flotsam and jetsam | 6 (Camp NaNo + mini book reviews + some updates)

How are you all, my friends? Quarantine in Michigan has been extended until at least May 28 (I think) and my musical has been officially canceled, so I’m still at home, still reading and writing and taking walks and wishing I could go places. I miss normal life.

But enough about my woes. Despite the (many) downsides of living in 2020, there are a few good things. The first one is that I exceeded my Camp NaNo goal of 20k!

Camp NaNo

 Camp Winner 2020 - Twitter Banner

I wrote 21,708 words in April! I shared some snippets from day 1, days 2-4, and days 5-10 earlier. Here are some of my favorite things I wrote from days 11-30.


// 13: shadow heart //

My heart is shadowed and uncertain. I’ve been trying to get back to where I was but the sirens call me into sin and seduction and unsatisfaction and my heart is heavy….
My heart is shadowed. Craven and breaking. Someone come pull me out of my aching and raise me to heaven — or I will fall to hell….
My heart is shadowed.
Send rescue.
Send salvation.

I tried my hand at spoken word poetry. I’m not very happy with the result, but I’ll keep trying.

// 14: play //

I’m tired of deception (but that’s unrelated to anything I’m supposed to be writing about)
and this quarantine
and being me
and, well, a lot of things.
I want the world to be healed

// 16: treader //

He sits on the stairs every night,
my small son,
and listens to the laughter from the living room.
He knows he dares not come down,
so he leans against the wall, and he listens.

// 23: battle //

do i really want to win
this battle
i’ve been fighting my own terrible badness
for many long years now
and so far i’ve never won

// 25: horse //

And I raise my voice in anguish
In fear
In memory
Oh, I am caught up in memories
Of his face, his voice,
Why did he have to die —

Inspired by Éowyn (The Lord of the Rings — specifically from the movie The Two Towers).

// 26: north //

I know I don’t believe in nothing.
I haven’t got the words for it but it’s true
Something exists beyond what is categorizable and convenient
Something is out there
b   e   y   o   n   d
And it calls to me.

Poetry? Or manifesto? I don’t know.
The first line of this snippet comes from “Chapter Seven: Orphan Theism” by Levi the Poet.

// 29: leith //

This is what I’m here to do.
Now then, death, you? You think you
have any chance


I wrote some more of my dystopian story:

Fell crams the last of the toast into his mouth and jumps out, his gold necklace sparkling in the sun. Fair follows. I watch them walk up to the building. Fell, tall and skinny and confident despite adversity, swinging his bag and waving to his friends. And Fair, small and curly-haired, lugging her huge backpack and tripping over her untied laces.

I should’ve made her tie them.

I drive away. Probably speeding, but I don’t really care. I get to my audition with only twenty minutes to warm up.

I wrote some more of my story tentatively titled “Darius Raven”:

Today marks day 27 of my seven-year imprisonment.

The day of my escape. 

Writing that, looking at it, makes it all seem so foolish. This whole plan is ridiculous. I’ll be trapped her for thousands of days more.

Emeth could tell you the exact number. Emeth could tell you the whole story. 

But I’m not Emeth. I’m terrible at math and I’m afraid of my story and I can’t write a good paragraph to save my life.

I’m just me. Darius Raven. The outcast, the misfit, the failure.

The man imprisoned for being different.

And I wrote a lot more of Remnant. I discovered that my main character was not, after all, completely human. That there was a plot against him in the elven capital. He and I together sorted out which characters were on his side and which weren’t (Kailin, Arlin, Eyyra, Norae, Tinvera, Taresil, Marelle… I have too many characters). And I cut out one of my MCs — Elara. Farewell, El.

Eyyra and Norae were their usual selves:

A sudden commotion in the right half of the auditorium caught Aionladon’s attention, and he turned his head to see Eyyra gliding in serenely. She wore a blush-red, filmy dress and cape and gloves, deep bronze high heels, and a bronze cap lined with silk the same color as her dress. She carried an armfull of ancient scrolls, papers, and books.

“Lady Eyyra, at last you deign to grace us with your presence.” Norae’s voice soared through the high-ceilinged space.

“Thank you for the compliment, Lord Norae. My grace is not often commented on.”

“I said nothing of grace, Lady,” said Norae tartly. “Only presence. And yours has been lacking despite the fact that the start time of this council has been widely publicized across D’nerea for the past week.”

“I was researching,” she said.

And I got to write a flashback to a scene I love. It amused me; due to elves’ long lifespans, Taresil is good friends with her great-niece Marelle, and their family relationships are complicated and messy and such fun to write.

// some of this scene has been edited because SPOILERS //

“Who’s an idiot?” asked a voice, and with a pang Aionladon saw Kalrona walk up.

“Our great-niece, darling brother,” said Taresil. “And how are you this fine day? Ready for your vows tomorrow?”

So. The next day would be the day that Kalrona [spoiler]…. [I can’t tell you what Aionladon was thinking here but let me tell you, it’s crazy] [and awesome]

“Totally,” he said, smirking. “Now then, why’s Mar an idiot?”

“Because she thinks that if she has kids then they’ll all be adriela [blood traitors],” said Tinvera.

“Well, I say that depends on who she marries,” said Kalrona. He plucked a fruit from the tree, tossed it at Marelle, and slid down to sit next to her.

“If I marry you then I guarantee that all our children will be traitors,” teased Marelle, but Aionladon saw depths in her eyes. She knew [haha. things].

“Traitorous idiots,” said Kalrona.


mini book reviews

THE REFLECTIONS: I beta read this book for my writing friend E.K.! It was a lot of fun to read, since some of the characters were inspired by people I know, and I loved the plot and the writing style. I can’t wait to see what comes next. 4/5 stars.
cover image from E.K. Seaver’s website

MOCKINGJAY (+ other Hunger Games books): I read these for the first time in March (read my thoughts about the first book here) and enjoyed them! They weren’t my favorites but I love Finnick 😍😍and I think I’d like the movies! (Kellyn’s post about them cracked me up.) I’m not super excited for the prequel, though. Snow was an awful character and I can’t imagine emotionally connecting with him. 3.5/5 stars.
cover image by sanjota

SKATING SHOES: A reread of a delightful middle-grade book I loved as a young girl. It was every bit as good as I remembered. 5/5 stars.
cover image

DEALING WITH DRAGONS: I won this book (+ the second one in the series) in a giveaway hosted by Jenelle! It was hilarious and reminded me of books by Donita K. Paul and Jessica Day George. Highly recommend it. (Now if only Libby had copies of books 3 and 4 available…) 5/5 stars.

(Those books all look so pretty in a row. The gold + green + blue is GORGEOUS)

LITTLE WOMEN: I watched the 2019 movie back in December and remembered how much I loved the original book, so I reread it in April. It was so good, and the sequels were just as lovely. If you haven’t encountered this classic, seriously, give it a try. 4/5 stars.
In case you’re wondering: I did not like the movie very much. But Emma Watson and Saiorse Ronan had amazing performances, and Florence Pugh IS Amy.

HARRY POTTER series: It had been a few years since I last read these, and I needed some comforting and beautiful books, so I read them again. I’d forgotten how good they are. Especially the last one. Also, between the first time I read them and the present, I became a fan of Draco Malfoy… but then I reread the books and I wasn’t? I have THOUGHTS and will likely write them in a blog post sometime soon. 4.5/5 stars.

THE WINGFEATHER SAGA: I watched Andrew Peterson read the first one aloud, and we’re nearly done with the second. ARTHAM AND TINK ARE AT THE [spoiler] and I CAN’T WAIT for my eight-year-old brother to get to the end (it’s his first time through). I love these books. 5/5 stars (except the epilogue *glares at AP* but we haven’t got there yet so I’ll not talk about it any more).

THE STORY PEDDLER: My second time through. I didn’t like it as much as the first time and don’t prefer the author’s writing style, but I like the message and (some of) the characters so I will probably try the second and third books once libraries are open again (since Overdrive does not have them). 3.5/5 stars.

BEAUTY + ROSE DAUGHTER: I own Beauty and decided to read it again since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. Then I discovered that Rose Daughter was available on Libby, so I read it again as well. Both books are retellings of the fairy tale, but each has different characters and a different ending. I personally prefer Beauty (in which the MC’s name is Honour, not Beauty, and her sisters are Grace — in love with a ship’s captain lost at sea — and Hope — engaged to a blacksmith who believes in magic), but Rose Daughter has some lovely bits as well (MC is Beauty, sisters Lionheart the horse boy and Jeweltongue the seamstress). And I like both better than the Disney movies. 5/5 stars (Beauty), 4/5 stars (Rose Daughter).

CINDER: I found this one on Libby as well. It’s been a few years since I read the Lunar Chronicles, and they’re one of the series I return to over and over because it’s simply so much fun to read them. I also read Christine’s post about what she learned about writing from TLC, and now I can’t wait for Scarlet to be available (Libby tells me it will be 26 weeks. I am not impressed). 4/5 stars.

MY MAN JEEVES: Another ebook!

What a queer thing Life is! So unlike anything else, don’t you know, if you see what I mean.

P.G. Wodehouse writes so delightfully. I laughed my way through the entire book.

And so the merry party began. It was one of those jolly, happy, bread-crumbling parties where you cough twice before you speak, and then decide not to say it after all.

I’d previously read only one of his books (a smashingly good one called Ukridge) but am now inspired to try and read them all.

“Won’t you have an egg or something? Or a sausage or something? Or something?”

“No, thank you.”

She spoke as if she belonged to an anti-sausage society or a league for the suppression of eggs.

You can read My Man Jeeves online for free here. I highly recommend doing so if you need a dose of laughter.


some updates

the Hope in Disaster contest

(I’m hosting this contest with Charis Rae and K.E. Stanton. Read all about it here.)

The contest has been one of my favorite things about being quarantined. I wouldn’t have had time to do it if not for being stuck at home, and it’s led to making friends with two awesome bloggers and having lots of story-reading to look forward to. Please enter your stories because I’m so excited to read them! Also, go check out Charis and Kiki’s blogs because they are amazing humans.

an email list… maybe?

I’m thinking of starting an email list. (Now to dig up my old Mailchimp username — several tries to log in this morning had no helpful results.) What would you, my readers, think of me starting an email list? Let me know in the comments!

a self-published book (in the summer or fall!)

I’m planning to publish Cathedral in the summer or fall. I’ll be looking for ARC reviewers/blog tour members sometime before that, so look out for an announcement closer to release day (which I will officially pick once I’m done with edits!).

I changed a few things

Nothing huge. But you may have noticed the header is different (: And I’ve updated my profile picture, “about” page, and sidebar “about” section.

Also, the YouTube videos in the sidebar are different. Instead of Andrew Peterson, Frozen II, and Hadestown (all of which are still worth listening to), you get Skye Peterson, Beetlejuice, and Sarah Sparks. Check them out >>

And there’s a proper featured image, with words and everything. I think that’s for Pinterest sharing, but since I don’t have Pinterest I can’t be sure. However, if you want to share this post on Pinterest, there’s now a handy image with a link and title. (I created it because I was tired of not being able to see my post’s titles until scrolling down past the image, and I think it’s more professional — at least it looks more professional?)

Finally, AP now gets proper credit in my footer, since he really did inspire my blog’s tagline. (Thank you, Andrew.)

some questions for you

Sometimes I write serious posts (book reviews, lists of poets whose work I like, writing contest announcements, etc.). Sometimes I write random posts (such as the one you’re currently reading).

I’ve got a lot of posts in draft stage. Which one would you most like to read? 


thanks for reading!

I’ll see you next time.

sign off

P.S. Would you join my email list if I started one? What have you been reading?

26 thoughts on “flotsam and jetsam | 6 (Camp NaNo + mini book reviews + some updates)

  1. *screams*
    there was nothing i didn’t like about this post
    also love the new stuff on your blog
    also your poetry i am c r y i n g
    also! it was hard to pick just one post because i want to read your thoughts on all those topics and i’ve wanted to talk about them myself, so i’m super stoked that these are drafts you’ve written because we need conversations about them
    also did i mention i liked this post a lot because i did

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *stares in shock* Someone did a book review of my book. Before it’s even published. O_O Excuse me while I go squeal in the corner. Thank you a million for beta reading. XD *goes to tell all my friends that someone did a mini book review on The Reflections* 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I always love these!

    You should definitely start and email list! I would love it! And, I do want to see a blog post about your thoughts on Draco Malfoy. I am a huge fan so am curious what made you change your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! flotsam and jetsam posts are great fun to write.

      I’ll definitely talk about Draco sometime soon. I do like him, but not in the books… and I’ll explain that then 😉


  4. Your poetry gave me chills. Also, both serious and random posts–or posts that walk the line between–I don’t know, I think some of both is necessary for either to have potency.

    Can blog posts have potency?

    I love your mini reviews! I’m supposed to be getting into those (the things I force upon myself…) but I’m sure I won’t be nearly as organized as you. 🙂

    Love the new header, it was the first thing I noticed when I came to read this post. It’s so beautiful! Alo, congrats on looking to publish a book! You head towards exciting waters.

    (Potency? Waters? Why, Weez.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Can’t believe I didn’t see this until now (the pain of being weirdly averse to following blogs…). But this was a fun post and I loved all your snippets of poetry and story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Somehow I missed this comment yesterday, sorry. Éowyn is such a lovely character… except the part where you have to copy and paste her name every time you mention her because your keyboard does not have an É button. 😦


  6. I love the poems! Especially 14: play and 25: horse (because Éowyn! She’s probably my favorite female character in all of LOTR, and definitely one of my favorites out of all literature/movies ever!! :D)
    Your snippets are fantastic! A talented writer, you are. I’m so looking forward to a day when I can read your stories in their entirety! 🙂
    Little Women is just one of the best classics there is (and Jo March is another one of my favorite characters in all of literature/movies ever. 😉 ). The Wingfeather Saga…ONE OF MY FAVORITE SERIES EVER AND IT WILL REMAIN SO FOREVER. The Story Peddler!!! Personally, I adore that series, and I am SO EXCITED that the third book releases in 10 DAYS!!! I loved the first book, but I think that the second one is better so I would definitely recommend that you give it a try! 🙂 Cinder is on my TBR (as are all the Lunar Chronicles) because I’ve heard so many great things about them! My Man Jeeves sounds like a fabulously hysterical book! I should definitely check it out soon. 🙂
    I always love reading your Flotsam and Jetsam posts! (And I’ve left an insanely long comment, haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. *arrives fashionably late and puffing*

    WONDERFUL. Another glorious post of lots of happy ramblings.
    I love the snippets and boy I have so many things to add to my tbr list now.
    Like *coughs* your book. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s