flotsam and jetsam | 3

Hello, friends!

I’ve taken an unintentional blogging break since Christmastime, and it’s likely to extend for a while (because I have SCHOOL), but I have a few things I’d like to share with you today. So welcome to flotsam and jetsam #3.

meadow of sunflowers

First: voting is open for the Best of 2019 Blogging Awards, hosted by Megan @ A Barefoot Gal! Some of my very favorite blogs are on the list, including Allison @ A Farm Girl’s Life, Charis Rae, Essie Writes Poetry, and many others I’m forgetting. Go vote!

tree tunnel at daytime

Next: I’ve been working a lot on my novel Remnant lately, and I thought I’d share a snippet.

She hated gate duty, but she did it. She stood at the gate of D’nerea, two miles from the hall, twenty miles from the forest border, and she watched for anything threatening. She sharpened her knife. Paced the wall. Rebraided her hair. Ate her lunch.

Did absolutely nothing worthwhile. 

By the afternoon, she was feeling incredibly irritable and absolutely useless. But her nerves were acutely aware and she was still being analytical, overthinking her, so she heard the steps on the ladder long before she saw the climber’s face. And within three seconds she knew whose face she would see. 

She wasn’t wrong. 

“Hello, Tar,” she said. 

“Elle.” Taresil was the only one who ever called Marelle Elle — well, the only one since her mother. “Guarding going well?” 

ron’al,” shot back Marelle. Shut up. 

“Ha,” said Taresil, striding over. 

“How’s Delin?” asked Marelle. 

“The same.” 

“You know, if you don’t spend more time with her she’ll end up like me. Alone and lonely and antisocial and, at least according to Arlin, ‘barely even elvish.’” Thanks to Tinvera for creating that monster.” 

“Thanks to you for having no children at all,” said Taresil sarcastically. 

“You should be thankful that I have no progeny to antagonize you,” said Marelle, drawing her dagger absently and running her hands over it. 

“Sure,” said Taresil. 

They were quiet for a while. Then Taresil said, “Do you ever wish you’d said yes?” 

“Yes to what?” asked Marelle, even though she knew exactly what Tar was talking about. 

“You know what. Him. Kalrona,” said Taresil.

Marelle shuddered. “No. I used to, but — no. Not anymore.” She sheathed her dagger, signaling, she hoped, the end of the discussion. 

“At least you’d not be alone,” said Taresil quietly. 

“I am not alone. Tar, I’m never alone. Everywhere I go there are whispers. Look, there she goes, the daughter of none, the one who hides behind a fictional mother, the machine, the creature of darkness. Everywhere. You can’t imagine what that’s like, can you? The muttering, and the looks, and the unspoken but plainly evident judgments.” 

“A little of it,” said Taresil. 

Marelle relented. “All right, I’m sorry. I know you had a life before you met me. A hard one. But that’s over, and you’re happy now. And I’m not, because even when I’m alone, I’m not. The voices of my past — they haunt me, haunt me, Tar.” 

Taresil nodded. “So do mine. I’m not happy either, my Elle.”

And there you go. Marelle, in all her glorious sarcasm (and finally living on the page like she deserves).

Lastly, before I go, I’ll share with you a few of my favorite things from 2019. I love talking about my favorite things, and judging from the sheer number of posts about other people’s favorite things, I think it’s safe to say that people like reading about them (:

bench blur books color


I read 143 books in 2019 (my original goal was 200, which lowered to 150, then 120). Many of them were fantasy, but I read some other genres, including books of poetry, two contemporary novels, and lots of nonfiction!

my favorite books I read for the first time in 2019

note: I’ve linked to writers who have blogs, websites, or Instagram accounts I think are worth following

contemporary100 Days of Sunlight (by Abbie Emmons)

dystopian/futuristic: Out of Time trilogy (by Nadine Brandes), Breeder

fantasyThe Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Fawkes, A Memory of Light, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Dragon Slippers, The Gateway Chronicles (by K.B. Hoyle), The Story Peddler (by Lindsay A. Franklin)

historical fictionMy Name is Asher Lev

nonfictionDo Hard Things, Adorning the Dark (by Andrew Peterson), Walking on Water, The Lucky Few (by Heather Avis), Choosing Love (by Heidi Johnston)

poetryA Poet’s Dictionary (by Havilah Gael)

science fictionChildren of the Mind, Shadow of the Giant

my favorite 2019 rereads

fantasyTill We Have Faces, The Books of Beginning, 100 Cupboards series, Ashtown Burials series, Inheritance cycle

historical fiction: The Robe, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

nonfictionThe Unaborted Socrates

science fiction: Artemis Fowl series, The Lunar Chronicles


I don’t have a good way to keep track of the movies and shows I watch, but here are some I remember enjoying this year.


  • The Rise of Skywalker
  • Spider-man: Far From Home
  • Little Women
  • Frozen 2
  • Aladdin (live-action)

TV shows

  • Little Women (PBS Masterpiece)
  • Encore!
  • Lemon Slices
  • The Mandalorian

other things

  • MUSIC: I’ve been listening a lot to Jess Ray, Peter Hollens, BYU Vocal Point, and Levi the Poet.
  • SOCKS/SHOES: I love Darn Tough socks. I finally got a pair of high-top Converse chucks. And these Xero boots look so lovely (if only they were available in my size!).
  • TRAVEL/EVENTS: I went to the LCMS national youth gathering, a local performing arts camp, Behold the Lamb of God, Boyne City, Mackinac Island, and a conference about prayer. And I almost (long story) went to a camp in the U.P. Where I will go this year.

ballpen blank desk journal

things I wrote in 2019

  • Sometime during the year: I submitted writing online twice (and was published zero times). I bear these rejections proudly (:
  • January: I re-started my novel Remnant and joined the Young Writer’s Workshop.
  • April: I started my Fiddler on the Roof retelling and launched this blog.
  • May: I left YWW due to finances and priorities.
  • August: I finished my story “A World Reborn” for a contest and rejoined YWW.
  • September: I started research for a historical fantasy about Nero.
  • October: I did Inktober (writing poetry) and started a high fantasy adventure story.
  • November: I won NaNoWriMo with my Fiddler on the Roof project and redesigned my blog.
  • December: I worked on my book Cathedral and opened it for alphas.
  • (January 2020: I wrote a lot of Remnant — including 4,000 words in one day — and got it up to 20k words!)

And that concludes flotsam and jetsam 3! Enjoy your week, my friends.

Until next time,

maya j toman blog heading

Published by Maya Joelle

classics student, bookdragon, wordsmith, forest girl, incurable romantic seeking to adorn the dark with my words and kindle hearts with legendary fire looking for beauty in the ordinary but the men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark

17 thoughts on “flotsam and jetsam | 3

  1. That excerpt is gold!! Marelle sounds amazing.
    I’m yet to see the new Little Women but I want to…everyone has such good things to say about it. 😍 I’m nervous it won’t compare to the 1994 one, but it still looks good.
    Here’s to a great 2020!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I must confess I’ve never seen the 1994 version, and after the 2018 TV show and 2019 movie, I’m not sure I want to because both of those were so good…


  2. Whaaaat, did you say Fiddler on the Roof retelling??? That sounds amazing.
    Holy cow, 143 is a LOT of books. I think I read approximately 50 books a year. Till We Have Faces is one of my favorites. 🙂
    It sounds like you did a lot of writing in 2019! Kudos! And yes, be proud of those rejections! I wish you the best for your writing in 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this re-cap of your literary year. You read a truly impressive amount of books and finished NaNoWriMo BY HAND – no small feat. What a woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a fun post!!
    Aaah, The Story Peddler!! So glad to hear you liked that one! That series has joined my favorites list. 🙂 I love 100 Cupboards so much, and I’m currently reading the Ashtown Burials! I’m almost done with The Dragon’s Tooth. I can’t wait to read Adorning the Dark and finish Do Hard Things, as well. 🙂
    I absolutely love the live-action Aladdin! And AAAAH THE RISE OF SKYWALKER!!!! (I’ve done so much fangirl screaming over that movie…XD) I love the original Little Women, and I’m excited to see the new one!
    The Mandalorian! Yes! I loved that show too! I haven’t watched any of Encore yet, but it looks really cool!


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