A Most Surreal Year

A most surreal year it’s been,
As everyone has seen.
But we expected just as much
In Twenty Seventeen.

For after such a train wreck
Of a year that was the last,
It only stands to reason
That we’d feel we’ve aged so fast!

We’ve seen the worst offenses made
Against democracy
And been forced to endure the most
Blatant hypocrisy.

Some relatives think all is fine,
Or so they boast with pride.
(I smile at them politely
While I’m screaming deep inside.)

Yet though current events have put
My patience to the test,
Far from the worst of all my years,
For me, this was the best!

I left the world I knew behind
To start my life anew.
And every day, I’m grateful
To be with my love so true.

I’ve worked as hard as ever
To achieve my author dreams.
(It’s true that writing novels
Is much harder than it seems.)

So here’s to one more year past as
A brand new one draws near.
May Twenty Eighteen prove to be
A less surreal year!

The Year in Review: What I’ve Learned About Writing in 2017

Welcome to my final creative writing post of 2017! The last week of December is a great time to look back on our resolutions from January and how much we’ve accomplished in the past year. So to finish off 2017, here’s another review of my New Year’s resolutions and what I achieved in my writing this year. Enjoy!

Did I get published in a scientific journal?

Not yet, but the paper has been submitted and is currently awaiting review. It ended up going through several major changes as we tried to decide whether it should be a full paper or a brief note, and the revision process took a bit longer than expected (though that’s bound to happen when the co-authors live in different parts of the world). In any case, we’re closer to publication than ever before. Hopefully the upcoming revisions will be the “easy part”!

Did I make a career out of my writing?

Yes, in a way. While my original plan at the beginning of the year was to get into freelance writing, I soon realized that when it comes to working for others, I have a better knack for editing and proofreading than for writing.

In the year since I started working through Fiverr, I’ve become a Level Two seller, earned dozens of 5-star reviews, and gained a pretty good reputation as a blog post editor. I also finished the first draft of my fantasy novel earlier in the year and have been editing it ever since. On the side, I’ve been working on some short stories for publication on Kindle to build my author profile (which frankly I should have done a long time ago). So much writing to do in the new year, and I can’t wait!

Did I continue growing my blogging network?

Yes! It’s still a bit of a slow process, as always (I’m calling super shyness and “fear of success” on this one, not that they’re valid excuses), but I’ve taken some big steps this year to learn how to grow my blog even more. I’ve been planning to make some significant changes to my blogging style, such as growing my mailing list and experimenting with guest posting, which will hopefully expand my network further in 2018. Here’s to a productive new year!

What about you? What have you accomplished with your writing in 2017? I hope you had a productive year and that your 2018 will be even better! Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Word of the Week: Ebullient

Word: ebullient

Pronunciation: i-BƏL-yənt

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: cheerful and full of energy

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Merry Christmas! It’s the last Word of the Week of 2017, and since it also happens to be a festive holiday, I figured it would be fun to end this year’s vocabulary segment with a joyful word! There are plenty of synonyms for “cheerful”, but this one recently jumped out at me for how “bubbly” it sounds. I’d definitely save this one for my most energetic characters; there’s “cheery” and “jolly”, and then there’s “ebullient”!

To be “ebullient” is to be cheerful and full of energy. The word arose in the late 16th century in the sense “boiling” and comes from the Latin verb ebullire, meaning “to boil up”. This verb comprises two roots: the preposition ex “out” and the verb bullire “to bubble”.

Before its common definition arose, “ebullient” used to be a more literal term meaning “boiling or agitated as if boiling”, though this sense has since become archaic and literary. Similar to last week’s vocabulary word, “ebullient” falls on the upper end of the “happiness” spectrum in that it implies a highly energetic level of joy. As a synonym for “bubbly” (both figuratively and literally), it’s very similar to “effervescent“, a word I wrote about three years ago, so feel free to use these adjectives interchangeably. If your characters are usually energetic and enthusiastic, you may have fun writing about their “ebullient” personalities!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

A Night of Festivity

Dad and I hang the last of the lights on the tree and plug them in. I step back and smile at the colored display before us. Mom and my sisters have finished decorating the rest of the house to match the festive tree, just in time for the family’s arrival! Our guests arrive later in the day, and my parents, sisters, and I make sure to give them the warmest welcome. We spend the evening talking and laughing, until at last we all sit down to Mom’s delicious feast. When we’re all sure we couldn’t eat another bite, we gather round the tree to exchange the gifts wrapped beneath it. The evening passes in delight and peace, and I find I can’t stop smiling. I couldn’t have asked for a merrier Christmas!

Tidings of good cheer
Share the joy with family
Christmastime is here!
May your day be warm and bright
Have a happy holiday!

Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, and readers who are celebrating! May you all have a blessed holiday season!

My 3 Favorite Christmas Specials

Christmas is almost here, which means it’s a great time to share some more forms of art related to holiday cheer! I’ve already written about my favorite Christmas stories and songs (twice) in the past, so this year I thought it would be fun to share a short post about my favorite Christmas specials! Of course, there are several to choose from, so maybe I’ll feature more in a future Christmas blog post!

So to celebrate the holiday season, here are three of my favorite Christmas specials! Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

1) “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

I know, everyone adds this one to their list of favorite Christmas specials, but why wouldn’t they? It’s a classic! First broadcast in 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been a holiday favorite for decades, and will probably continue to be one for generations to come.

Charlie Brown’s quest to understand the true meaning of Christmas communicates a timeless message of how the holiday spirit can easily be lost in materialism but still overcome it in the end. Linus’ speech about the story of Christmas and the heartwarming ending scene with Charlie Brown’s tiny Christmas tree have cemented this holiday special on my list of all-time favorites. Not to mention it has a phenomenal soundtrack! I now make it a point to listen to it every December. It’s the perfect music to get into the holiday spirit!

2) “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966)

Dr. Seuss was a huge part of my childhood, so of course a classic Christmas special based on one of his books had to be on my list! Continuing on the same theme as “Charlie Brown”, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is another great story that criticizes the commercialization of Christmas and reminds us that the holiday season should be about so much more than presents and feasts.

For as long as I’ve been watching this special, the Grinch has always made me laugh with his antics, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I get a little choked up every time his heart grows three sizes and he embraces the true meaning of Christmas. With its fantastic story, animation, narration, and music, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is another holiday special for the ages!

3) “Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean” (1992)

Hey, I never said anything about listing my favorite American Christmas specials! I have so many fond memories of watching Mr. Bean with my sisters, and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean” was always one of our favorite episodes. From playing with a nativity scene to conducting a Christmas band to getting a turkey stuck on his head, Mr. Bean never failed to keep us laughing from beginning to end. Definitely a Christmas special worth watching!

What about you? What are some of your favorite Christmas specials?

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