The Forbidden Fruit

Note: This is for the A Mused Poetry Contest, so don’t read it, Chel.

At night you’ll see me gently creeping
With mom and dad hard a sleeping
In through laundry room door.
I open the bag of forbidden snacks –
Attractive gummies, laundry packs.

Then you’ll hear my lips a smacking,
My YouTube channel gaining backing
While I eat Tide Pods galore.
My mouth – it foams with Clean Breeze
And a few civilian casualties.

The tags may say “Danger!” “Warning!”
But industry tools are boring.
As a big attention whore
I munch and crunch on banned fare,
On poison beautiful, I’m well aware.

The Chel Owens A Mused Poetry contest (get it? A Mused, amused? Lol) has just now started up – and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m in it to win it! ūüėČ This week the theme was warning labels, and I went with the most necessary warning label of all: that added to Tide Pods after the Tide Pod Challenge.

Favorite Books of 2019

Lucky for me, there’s 5 Mondays this December, which allows an excellent chance to look back at the pile of books (36! Huzzah for me!) I’ve had the privilege to read in 2019!¬† Here’s a few of my favorites from this year:

Favorite Book On First Read

650Without a doubt, my favorite book this year was¬†Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you are a fantasy or a history buff, you should read this absolutely exquisite work. It’s so good that I don’t even feel jealous of the author, just ever so grateful I was able to read the book. 100%, totally recommend. If I hadn’t already given away my copy in earnest effort to get someone to read it, I’d give you mine.

Pro tip, though: get an e-book version. The binding on the paperback is a little weird and can make your experience slightly less enjoyable.

If you allow re-reads, I would have to say this book is competitive with¬†Ancillary Justice, which I still think is probably on of the best books I’ve ever read, but perhaps less fun that¬†Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Favorite Indie Book

This feels like such a dangerous category to even have! First, let me say that so many of my fellow bloggers have written great books. More so than anything, what I’ve found to be important in finding a great Indie Book is to look at how dedicated the author is to the craft. A good blog/website is HIGHLY indicative of a good book to follow.


That being said, I think my favorite Indie Book this year was Diane Wallace Peach’s¬†The Melding of Aeris. While many books could boast powerful storylines and well-written prose, what continues to stick out about¬†Aeris is the extraordinarily clever world and detailed magic system. The feel is post-apocalyptic, but it doesn’t go into detail as to why the world is such. I had a lot of fun reading it and would recommend to those looking for a way into the indie book scene.

I feel like if I do runners up, I’d just be listing off a bunch of bloggers’ books!

Favorite Series

One of my goals this year was to read more series, and I’ve read several. However, I’ve got to limit my choice to just one!

And, no doubt in my mind, it was the Robert Remini¬†Andrew Jackson trilogy. This trilogy is a fantastic set of biographical works that incorporates both feelings from back in the day when everyone was racist and ideals from a more modern, critical era. Though Jackson was a lunatic, Remini shows you his charisma, wit, and drive in such a way that he becomes more coherent. I’ve always enjoyed studying Jackson, though, so I’m inevitably a bit biased.

Also I’ve read this series in the past, so I feel like I cheated a bit by choosing them here. A good runner up would be the¬†Imperial Radch trilogy, but I think it suffers from having a weak second entry.

Favorite Classic

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t read too many¬†true classics. For that reason, I’m including somewhat recent science fiction and fantasy classics.


Even so, I’d have to go with¬†Dracula by Bram Stoker. I didn’t go in expecting much from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tension, the depth of character, and creativity with the subject matter. I think it’s a great read for anyone interested in expanding their experience with fantasy and classics. Don’t be afraid of it just because of the Twilight craze!

A Couple I Explicitly Didn’t Like

I don’t want to talk about Indie books I didn’t like. If you want to see me rip Indie books, you’ll have to go to my Reviews Page and find them yourself. Part of this is my belief that Indie Books, if done right, should explore niches traditional publishers are afraid to go down – niches that might not be for every reader.

I was sad that I didn’t like¬†Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. I thought the premise looked really cool, and I very much enjoyed some of the short stories she’d published in other places. I thought the book didn’t explain itself well, and I could never root for the main character. It also came off as tone-deaf in a post 2016 world. 100% worst thing I’ve read this year.

Without anything coming close to Trail of Lightning in terms of sheer dislike, I moved on to thinking about disappointments.¬†Though I enjoyed the book by the end, I was disappointed with¬†The Warrior’s Apprentice. After having read two other novels by McMasters-Bujold, I expected more from this book. I also got more from the books following¬†The Warrior’s Apprentice in the series. I think she tried to fit too much in the novel, and it ended up being an overwhelming tapestry of exciting stuff. It was also her first publication, so that inexperience probably didn’t help.



Let Me Tell You the Story of… Goals for 2019

What would a writing blog be without goals?¬† Since I am looking forward to seeing some of y’alls goals, let me spin you a little yarn right here.


More Flash Fiction

Participating in prompts has definitely been one of the most successful ways for me to meet new people.¬† I’ll be making a post on prompts as well as other blogging tools I’ve found useful, but a few you can start with are the Carrot Ranch, Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Challenge, and Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

More Poetry


I’m going to continue pursuing better poetry skills through the Tanka Tuesday prompts.¬† While there are other prompts out there, Colleen does a great job curating her poetry.¬† One of the things I like is that she chooses one poem per week to be representative for the prompt.

And guess what?  By the end of 2018, I was able to read all the poems submitted in a week and figured out which one it should be.

That means I have become able to look at poetry and judge some of it.  With Colleen essentially giving a very brief grade to some of these poems, I feel it is absolutely imperative to keep reading and make sure I learn from it.

Another goal?  Win one of the Tanka Tuesdays.  It may be a stretch considering how many great poets are out there, but it would be pretty thrilling to win one.

More Book Reviews

Sure, they’re my least read posts, but I have read more books in the past year than I think I’ve read in the past five years… combined.¬† I can almost exclusively point to the accountability of this blog as the reason for that.


While I might not read or review as many books as some of you dedicated scalawags, I hope to continue reading 3 books a month.¬† That’ll be 36 books, a number I haven’t even come close to beating since high school (this past year I read 22, but I started in April).

More specifically, I plan on having at least 4 months of Indie books – January (books will be revealed tomorrow!), April, July, and October.

IF YOU PUBLISHED AN INDIE BOOK LET ME KNOW!¬† I would LOVE supporting some people I know by buying your stuff.¬† I sometimes don’t see the posts you have advertising your own stuff, or it may be something I don’t normally read – but if you ask me, I almost certainly will get it done!

New Post Schedule

This past year, I found that my posting book reviews on Tuesday got in the way of a lot of crap.¬† So here’s what’s going to happen in the coming year on an ‘average’ week:

Sunday: Intermittent post by Count Vlad, Wacky Weekend Prompt when available
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Tanka Tuesday
Book Reviews
Catch-up or whatever I damn well please
Carrot Ranch Prompt
Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt

Lastly: More Comments!


And no, I don’t mean fish for more comments (though I do love chatting about my own stuff, lol).¬† I want to do a better job keeping up with the people I follow.¬† Sometimes I don’t comment because I’m afraid I’ll come off like a bumbling idiot or that I will be an annoyance to someone popular.¬† I want to make a goal to just make a comment whenever I come up with something even slightly more useful to say than “I liked this!” which is what I believe the ‘like’ button should be for.

Happy New Year!

Let Me Tell You the Story of… 2018 in Review

Ah, it’s been almost a year since I started blogging seriously (please, don’t look at how old this blog is… you’ll laugh at it!).¬† Here’s some of the things that I’m proud of and hope to build off in 2019.

A Novel Posted

I wrote a long backstory for a D&D character of mine (I did it for a lot of my characters, but they’re all significantly shorter than this excessively weird masterpiece).¬† When the campaign ended and the DM decided not to take possession of the world for his own intellectual property, I asked his permission to post this work.¬† While truly my own creation, he had some inspirations in the novel that I want to acknowledge.¬† Posting this novel is why I started blogging again.

If I Only Had No Heart_Small

If I Only Had No Heart is a rather sordid tale of a medieval android caught up in a cult of the Machine Goddess.¬† In effort to do right by her goddess, Spirit the android must root out the non-believers in the Goddess’s hidden compound…

A Bunch of Books Read

I’ll admit that I haven’t read as many books as I should have in my life (though I think I’ve made up for it with scientific literature).¬† When I made that sudden and terrible realization back in April of this year, I decided to start doing reviews on my site to keep myself honest.¬† They’re usually my least read post type, though my¬†Watership Down¬†review is somehow my most popular post of all time, but I think they help me on a more personal level.

Some of my most-read reviews:

  1. Watership Down – Richard Adams
    I love Watership Down.  I think my review went very (very) mildly viral in August when someone popular on Tumblr linked to it.
  2. Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
    I think people enjoyed reading this because I just ripped this book.¬† You might like it, so don’t just take my word for it with this classic.¬† Better yet don’t waste your time.
  3. Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
    This was a really weird book.¬† I’m not sure why I got more likes and views on this one than a lot of my others, but my bet is because this book is relatively hard to approach.¬† It’s extremely heady, and while enjoyable, takes a lot of effort and thinking.


I didn’t expect this when I started out.¬† I’ve never enjoyed poetry as much as prose, and while I must admit that’s¬†still true, I made the decision while blogging to learn to at least appreciate the art form.¬† I learned about Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday from Miriam Hurdle (stay tuned for something special about Miriam’s work!), and I would recommend joining that scene for anyone who wants to learn more about poetry.

My top viewed poems:

  1. Breath of Florence
  2. Lies Silent
  3. Squirrel in Winter

Flash Fiction Galore

I loved writing flash fiction this year.¬† Part of what kept me churning out flash fiction were excellent prompt givers like Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch, Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, and Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.¬† In November I started doing Dark Netizen’s Wacky Weekend Challenge, and this one promises to be baller, too!

Because I am a bit better judge of flash fiction than I am poetry, you’re not going to get judgment from the stats.¬† Here’s some of my favorite flash:

  1. Tears in the Wadi
    This one took a lot of research on my part, way more than any other flash.
  2. Country of Cranes
    My first Carrot Ranch Flash entry, I get some good-feels every time I think about this story.
  3. Stagnation
    A WWI story written for Veterans’ day weekend and the 100th anniversary of the fateful Armistice Day.
  4. Afterbirth
    Fantastically SHORT sci-fi flash.

Short Stories Too

I wrote a few short stories that were unprompted.¬† Here’s a couple I was especially proud of:

  1. Return of the Iron Lung
    Don’t read it if you’re an antivaxxer.
  2. Godkiller in a Bag
    A weird take on some of the themes in the Adam and Eve creation story.
  3. Banana Pudding
    A memoir story that is just one of my favorite things.

And of course… Y’ALL

I’ve made a BUTTLOAD of friends this year.¬† I’m inevitably going to miss someone, and I hope you shame me effusively in the comments.

  1. Joanne the Geek
  2. Liz Hartmann
  3. Sophia Ismaa
  4. Alexander Eliott
  5. Brian from Books of Brian (Not sure he’s still active, but he’s a hoot!)
  6. I assume it’s at least partially a lurker-type of friendship, but I at least feel like I’ve gotten to know the amazing Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch and Colleen Chesebro of Tanka Tuesday fame

Last, but certainly not least, I absolutely must mention Tom Darby.¬† While I’ve technically had this blog for a long time, I only started caring about doing the writing blog thing earlier in 2018 (right about the same time I posted that novel).¬† Mr. Darby was gearing up for his own run at about the same time, and I believe we both hit that ‘why isn’t this going anywhere?’ slump at similar times.¬† I don’t remember which of us found the other’s blog first, and at this point I don’t care.

Without his encouragement and engagement, I assure you I wouldn’t have kept blogging.¬† Sometimes I feel like we’re kindred spirits, though he’s gone through more life experiences (and often rather extreme ones!) than I have.

I’ve mentioned Tom Darby on my blog before, but for real people.¬† For real.¬† If you’re serious about having a writing blog, this guy should be on your list of people you follow.¬† He can be harder to find sometimes because he doesn’t join in the prompt-based writing festivals, but the rate at which he can churn out brand new, western-inspired goodies is just fantastic.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads for the fantastic 2018 (at least online).