What’s Making Me Happy: October 2017

Wait! It’s November now! Isn’t this post late? 

Well, sort of. (Better late than never, right?) But with my new DIY MFA article posting earlier this week and S.J. Higbee’s blog tour stopping here last week, today is the most convenient day to look back on the joys of October.

And, boy, do I need this post right now. October was very stressful, between sudden changes at my day job and unexpected (and expensive) car repairs. And when I’m already stressed / anxious about one thing, it’s so easy for me to get stressed / anxious about other things. If you’ve felt the same way lately, let’s take a moment to inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and give thanks for our accomplishments and joys over the past month. And as always, feel free to share what’s made you happy lately in your comments.

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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

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Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!

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Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. 🙂

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed. Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. 😉

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique. Plus, I’m sharing five more tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?
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5 on the 5th: Five Soothing Music Albums to Help You Relax

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On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us an opportunity to talk about other subjects that aren’t normally discussed here at the blog. 

I have pretty eclectic tastes when it comes to music: symphonic metal, progressive rock, singer-songwriter, classical crossover… And over the past couple years, new age and instrumental music has woven its way into my iTunes library. While I can understand why some people would find this genre “boring,” I’ve grown to love it. New age instrumentals are now my go-to music picks when I’m working on blog articles – and they’re immensely helpful for meditating, stress relief, or winding down at the end of the day.

So, for today’s 5 on the 5th, I’d like to recommend Five Soothing Music Albums to Help You Relax, complete with links to each CD’s Amazon page and song clips on YouTube. If you like keyboards, acoustic guitars, and nature sounds, perhaps one or more of these gems will be perfect for playing in the background or for lulling you into a calmer, more peaceful state.
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Time Flies!: February 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

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So, February 2016. Wow. Not only did it soar by, but was it ever busy at the blog! For some reason, I don’t typically notice how much gets accomplished each month, but I felt it this time around. Maybe it’s because I was working on a few lengthy posts at the same time, but all the effort was worth it. So, I gave myself a short break last week, which gave me time to catch up on other things.

March already looks like it’ll be a ton of fun, btw. A new character interview is posting tomorrow, and I’m stopping by Pages Unbound in a few weeks for a fun interview about my love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. 🙂 For now, let’s recap the past month.

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Music Mondays: Josh Groban – “She Moved Through the Fair”

Yes, I’m a proud Grobanite! And although the popular classical crossover singer Josh Groban hasn’t released any new albums recently, I’ve been listening to his music the past few days to “pump up” my excitement about seeing him in concert for the third time later this week. If I had to pick one song from his latest CD, 2013’s All That Echoes, that I’m looking forward most to hearing, it would have to be “She Moved Through The Fair.” This traditional Irish ballad has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Celtic Women, Loreena McKennit, and Hayley Westenra. Josh’s version is the one I’m most familiar with, and it still entrances me. The simple acoustic arrangements fit the lyrics’ pastoral love story like a summery white dress. And with Uillean pipes, a harp, and a violin along with Josh’s moving baritone, it stirs feelings of emotional intimacy that are hard to find in typical love songs. Think of it as a musical snapshot of seeing your lover’s innocence and true beauty for the first time, on a field of wildflowers under the stars. It takes my breath away every time – and honestly, it’s so beautiful that I don’t mind if it does.

Oh, and you get a bonus with the video below – because it’s a lyric video! Enjoy. 🙂