Setting Up Writing Tasks With Habitica

Have you heard of this app? Habitica? I’m in love with it. So here’s the deal. You create a little guy or gal and then go ahead and set up tasks, to-do lists, or even habits. They could be writing related goals, like ‘Write one chapter’ or ‘Write 1000 words daily’, or something a little more simple like ‘Take the stairs’ or a habit like ‘Drink Water’. 2016-07-30

Whenever you mark off the tasks or to-do items as completed, you get experience points. Eventually you can even have pets. Just a few days ago I hatched my first Skeleton Flying Pig!

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Thursday Thoughts – Seaweed Parties and Giants

On Thursdays I normally share random thoughts I plan to use as writing inspiration or prompts. It’s been a cold week here in Stockholm and part of me wants to do nothing but curl up in bed with a good book while the cat sits on my head. Tomorrow night it’s supposed to go down to -19. Trust me, I’ve asked myself all week why I willingly gave up California and Georgia sunshine for this. But as much as I want to burrow under the covers, I can’t until I’ve posted my Thursday Thoughts post =).

So, besides the cold, what am I thinking about? Read more

2016 Reading Challenge

My post last week recapped the books I’ve read in 2015. In that post, I was excited to try to reach my goal of a book a week for 2016. With that in mind, I’ve created a reading challenge because I think they’re fun. I’ve based it on the alphabet =). Here it is:

  • Read a book with Animal characters.
  • Read a book by a best-selling British author.
  • Read a book with Cooking in it.
  • Read a Dystopian book.
  • Read a book with a character who’s an Engineer.
  • Read a book about Freedom.
  • Read a book about a Gift. Alternatively, read a book you received as a Gift.
  • Read a book about a character with memorable Hair.
  • Read a book where a character is Innocent.
  • Read a book written by an author whose name begins with J (first or last).
  • Read a book a King has read.
  • Read a book with a Long title (more than five words).
  • Read a book your Mother recommends.
  • Read a book by an author you’ve Never read before.
  • Read a book that has a character crossing an Ocean.
  • Read a book Published in 2016 and one Published the year you were 16.
  • Read a book about a Quest.
  • Read a book Recommended by your friend.
  • Read a book about a Spy.
  • Read a book about Time Travel.
  • Read an Urban fantasy book.
  • Read a book written by a military Veteran.
  • Read a book written by a mighty Woman.
  • Read a book with a Yellow cover.
  • Read a book about a Zoo.

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2015 Reading Challenge Recap

20151219_104655In 2015 I posted a reading challenge. Forgot about it, did you? For those of you who didn’t, I know you’re dying to hear how it went.

Well . . . I got almost half of them ticked off. Here are the details:

  • A book with more than 500 pages — Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson (these books are huge!)
  • A classic romance —
  • A book that became a movie — A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
  • A book published this year —
  • A book with a number in the title — Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • A book written by someone under 30 —
  • A book with non-human characters — (technically The Amulet of Samarkand and Stroud’s other books fall here, but I used them for another entry).
  • A book by a female author — Oryx & Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • A mystery or thriller —
  • A book with a one-word title — Ireland, Frank Delaney
  • A book of short stories — Angels and Visitations: A Miscellany, Neil Gaiman
  • A book set in a different country — The Truth About You, Susan Lewis
  • A non-fiction book — Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, Gabriella Coleman
  • A popular author’s first book — Storm Front, Jim Butcher
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet — I wanted to fill in this category, trust me, I did. American Gods is waiting for me, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet =(.
  • A book a friend recommended —
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book — Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
  • A book based on a true story —
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list —
  • A book your mom loves —
  • A book that scares you —
  • A book more than 100 years old — Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • A book based entirely on its cover —
  • A book you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t — Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • A memoir —
  • A book you can finish in a day — Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  • A book with antonyms in the title —
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit — (Ireland, Frank Delaney)
  • A book that came out the year you were born —
  • A book with bad reviews —
  • A trilogy — The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate, Jonathan Stroud
  • A book from your childhood —
  • A book with a love triangle —
  • A book set in the future — The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • A book set in high school —
  • A book with a color in the title —
  • A book that made you cry — Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  • A book with magic —
  • A graphic novel —
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before — The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
  • A book you own but have never read —
  • A book that takes place in your hometown —
  • A book that was originally written in a different language —
  • A book set during Christmas —
  • A book written by an author with your same initials —
  • A play —
  • A banned book — (Lord of the Flies, William Golding)
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show — (Storm Front, Jim Butcher)
  • A book you started but never finished —

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Star Wars Disappointment

20151220_131736I had a difficult time choosing today’s post. Not because I didn’t know what to talk about, but because I had originally planned to write about the books I read this year. However, we saw the ‘new’ Star Wars movie over the weekend and now I can’t get it out of my head.

* Warning — Spoiler Alert *

Star Wars is our thing. It really is. If my husband could have had a Star Wars wedding, we would have. We met playing Star Wars Galaxies (pre-combat expansion). We have a bookshelf full of the books. We have Star Wars Christmas ornaments, underwear, pajamas, coffee cups, decals, games, miniatures, wrapping paper, and a dozen other random things. Star Wars Lego contraptions, built by our little master builder, litter our home. Our son’s name is based on a Star Wars character. At pre-school each kid gets to choose a special word and the other kids have to learn all about it. Our son chooses words like ‘droid’ and ‘star destroyer’ and the poor teachers are pulling me aside asking me what these things mean.

If a new movie comes out, it’s a big deal for us. Read more

Thursday Thoughts – Wicker, Zombie Babies and a Scary Fish

Thursday Thoughts –

Every Thursday I’m going to post a few short paragraphs, or photos, about random ideas to share with you some of the things that inspire me. It has the added benefit of keeping me focused, because let’s face it sometimes writers are interested in everything but writing (see how I didn’t mention the ‘p’ word there?). A blogger I admire, Aethereal Engineer, does this with art and music every week (Aethereal Engineer Blog) and I’ve enjoyed stopping over to see what inspires him when I can. I don’t listen to music much, so I’ve adapted the idea to fit my style. I’m hoping that I can use some of these elements in my work in the weeks that follow the post, much like writing prompts. Feel free to do the same if you find something that inspires you =). Read more

Honorable Mention

My short story, “Body Talk,” has received honorable mention in a contest. You can check out the Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest – Summer 2015 winners here. My name is under those talented folks who won, along with nine other honorable mentions. Go us!

It couldn’t have come at a better time, either. I’ve been focused on the kids a lot over the past couple of weeks and it feels like the writing is dragging. Whenever that happens, I get discouraged. Good news always puts me back on track =).

Jen Campbell and Marie Phillips visit Stockholm

The Bookshop BookOn Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th the English Bookshop in Stockholm hosted two visiting authors, Jen Campbell, author of the hilarious Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and Marie Phillips, author of The Table of Less Valued Knights. Stockholm Writers Group member Karen Hagersten reached out to the bookshop and organized a wonderful evening for the group, and hopefully the authors.

For Jen’s talk, the bookshop was packed! Some folks were even sitting on the floor. But it was all worth it. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine, a great interview, and a chance to not only get a book signed, but also to chat for a moment with the authors? After Jen’s talk, we took both ladies out to dinner and a number of us returned the following morning for the breakfast talk with Marie Phillips. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the breakfast talk. I’m bummed, too, because Marie was so funny and I really wanted to hear more about her book. The way she described it at dinner was–and I’m paraphrasing here–‘You know how King Arthur had the round table knights? This book is about the other knights–the ones who didn’t make it to the round table.’ My kind of book.) Read more

My Three Favorite Books on Writing

Ask any writer and they’ll tell you they have a favorite writing book. Most have more than one. By writing book, I mean anything you use as a resource to enhance, support, encourage, explain, or provide education about the craft of writing. Some are books that teach you how to harness your creativity, others talk about the technique behind creating the best subplots. If it helps you in some way on your writer journey, it counts.   

When I took part in the MOOC How Writers Write Fiction, someone started a thread about the subject and the participants delivered page after page of favorites. I don’t own most of their suggestions and if anyone does, I want to be his or her friend (by the way, if you live in an English-speaking country, you have no idea how lucky you are to have access to libraries with books in English. My library has maybe 34 books in English).

This list started me thinking. I may not have hundreds of writing books, but I have a few and I’ve skimmed over others in the bookstore before I moved across the giant pond. If someone asked me what my favorite writing book was, how would I answer? Could I choose only three?  Read more

Words For Water

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copyright Cas Blomberg

The other day I was strolling around Goodreads and ran across a post called Words For Water. In the wake of the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon, the title caught my attention. I’m thrilled millions of dollars have been raised for ALS over the past few weeks, but to do so by throwing away something people desperately need is . . . interesting. I know it’s all fun and games, but I can’t help thinking for every challenge accepted, how many lives could that water have saved?

I get it, the idea of someone needing water is far removed as we sit in our homes with shiny faucets, or we walk past fifty different brands of bottled water at the grocery store, where bags of ice are less than a dollar making it super easy to fill any bucket. Read more