

Kinda Sorta Goals For 2016


I’m trying something a little different this year when it comes to setting goals. I’ve been very specific in the past and that has served me well as a planner, but my muse has been less than cooperative. For example, one of my 2015 goals was to start writing the sequel to The Muse. My muse disagreed with that goal and remained stubbornly silent on that project. We’re still not on speaking terms when it comes to this sticky subject.

I’m as driven as ever to get my novel published (somehow, some way). I have a million ideas for the The Muse’s sequel and truly do want to start writing the continuing saga of Amanda and Ian. As far as poetry goes, I’m writing haiku for multiple competitions and forums. There’s also this blog and a shelf full of craft projects!

Clearly, I have a lot of projects burning a hole in my muse pocket.

Instead of setting incredibly specific goals my muse ignores anyway, perhaps big picture goals are the way to go.

Kinda Sorta Goals:

Write, write, and write some more.

At the core of everything is my fierce desire to write. Whether it’s poetry, novels, or funky articles about knitting, my central goal will always be writing in any form.

My muse takes me a in all different directions and frequently changes her mind! I’m just going to go with the flow and keep my pen moving.

Stay optimistic and keep trying.

My go with flow mentality doesn’t mean I’m losing my determined edge! The Muse is a still a huge priority and I’ll be doing everything I can to get it published. Whether its through the traditional channels or self-publishing, it’s about time this thing saw the light of day!

The same goes for poetry. I’m going to grab onto any opportunity I can to submit to competitions, journals, etc.

Join the community.

My participation in the Poetic Asides community has inspired me to seek out other groups of writers. I’ve joined a few new groups, but have yet to fully participate (sometimes I just like to sit under the radar and get a sense of how the community functions). As 2016 unfolds, I’m hoping to find my groove in new poetry communities, but also among Young Adult writers.

This might mean searching for communities in the blogosphere and/or social media. Either way, I’m looking to connect with more people who like to write what I like to write. Maybe they can offer some advice on publication or some good old fashioned encouragement? We’ll see!


It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Writing the same thing in the same way all the time. I want to see my writing continue to grow into something fresh and engaging. That means playing with fictional techniques and haiku formats. In addition, I want to see myself write something totally different.  The possibilities are endless if I consider a different genre or poetic form.

This same sense of experimentation also applies to my craft table. I want to try new crafts (like painting and beading) and expand my knitting and photography skills.

Trust the muse.

My muse always knows best. I have to remember to get out her way and let her speak.

Word of the Year: Enthusiasm

Weird goals aside, I want this year to be about hopeless enthusiasm that can’t be cured. No matter where this crazy journey takes me, I’m jumping in with everything I’ve got.

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What are your kinda sorta goals for 2016?

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c.b.w. 2016

As I Wander


My blog has always been a mixed bag of topics ranging from poetry, musings, and crafts. This space started with the idea of simply following wherever my muse leads me. To my great surprise, I ended up with an audience of readers. More surprising still, after five years you’re all still here and growing!

As I look back on early posts, it’s amazing to see how much this blog has evolved. This year, in particular, has seen a major shift towards poetry as opposed to lengthy articles on crafts, books, and travel. As much as I still love reading and traveling, that’s not where my muse wanted to go. I believe this change is the direct result of both inspiration (thanks to a growing fascination with haiku) and the need to write poetry as a form of catharsis.

In the early stages of the poetic shift, I second guessed myself, wondering if my readers would continue to make this blog part of their day. Let’s face it, poetry (and haiku in particular) is not everyone’s thing. However, I realized very quickly that I didn’t start this journey using smoke and mirrors. Following my muse meant being honest about what inspires me and what that inspiration creates. To do anything less defeats the purpose of this blog!

As the new year approaches, I’d like to thank all my readers for the continued support. I’m amazed every day how many of you show up to read, like, and comment every time I post. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t boost my confidence and encourage me to continue this quest of creativity.

I don’t know what my muse has in store for me in 2016, but I will surely be listening to her with an open mind and motivated pen. Change is certainly in the air as poetry and other pursuits are finding a bit more balance with one another. My muse and I look forward to continuing the journey with you, dear readers.

Here’s a look back on 2015, courtesy of It was a great year in the blogosphere!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Happy New Year!🙂

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c.b.w. 2015

Love-Hate Challenge: Part II


My Love List of books, (see Love-Hate Challenge: Part I), was easy to make because I love so many books. The Not A Fan List however, is much more difficult. While I read a wide range of books, I also know myself well enough to avoid books I know aren’t for me (like computer coding or anything where a dog dies). That means there aren’t too many books that end up on the yuck pile!

I had to work pretty hard at this list and I honestly mean no disrespect to those who do like the books on my list. This is all just my humble opinion.

Not A Fan Book List

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I’ve ranted about this book before, (See Favorite Thing Friday: Last Books). Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Roth is an incredible writer – I loved Divergent and Insurgent – but Allegiant made me so angry. I can’t remember the last time an ending killed the entire series for me. As a reader, I felt betrayed and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

2. Harlequin Romance

I want to clarify that I’m not totally against romance. I actually read a lot of romance novels, just not Harlequin. Why? They are all the same! If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. I like a little originality in my mindless escape reading!

3. Books where chapters shift between different points of view or series that start in one point of view and switch to a different point of view in the last book

My post, One YA Reader’s Desperate Plea outlines a rather lengthy rant on this particular point. I really, really hate it when writers shift the point of view in a series. And I won’t even pick up a book if the point of view shifts constantly from chapter to chapter. Grrrr . . . it just bothers me!

4. Books I haven’t finished: The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeirer and The Idiot by Fyodor Dosteovtsky

I’ve read almost 200 books over the last few years. These are the only two with a bookmark still stuck in the middle. The Illumination wasn’t half bad, but I got bored and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I still intend on finishing The Idiot, but I have also realized that I am not a huge fan of Dosteovtsky. He’s a little too depressing for my taste.

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I was forced to read this book in high school and that might be part of the reason why I do not like it. Even though I’ve always loved to read, I’ve also always hated being told what to read and then subsequently forced to read it on someone else’s set schedule. Aside from that, I could not relate to the characters and I found the story quite disturbing. It’s just not my thing.

6. Series that go too long

There are a number of series that fall into this category, but the only one I fell into and then out of was the Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore. I read I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, and The Rise of Nine thinking it would just be a trilogy. The story however just keeps dragging on. The sixth book comes out later this year . . . This series should have ended a long time ago!

7. Most Works of Emily Dickinson

It took me two years to read Dickinson’s complete works. I have a lot of respect for Dickinson’s talent, but I don’t really like her poetry (with exception to her works regarding nature).

8. Most Works of Charles Dickens

With exception to A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities, I am not a fan of Charles Dickens. I made attempts to read all of his works (which is how I came upon the two exceptions), but could never get past the first 100 pages. I think he’s a talented writer and I understand why he is so adored, but I think it’s the Dosteovtsky issue all over again for me. Dickens is quite grim!

9. Books by Dan Brown before the Da Vinci Code

After I read the Da Vinci Code, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all of Dan Brown’s previous books. After attempting to read the first 100 pages of each, I realized there was a reason why he didn’t hit it big until the Da Vinci Code. His previous thrillers weren’t that thrilling.

10. The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff (later redeemed by Rosoff’s What I Was).

The Bride’s Farewell was a thin book but it took me forever to read because it was such a slow moving story – almost glacial. I’d only get through a couple of pages before I started to nod off in total boredom. To this day, I’m not sure what the point of it was supposed to be. However, I liked the writer’s overall style, so I gave her another shot with What I Was, (which was incredible).


I picked these nominees because I think they’ll all approach this challenge with an interesting perspective. I’m hoping they’ll create lists that are unique to their personalities and writing genres.

The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

Rita Ackerman

Suzanne Brent

TBN Ranch

The Everyday Epic

Heart to Harp

Windy Words

Metaphors & Smiles

Random Acts of Writing [+art]

Michele Venne

YA Chit Chat