Wednesday, May 1, 2024

With Gratitude


In April 2024, literary agent Janet Reid passed away.

Her blog was a place for learning and growing in the craft, for encouragement and support, for humor and snark, for cats and sharks. Ms. Reid gave her “Reiders” room to stretch those creative muscles by holding many, many flash fiction contests. I actually won the first one I entered, in May 2012. The moment I saw her comment – Holy Smokes! – is still one of the best of my writing journey.  

Whenever self-doubt looms – and it does, large and often - I return to that moment, and to her many comments over the years. I tell myself that if the Janet Reid saw something in my weird words and my creepy stories then maybe I can do this writing thing after all, that I should keep going. 


My gratitude, unlike those flash fiction contest rules, will never have a word count limit. 




A couple of unique reads for you – 

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden is tagged as historical fiction/fantasy/paranormal, and I would say it’s all that . . . and more.


The Deadly Daylight (Alice England Mysteries #1) by Ash Harrier is a Middle Grade mystery, and one I can’t stop raving about. I love the writing, but I adore the main character of Alice and the dynamics of her relationships with others, especially her father. 




My husband and I finally finished our re-watch of the original series, “24”. Even the seasons that were kind of clunkers had great scenes and episodes. Overall, we had a blast!



Were you familiar with Janet Reid, her blog, Query Shark? Are there words you return to when you doubt yourself, in your writing or in your life? Have any books/movies/shows to recommend? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Healthy Habits

At the beginning of 2024, I started habit tracking. I set myself one healthy habit per month, aiming to do it every day. I’m pleased to say that, so far, I’ve succeeded!   

JANUARY = I focused on drinking more water. This was a struggle, but I think the cooler weather had something to do with that. This habit hasn’t really carried over so I might set it as a goal again. 


FEBRUARY = I meditated every day. Usually between 5-20 minutes each session, keeping it flexible – the timing and/or the focus. I’m still meditating at least a couple of times a week. 


MARCH = More vegetables! My diet isn’t the worst, but it needs some improvement. Keeping this goal in the forefront of my mind helped me make better dietary choices overall. I’ve added veggies into the mix of daytime snacks, instead of just fruit, nuts, etc. 


JANUARY - MARCH = And for me, the healthiest habit of all is writing. So far, I’ve written every day – The Write 24 in 24 Challenge - and I hope to keep the trend going. I’m enjoying myself immensely! 



Do you habit track? Have any favorite healthy habits you’d care to share? Any favorite veggie recipes or snacks? How’s your creative work going? 

Monday, March 4, 2024


When I was done drafting this post, I realized it had a theme of sorts, that of revisiting, of returning to what once worked for me, to what I once enjoyed – writing how/what I wanted, reading certain genres, watching TV shows that make me feel both old and young again. I’m not sure why this is happening or why now, but I think I’ll continue meandering down Memory Lane for a little longer. 



I’ve got three stories in the works. One is definitely flash fiction. The other two will most likely be longer short stories, with one teetering on the edge of possibly becoming a novella. 


This month, I’m going to work on figuring out my UWP = Unique Writer Proposition. (See James Scott Bell’s post over at The Kill Zone.).



Some recent reads I’ve thoroughly enjoyed -  

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon – historical fiction 

Nightwatching by Tracy Sierra – mystery/thriller

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston – mystery/thriller



My husband and I are almost done – one and half seasons to go! - with our re-watch of “24”, the original series. We’ve also started re-watching “LA Law” and “The Stand”, the original miniseries. 




Have you returned to an old way of doing something? Revisited something you enjoyed in the past? How is your creative work going? Read or watched anything good lately? 


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!