The Naughty List–Writing Tag

In celebration of the holiday season, I’m participating in the wonderful Jenna Moreci’s writing tag!

Jenna Moreci’s blog

The tag is “The Naughty List.” I have to answer the questions on the tag using the characters from my current WIP, and not use a character more than twice.

My WIP is entitled The Red Sorcerer, a trilogy of fantasy books about a young Noblain girl named Leyndray. She has always believed that she was an orphan, until one day she discovers a terrible secret about her mother. She must confront her terrifying fate in order to save all that she knows and loves, but how much will she sacrifice to do so? And who is the mysterious sorcerer controlling her from the shadows?

I’m going to do my best to limit my choices to just the characters in book one.

So here are the questions!

#1 Which character would get wasted at a holiday party and end up humping the Christmas tree?

That would be Ellaren, Leyndray’s good friend and a stable boy at the palace. He’s rather grumpy, especially when it comes to the royal couple, and is fiercely protective of Leyndray. I feel like he would be the one sitting in the corner nursing a drink the entire evening until the alcohol kicks in and he is officially drunk. Unable to hold his feelings back anymore, he inadvertently tells the Christmas tree he loves it, thinking in his drunken stupor that it’s Leyndray he’s talking to. Meanwhile, Leyndray is watching him do all this in complete shock. Then in the morning, he doesn’t remember anything he did, but everyone else does. And Leyndray is so embarrassed that she refuses to speak to him anymore.

#2 Which character deserves to get the crap beaten out of ‘em by the Krampus?

Okay, I’m going to cheat a bit here and say King Percival. He’s the king of the Gennen, who are the oldest enemies of the Noblain, and the reason this is cheating is because he doesn’t show up until book two. He’s a spoiled little brat kid who thinks he deserves everything and who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. In fact, one of my critique partners mentioned that he reminded her of Joffrey from Game of Thrones. I didn’t intentionally base him off of Joffrey, but I do watch the show very religiously, and I will say that I was writing a lot of the main scenes with Percival during seasons three and four of the show.

#3 Which character is the Grinch this year?

Without a doubt, that is Slaineash, the king’s advisor and childhood friend of Cyassay. He just is never happy about anything, especially Christmas. He thinks that the holidays are frivolous and not worth his time.

#4 Which character would try to get a little too friendly while sitting on Santa’s lap?

This might be Leyndray, my protagonist. She’s pretty naive when it comes to love, and she’s never really had any sort of father figure in her life. So when she meets Slaineash, the advisor to the king, she begins to fall in love with him. I wouldn’t say she’s got so many daddy issues that she’d want to flirt with someone old enough to be her grandfather, but Slaineash is four years older than even her real father, so… there’s that.

#5 Who would your antagonist most like to tongue beneath the mistletoe?

That would most definitely be Cyassay, who is Leyndray’s mentor and King Kinaldor’s wife. My antagonist has been in love with Cyassay for years, but when Cyassay and Kinaldor fall in love, he becomes jealous and starts a war just to get Cyassay all to himself. Of course, he’s dreaming about tonguing her under the mistletoe while she’s standing under the mistletoe actually making out with her husband, the King.

#6 Which character would accidentally tip the menorah and light the house on fire?

I’m going to cheat here again and use a character from Book Two. The one who did this would most likely be Anara. She is a Gennen noblewoman and the previous queen-in-waiting. She’s a little clumsy and airheaded, and she’d definitely be the type to knock things over without realizing it.

#7 Which character is most likely to bring magic brownies to a holiday party?

Eldyina, Cyassay’s twin sister, would probably be the one to do so. She’s very naive, and although she knows a fair bit about the world, she probably wouldn’t realize that the “magic” in these brownies isn’t the same as the magic she knows how to use. LOL

#8 Which character is most likely to ring in the new year naked? And why the hell are they naked in the first place?

King Kinaldor, the king of the realm, would probably fit this description best. On New Year’s Eve, his wife Cyassay has a bit too much to drink, finds him beneath the mistletoe (that someone forgot to take down after Christmas) and gives him a really passionate kiss. Then they’d sneak away to an unused bedroom in the palace for a bit of fun. He’d be naked because he and Cyassay would be doing the deed.

#9 Which character is absolutely kidding themselves by insisting they belong on the nice list?

That would be Slaineash, the king’s chief advisor. He pretends to be a good person and acts as if he is noble and pure-hearted, but he’s got a few secrets himself, and he’s even broken the most important law of the Noblain. He would insist that no, he is a good person, but his deeds speak for themselves.

#10 Which characters would readers be most shocked to find on the naughty list?

Speaking hypothetically, that would also be Ellaren. He has done quite a few things he’s not proud of, including murdering someone in cold blood, and although he wants to be honorable and admit his mistakes, he can’t do so without people digging further into his past and thereby making all the sacrifices he’s ever made be in vain.

And that’s it for the tag! Hope you enjoyed. I’m tagging all my author friends: Kristen Kooistra, Allie May, Matt Dewar, Krisna Starr, Louise Ross, Elise Edmonds, Katelyn Barbee, Heather Hayden, B.C. Marine, J.L. Bernard, Julian Elliot, Renee Harvey, and Renee Frey! YOU BETTER DO THIS TAG YOU GUYS! ESPECIALLY YOU ELISE! YOU DIDN’T DO THE LAST ONE! *frowns menacingly at you*

Hope you all have a safe, wonderful holiday season. I’ll be traveling a bit during the winter break, so after the New Year, you can expect to see lots of posts from me with photos and stories of my vacation over on my Japan blog! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 乙女



Heather Hayden Interview and Announcement

You all remember Heather Hayden, whom I interviewed way back in October. Click here to read Heather’s previous interview! (opens in a new tab) Today I’m hosting Heather for another interview! This time she has a very special announcement for us!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.

C: Welcome back to my blog, Heather! Let’s get right down to it, what’s your announcement for us today?

H: Thanks for having me, Corinne! I’m here to announce my writer’s group’s fairy tale anthology, From the Stories of Old. We’ve been working hard on it for the past five months or so, and are very excited to release it on December 7th. (That’s today!)


In this international collection, new life is given to fairy tales, both classic and obscure.

Mythical creatures put the fairy in Fairy Tale. Mermaids, selkies, and ocean guardians experience the best and worst of humanity; sisters encounter an unusually friendly bear; a brave bride meets a silly goose; and a spinner of gold sets the record straight.

Urban fantasies modernize classics: a Frenchman learns the truth about magic, his past, and his girlfriend; a girl sets out to find love but receives a curse; and today’s naughty list makes Old Saint Nick not-so-jolly.

New worlds bring a fresh sense of wonder! In the future, a young woman fights for her people and herself; a bastard son finds acceptance in a world ruled by women; and a farmer’s wits win the heart of a frosty king.

Discover unexpected twists on old favorites, and fall in love with new tales and worlds to explore!

C: Wow, that’s so exciting! I’m very excited to collaborate with you on this project. You own the publishing company, Rowanwood Publishing, LLC, is that right?

H: That’s correct! My sister Heidi and I started it about a year and a half ago, when I published Augment. I did a lot of research on micropublishing (actually did a residency on it as I was still in college at the time), and we determined that a partnership would be the best way to go about creating a name under which to publish our stories.

Rowanwood’s motto is “Two Sisters, Many Stories, One Dream.” This is quoted straight from the website: We want to share the products of our imaginations with the world, and we want to have complete control over the process through which our stories are released.


Heidi designed the logo, I took care of the paperwork, and our wonderful mother helped us sort out the taxes last year. This year, I’ll be learning how to do taxes on my own.

Rowanwood will be releasing From The Stories of Old, as the ISBNs I’m donating to the anthology are in Rowanwood’s name. However, we’ve sorted out the contract and all proceeds from the anthology’s sale will be going to the authors, the illustrator, and toward future anthologies. Our website is located at if you’re interested in learning more.

C: And I’ve also heard that your sister, Heidi Hayden, is doing the illustrations for the book, as well? How long has your sister been into art?

H: Yes, she is! She’s loved art since she was a kid. Now she’s a senior at the Maine College of Art, majoring in illustration. She plans to write and illustrate children’s books when she graduates.

When she heard my writer’s group was putting together an anthology, she was very excited as she loves fairy tales! She offered to create a black-and-white ink illustration for each of the stories, and has done an amazing job. Everyone’s so delighted to see their work illustrated, and it definitely adds a nice, old-timey touch to the anthology, as anthologies such as the Grimm Brothers’ often included illustrations.

Here is one of the illustrations from the anthology:


C: Wow, your sister is so talented! Does she have a website or portfolio where my readers can see more of her work?

H: Absolutely! Her website is and she’s got examples of both paintings and soft sculptures up. You should definitely check it out!

C: Of course! That’s next on my to-do list, after we’re finished here. 🙂

Your sister is so talented! Props to both of you for putting forth the extra effort to help us get this anthology out there! What fairy tale or myth did you decide to adapt and what inspired you to choose that one?

H: It took me a while to decide what I was going to retell. I have several retellings of various fairy tales that I wrote years ago, but I wanted to write something new.

Eventually, I settled on the selkie myth. In part it was because I’d recently discussed selkies with a friend of mine, and in part because those myths tend to be very similar to each other (though male and female selkies have distinct archetypal stories related to them). I wanted to put a new twist on the myth, and from the oceans of my imagination, Beneath His Skin was born.


C: The selkie myth? I’ve never heard of that one before. Are there any major differences between your version and the original myth?

H: Well, there are two original versions. A female selkie always has her skin stolen by a fisherman or other passerby, and is forced to live with the man, have his children, etc., until she finds her skin and can return to her sea home. Male selkies, on the other hand, are best known for their tendency to seduce human females.

As someone who likes to focus more on friendship than romantic love in her stories, I wanted to do something different with Beneath His Skin. At times it was difficult to evoke the emotions in my readers that I wanted, but with each draft the story developed further, and I love the end result. Hopefully the readers do as well!

C: Oh, I think I’ve heard of the female selkie myth, although I didn’t know it was called a selkie. The only versions of the tale I’ve seen depict the “selkie” as an angel from Heaven whose celestial robes were stolen by a fisherman. What was the hardest part about writing the story?

H: Trying to portray my male protagonist in an innocent light. A lot of readers didn’t like the first draft because they felt he was being a pervert–which was never my intent! The friendship between him and the girl he meets is meant to be sweet and completely platonic–they’re both young and simply enjoy spending time together. I revised and revised and revised until I was certain that was how their relationship would come across, and even checked in with some of the readers of the late drafts to be certain I’d corrected that issue.

C: I liked reading your story because I’m really into swimming and so I really identified with the selkie and how he always seemed to be drawn back to the ocean. Are you also a swimmer? Do you prefer the beach or the pool?

H: Beach! I can’t stand chlorine, or even fresh water anymore. I grew up summering by the ocean, and there’s something about that scent of salty breeze that always makes me feel at peace. I love diving in when it’s hot out and just floating, or swimming around watching lobsters and crabs and flounders and other sea life.

I drew a lot on my memories of the ocean to describe both the beach the selkie first visits, as well as his connection to the ocean.

C: When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer, and what did you want to do before you discovered your passion for storytelling?

H: When I wrote my first novel in 2007, at the age of fourteen, I realized that this was something I loved to do. I’d dabbled in it before, but that was the moment when I realized that being a writer was my dream.

Before that, I wanted to work with computers, or write programs, or being a veterinarian, or work with horses, or even go to space someday! It depends how far back you go; my childhood was spent bouncing from idea to idea until that first shiny plotbunny showed up on my doorstep.

C: Curse those shiny plot bunnies, lol! 😀 What about projects aside from the anthology? What kinds of stuff are you working on?

H: Currently I’m working on Upgrade, the long-awaited sequel to Augment. I’m hoping to release it early next year.

I also have two fairy tale novelizations in progress, one based on Beauty and the Beast and the other on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Oh, and there’s a fantasy trilogy involving demons and magic (and even a smidgen of romance!) that I’ve been working on for about three years now…

I like being able to bounce between projects. That way I can let a story sit, or dodge writer’s block by focusing on something else for a bit.

C: Do you have any strange writing quirks? I know I do!

I can’t write by hand very easily. It’s so much slower than typing that I get frustrated, and then I write too fast and I can’t decipher the words afterwards.

I also often listen to music when I write, and sometimes I train myself to a certain song or album–to the point that hearing the music makes me want to work on a particular story. There’s actually a Christmas song, Mannheim Steamroller’s “Above the Northern Lights”, that still makes me want to work on Feather of a Raven, even though I wrote that novel years ago and will probably never pull it out again (it’s one of my first novels.)

C: I do the same thing with music, too! Certain songs put me in the mood to work on a certain story, even if I haven’t taken out that story in months!

How about when you’re not writing? What do you do?

H: I love to read, first of all! Don’t get me started on favorite authors… Just give me fantasy and science fiction with plenty of action!

I also enjoy baking–I grew up making everything from scratch because of some allergies in my family, and then at college one of my housemates was gluten-free.

And I love gaming–Minecraft, MMORPGs, Magic… The list goes on. I recently got my own copy of Coup, which is this awesome card game–now I just need to find people to play it with!

When I’m not doing things inside, I enjoy swimming and running, and going on hikes or walks with friends. 🙂

Oh, and my day job is editing, although it’s far less rewarding than writing my own stories. But it pays the bills and gives me free time for gaming and writing.

C: That card game sounds awesome! I’ll definitely play it with you sometime.

Time for some rapid fire questions! Favorite genre to read?

H: Fantasy or science fiction!

C: To write?

H: Fantasy or science fiction!

C: Favorite writing snack and/or beverage?

H: Chocolate! And I love most fruit juices!

C: Mac or PC?


C: Me too. 🙂 Favorite writing spot?

H: Wrapped in a cozy, fluffy blanket with my laptop on my lap, usually in bed.

C: Sweet or salty?

H: Depends on my mood… Salty today!

C: Disney or Ghibli?


C: Of course. Don’t tell Alyson! 😀 Coffee or tea?

H: TEA. Although I do like coffee, provided it’s no less than 50% cream, 10% sugar, and 40% coffee.

C: And finally, if there was a mechanism of some sort that allowed you to learn any language without having to actively study it, which language would you choose and why?

H: Japanese. I really, really, really want to learn that language, but it’s a struggle learning on my own and I haven’t gotten very far yet. I’d love to be able to speak to friends in Japanese, and I’d also like to be able to read manga in its original language!

C: You should definitely learn it! That way we can talk to each other in Japanese and Kristen and the others won’t understand what we’re saying. xD

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today, Heather!

Don’t forget to read Beneath His Skin and other fantastical fairy tales in the Just-Us League Anthology, available today! Right now!

Go get it!

Why are you still here? Go get your copy already!

Order your paperback or Kindle version on Amazon!

And don’t forget to join us for our launch party! It starts this Saturday, December 10! We’ll be answering questions from our readers and giving away free copies of our book!

Join us at our launch party!

Hope to see you there!


Heather Hayden Interview

Today I am interviewing Heather Hayden, author of Augment.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m almost completely a pantser. Other than a few vague ideas and maybe a very light outline that includes a couple relevant scenes, I just sit down and write the story. When it’s done, I’ll begin the editing process, at which point I’ll write out timelines and plotlines and figure out what needs tweaking or fixing. There are a few occasions where I’ve tried to do more heavy outlining before writing, but I’ve found I either get bored or my characters wander off in a completely different direction that renders my plot outline useless. So I think pantser is the best title for me—I love the thrill of discovering my story as I write it.

What has surprised you most about your current work-in-progress?

For starters, I was surprised when the idea popped into my head. I originally planned for Augment to be standalone, but as I was reaching the end of the editing process, an idea for a sequel popped into my head. So now I’m writing Upgrade, and though I had a vague plan for what would take place, the story—especially the characters—took a different direction than I was expecting. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me too much, since that’s what usually ends up happening!

Without spoilers, is there any part you regret writing but is integral to the plot?

Yes. There’s a character that I have gone back and forth about, trying to decide whether to kill or not. That’s always a difficult prospect for me—killing a character, because it’s so final. This tends to happen to my favorite characters in books I read, which makes it even harder. But it’s also one of the ways fiction reflects real life. There aren’t always second chances for bad guys, or happily ever afters for good guys. Sometimes, that’s what the story needs, but it’s still hard. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure if I’m happy with my decision, but ultimately I had to make that choice.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

At the moment, sort of part-time. I say sort of, because I have a job online that is basically part-time, but ranges from being full-time for a few days to being nothing for a few weeks (it depends on the work available.) So my writing has to come second for now—if there’s work available I need to do that first. I look forward to when I’ll be able to write full-time.

Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?

I’m currently working on an anthology of fairy tale retellings with some other authors I know from my writing group. They’re really awesome people and I’m looking forward to learning from the experience. We were inspired by other authors who have done collaborations, and it’s my hope that the anthology will help get our names out there for people to discover. *grins and high fives you for being one of those awesome authors*

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you, Heather, and for calling me awesome. 🙂 *high fives you back*

Please be sure to follow her on Twitter and read her blog. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Augment on Amazon today!


Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.

Lynn Miller Interview

In keeping with the spirit of the Word Blog Tour, this month I am interviewing Lynn Miller, author of The Witch’s Pride.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to tell stories as long as I am able. I want to tell stories of love and all the mushy stuff without being mushy. I want my readers to remember my books as “thought provoking after the fact.” I want that rush of pre-order sales. I want loyal fans. And I won’t deny it, I’d like to make a living as well.

Does your book use any references to mythology or real-world folklore, or does it contain its own folklore?

It’s kind of a mixed bag. I’ve merged pantheons together. I liked the idea that every system probably got it right, just from different perspectives. That’s the foundation of my worldbuilding. The idea was to make the fantastical seem almost plausible.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I draft on my laptop. I outline longhand with sticky tabs, transfer that to Scrivener using the same colour coding system. Then I go chapter by chapter. Rough draft, first draft send to Word. Spelling and Grammar check. Text to voice. Then post for critique. Go back to outline check the next chapter and start the whole process over.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins?

Hijack is such a strong word and makes me feel like the victim. LOL But yes, my characters will say something, completely in character, and suddenly the story will veer off in a different direction. That causes a lot of grey hairs because I need to toggle between seeing where it leads and forcing them to go where I need them to go.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

I consider the Sons of Rebellion to be Paranormal Romance. Though, technically I describe it as an urban fantasy/family drama with a strong romantic sub-plot. Doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily. Originally I did consider it as an urban fantasy series but using romance to describe it was far too convenient.

Thank you so much for joining me this month, Lynn! If you’re interested in learning more about Lynn Miller, you can follow her on Twitter at @lynnmillerfic or visit her website at


Lynn Miller lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her love for storytelling started before she was able read or write but she only found the time to pursue this lifelong passion once she sold her software business. Her magical tales weave the blurred grey between good and evil with love, family and friendship.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a cup of coffee and her Kindle. She has always enjoyed both Romance and Urban Fantasy, and she writes in the genre that encompasses both: Paranormal Romance.  She’s an outdoorsy city girl – comfortable at a campsite with her family or enjoying cocktails with her girlfriends.


September goals

I did absolutely nothing the entire month of August. Well, aside from moving to another country and starting a new job…

But the month of August sort of just flew by without me doing much of anything. So I’ve decided to set twenty different goals for the month of September so that I don’t waste the entire month again. At the end of the month, I’ll write another blog post discussing whether or not I achieved these goals. Not all these goals have to do with writing, but all of these are things I’d like to achieve by the end of September.

  1. Review all the crits that have been staring at me on the homepage of Scribophile – On the writing website Scribophile, I recently received a lot of critiques on my posted writing, but I have yet to review them and implement the feedback into the respective pieces. By the end of September, I want to review every single critique that I haven’t looked at yet as well as begin the new habit of reviewing any crit I’ve received within 24 hours of receiving it.
  2. Reply to my eight unread PMs – On Scribophile, I have eight unread personal messages (PMs) that I need to respond to. The people who sent me the messages know that I recently moved to Japan and started a new job, but the newest one is from a week ago, so I’d like to respond to all of them by the end of September, or maybe even the first week or so. In addition, I want to start the new habit of responding to PMs within 24 hours of receiving them.
  3. Read another book for my reading challenge. – I have four more books to read for my challenge, so during the month of September, I’d like to finish at least one more book so that I’m a bit closer to finishing the challenge.
  4. Write at least one blog post for my Japan blog each week (four total) – I’ve been in Japan an entire month and the blog I started that is dedicated to documenting my Japan adventures is completely blank, lol. So I’m going to go way back in time and write blog posts or post videos at least once a week talking about various adventures I’ve had in Japanland. And I’d also like to make it a habit to update that blog a bit more regularly–shall we say two posts a month on that baby? My job keeps me so busy, after all!
  5. Organize the most amazing outdoor session for English camp. – As a part of the Iwaki ALTs, I’m going to be helping out with the English Immersion Camp in October. All twenty of us are organizing a one-night two-day camp for a select group of junior high school students in the area, and the camp will be held entirely in English. The campers are going to be Japanese junior high school students, so you can imagine how interesting that’s going to be. I’m one of three ALTs in charge of the outdoor session, which is essentially a thirty-minute exercise session first thing the second morning before breakfast to wake up the students and get them back in the English mood. The session will be a challenging one to plan because the students will be sleepy and not wanting to participate in things like Red Rover and hopscotch. But we’ll do our best.:) Technically, this goal won’t be achieved until the camp actually happens in mid=October, but by the end of September, we should have the session all planned out and ready to go.
  6. Find and buy new sneakers. – This goal is already halfway finished. The sneakers I’ve been wearing have started to fall apart because I’m walking literally everywhere I go (and I’m walking a lot, lol) so I want to get a new pair. I saw some today when I went shopping – I didn’t try them on or buy them, but perhaps next weekend, I shall go back to that shop and try on the sneakers. Today, I was in a bit of a hurry to get groceries and get back home, so I didn’t buy them.
  7. Find a buy a bike – I don’t have a bike, and I want one. Especially because for one of my schools, I have to walk thirty minutes up a hill to get there. A bike would cut that time in half, maybe. This goal is also halfway finished. I was shopping for a baby shower present for a friend who’s about to have a baby and I saw a bike I really really liked. Except that since I don’t have a car and you can’t take bikes on buses here, I’d have to bike it back to my house, and it’s been raining constantly here. We had a typhoon the other day that was so bad that school got canceled. But I’d like to get a bike sometime this month so it’ll be easier to go to the grocery store and to school and stuff.
  8. Eat more fruits and vegetables – I’ve been rather bad about eating healthy foods. I’ve been eating out a lot with my friends and getting takeout a lot and eating junk food. So in September, I want to make it a habit of getting more fruits and vegetables in my diet.
  9. Critique at least one thing per week – I have four different novels I’m reading on Scribophile and critiquing. Writing a critique actually takes a bit of time, so I’m aiming for one chapter per week, although I’m also going to give myself a bonus goal of critiquing two chapters per week.
  10. Set up my Wi-fi router – I finally have Internet at my apartment, but right now, I’ve only got it set up to use the broadband connection, so I have to keep my laptop plugged in to the modem, and it’s a big pain in the ass because I keep tripping over the wires and the modem keeps coming unplugged. So I want to set up my Wi-fi router so that I can maybe use my computer in bed or something – right now I have it set up at my dining room table and it’s not very comfortable.
  11. Get to level seventeen in Pokemon Go. – I’m at level sixteen right now, so I can pretty much predict that I will accomplish this goal this month.
  12. Hatch at least four eggs in Pokemon Go. – Since hatching eggs require walking and therefore you get exercise, I’m justified in setting this goal. I’ve even done the math. Four eggs a month means I’d have to walk twenty kilometers, which works out to be .8 km per day, which is about how far I walk to school every day. Hatch eggs, ho!
  13. Send my brother a birthday present. – My brother’s birthday is in September, so one goal I have this month is to send him a birthday present.
  14. Get a birthday present for my friend who has a birthday in September – I have a fellow ALT here in Japan who also has a birthday this month, so I’m making another goal to be getting him a present or something, too.
  15. Stop falling asleep without taking off my glasses – I have a bad habit of falling asleep with my glasses on. I’m making it a goal this month to not to this.
  16. Continue to drink at least one liter of water every day – I’ve estimated the amount of water I drink every day to be about one liter. I have 500 ml water bottles and I wind up drinking two of them every day, so I want to keep drinking water and staying hydrated.
  17. Brainstorm with at least three other JETs about their teaching goals and what kinds of expectations I should set for my students. – I’ve been thinking recently about what goals I want to set for myself as a teacher and what goals I want to set for my students. What do I want my students to take away from my classes? I’ve come up with a few different things I want for myself and my students, and this month, I’d like to talk to at least three other ALTs about how they go about setting goals for themselves and their students. In addition, I’d like to maybe talk to some of my homeroom teachers and ask what they would like for their students to get out of English class.
  18. Get my book ready for the first set of beta readers. – This one is self-explanatory. I want to get my book polished up enough to be able to recruit some beta readers and start working on publication.
  19. Get one of the teachers at school to show me how to use the school printer. – I’ve been in Japan for a month now, but I’ve only been working at school for two weeks. Apparently my school has a printer but I don’t know where it is or if I’m allowed to use it. So sometime this month (maybe even this week) I’d like to get someone at school to show me where the printer is. Every time I remember that I haven’t yet asked if I’m allowed to use it, there’s no one around to ask.
  20. Call my parents at least once a week. – I’ve been so busy, and I haven’t really felt very homesick lately, that I haven’t talked to my parents much. This weekend, they’re going on a camping trip, so my dad called me on Friday while I was at work. I was able to talk to them on Friday after my work day was over, but I do want to talk to them more often. So I’m going to make it a point to call them at least once a week just to check in and say hi.

And that’s it for my goals this month. At the end of the month, I’ll check back here to see if I’ve accomplished them and also make new goals for October. 乙女

Lesa McKee Interview

Today I had an opportunity to interview Lesa McKee, author of Operation Space Cats: The Rescue Mission.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Start writing NOW!!! Silly girl. We could have been doing this a looong time ago!

What do you think of book trailers? And will you create one for your own book(s)?

I love the idea of them. If I can afford it (and I can get the trailer of my dreams), then I just may do that.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I’m not a big movie person, so my list is short. That said, I have to split this into two categories, LOL. Comedy and romance. Father of the Bride wins for comedy and Pride & Prejudice wins for romance.

Do you know your characters from the start of a book, or do they develop as you go?

Most of the time my character’s are a bit of a mystery to me at the beginning. I like it that way as half the fun of writing is learning more about them. I love it when they surprise me!

Does your main character have any favorite sayings?

Yes. My main cat, Tebbs likes to say “Whirling whiskers!”

Thank you so much, Lesa, for letting me interview you today.


Be sure to visit her website, follow her blog, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest. Also be sure to pick up a copy of Operation Space Cats on Amazon today!

Lesa McKee grew up at her grandmother’s knee, listening to the French folktales her animated Grandma Ida shared. A love of stories was born and her imagination took off!

She’s now living her dream as a Christian Indie writer of feel-good fiction, including a short story series of far-out space cats, titled ‘Operation Space Cats’. These purrific feline adventures are filled with faith, friendship & fun!

Every month, I will be interviewing a different indie author here on The Pink Notebook. Check back on September 4 for my next interview with Lynn Miller!

Keeper of the Lost Cities review

Book seven in my reading challenge was Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. This book falls under the category “Book recommended by sibling, spouse, child, or BFF.” I don’t have children or a spouse, and my brother was busy with grad school, so I asked my friend Kristen to recommend me a book for this category, and she chose Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has always been able to hear other peoples’ thoughts. She’s never been able to explain this strange ability of hers, until she meets Fritz, a strange boy who appears out of nowhere and also has the power to read minds. He takes her to Everglade, an Elf city and says that she’s actually an Elf! If she remains with her human family, she’ll be in grave danger, so in the blink of an eye, she has to give up everything she’s ever known in the human world. But it seems as if she’s finally found somewhere she belongs, and where her power doesn’t exclude her but is accepted. But memories have been stored in her mind, and the more she remembers, the harder she must work to discover the truth about her past, before the wrong person does.

Keeper of the Lost Cities is a YA fantasy with a plucky female protagonist that I couldn’t put down. At times, I felt like there were too many characters introduced and I couldn’t keep track of them all, but I was able to relate to Sophie the most. Like her, I have always felt that I don’t fit in very well with other people, and as such, I was rooting for her the entire time.

I would give this book four out of five stars, mostly because at some points, I felt the pacing was a bit rushed and there were a lot of characters introduced, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good urban fantasy read. KotLC is the first book in a series, and I’m rather tempted to rush out to the library and find the next book in the series so I can read more.