Monday, February 5, 2024


This year, I'm loosely following Gretchen Rubin's The 24 in 2024 Trifecta  – "One Word" (which I mentioned last month), "The 24 in 24 List" and "The Write 24 in 24 Challenge."



The 24 in 24 List – these are 24 things I hope to accomplish in 2024. It includes some fun things – art classes! - but it's mostly tasks that have been driving me crazy for the last few years, and I need to get done before I lose the little sanity I have left. I probably won't get them all done, but I'll be pleased with just a handful.




The Write 24 in 24 Challenge – I put this on my 24 in 24 list, and I don't care if it's kind of cheating – it's my list, I'll do what I want. (My One Word = Unapologetic!) This takes place over the whole year, writing 2-4 minutes OR 24 minutes every day. Now, some people might ask, don't I, as a writer, already do this? And the answer is yes . . . and no. I do pretty much write every day, but it's not as focused or as imaginative as I'd like. 


Over the last few years, I've lost a lot of my creative joy. I don't know if this challenge will help, but we'll see. I'm also going to re-focus on shorter works – flash fiction, micro fiction, short stories, maybe a novella. So much of the novel work I've been doing has felt so heavy, like one of those weighted blankets. (By the way, I tried one of those and felt so trapped, I almost had a panic attack.




Now, we did not do this on purpose to continue the theme, but my husband and I are re-watching the old TV series, "24" starring Kiefer Sutherland. We're up to Season 7, and although it's gone off the rails a bit in these later seasons, it's still been a lot of fun. I only wish I had thought to create my own version of a "drinking game" so that every time Jack Bauer or another character said "dammit" I'd get to eat a Peanut M&M. 




Are you participating in any challenges this year? Do you find them helpful or too restricting? Are you feeling the joy in your creative endeavors or are you trying to get it back? If you're a fan of the weighted blanket, please tell me, what am I missing? Do you remember 24? Watching anything that's fun for you? 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024


My "one word" theme for 2024 = Unapologetic


I'm not talking about times when an apology is necessary. I'm talking about times like this – 


Check out Introvert Doodles 
for Marzi's books and more doodles


I am too old and cranky to wait around for approval, for permission, to be myself. In Matt Haig's The Comfort Book, there's a line that's become almost a mantra for me – "Your self-worth is not found inside the minds of other people."


So, this year, I am going to do my best to stop apologizing for myself. I have things to do, and 2024 will be the year I get at least some of them done. 


No apologies.



Do you have a one word theme? Are you gung-ho or ho-hum on goals/plans/resolutions this year? What are you hoping for, looking forward to, excited about in 2024?

Monday, December 4, 2023

Digging In This December

I'll be brief – good thing I write flash fiction! -  because I'm still struggling with my novel/novella draft, and I am determined to be done by the end of the year. 


This holiday post is short on words, but it is long on gratitude. As 2023 draws to a close, I am grateful for so much in my life, including all of you. Thank you for reading my dark, weird little stories. Thank you for stopping by this blog. Thank you for all the comments. Your encouragement and support, humor and information are thoroughly appreciated. 


*** All of us here at TSR wish you 

a wonderful holiday season and a new year 

that exceeds your dreams and expectations!!! *** 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Anew in November

We can finally open the windows in our house now and let the crisp, cooler air blow through, moving out and away some of the mental health issues that plagued the last couple of months. A combination of things became a slow slide I struggled to stop. 


But, once again, I've regrouped. My birthday was last month, and I'm grateful for another year, another chance to breathe fresh air, to walk with my husband beneath palm trees and blue skies, to pet the tortoises, and to pen the possibilities – the light and the dark - living in my imagination.



I was thrilled to be one of three winners in a recent flash fiction contest held by lit agent, Janet Reid! I so needed that creative boost. Here's the link to the results post where you can read all three stories.


It's been a few years since I participated in NaNo, and I considered it this time around, but I don't have the oomph for it. I'm doing my own looser version in order to get this novel/novella done or as close to done as I can before the month is over. Please wish me luck!




Both THE TRAP by Catherine Ryan Howard and THE LAST ONE by Will Dean were so suspenseful and twisty, I almost got paper cuts I turned those pages so fast and furious. 


I thoroughly enjoyed the debut novel, THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY by Brendan Slocumb. It's a tense mystery whose characters practically jump off the page. 




Are you enjoying the weather where you are? Read anything amazing lately? Any writing goals or goals in general for this month? If you're participating in NaNo, I wish you all the luck and all the words! 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Shallow Waters - Special Paperback Edition

I'm fortunate to have three stories published in several of Crystal Lake's Shallow Waters flash fiction anthologies. In honor of the Shallow Waters series coming to an end, Crystal Lake put together a special paperback edition containing about 100 stories from across the various volumes.


Two of my stories – Rattled (from Vol. 6) and The Perfect Match (from Vol. 7) – are included. 


An anthology like this, one you can thumb through, fold down corners, mark up, is an excellent way to find new-to-you authors, ones who will hopefully become favorites. It's also great if you prefer your creepy-crawly chills in small doses. When you've had your fill for that moment, just put the book back on the shelf, where it will sit . . . and wait . . . and watch . . .  



From the back cover – 

"What you hold in your hands are not just stories. They are the nightmarish visions and eerie dreams of the most talented finalists in Crystal Lake’s Shallow Waters writing contest, hosted on their Patreon page.

Brace yourself to be unsettled, unnerved, and unequivocally captivated. Shallow Waters is not a book—it’s a portal to the twisted, terrifying, and tantalizing world of flash fiction horror."

Monday, September 4, 2023

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream . . . Forever

Ah, fall in Florida! When the "excessive heat advisory" drops to the regular old "heat advisory", and I defiantly keep eating Key Lime Pie ice cream even as pumpkin flavored everything rolls in. 


Novella/Novel – I didn't achieve my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of the summer. I did make a ton of progress, though – scene cards sketched out, scenes written, an ending that makes me both happy and sad. Maybe another month to go . . .  


Mailing List – Um…. Nope. I'd like to say I'll do this in September but by the end of the year is more realistic. 


A great post over on Writers Helping Writers - "Do Your Characters Have Agency?" - got me thinking hard about my characters in general. 



Way back at the beginning of 2023, my goal had been to lose some pounds. That's not going very well (see Key Lime Pie Ice Cream above), but I am exercising more consistently, slowly amping up the duration and intensity. I hope to get outside soon – it's still too hot for me – to walk and ride bikes.  



None of This is True by Lisa Jewell is a mystery/suspense/thriller that takes you on a wild, wild ride, one definitely not for the faint of heart. 


And for the first time in a long time, I'm ahead in my 2023 Reading Challenge.



How was your summer? Did you make progress on any projects? Read anything that blew you away? Are you a fan of pumpkin flavored everything?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Shuffling Along

So far, The Summer of Making Strides looks more like The Summer of Shuffling Along. 


But I'll take it, because even though I'm moving slower than a tortoise, I'm moving in the right direction for me. And on the days when it feels like I'm actually going backwards, I tell myself it's necessary to get a running start in order to take that leap forward. 


I'm not sure if it will help my momentum any, but I'm taking a bit of a blogging and social media break. I'll still pop in and out, and I'll be back with a new post in September.


All of us here at TSR 

wish you a wonderful summer, 

whatever that looks like for you!!!