Thursday, June 27, 2024

Nessa's Notebook - Call Me ...

 ... Ishmael, just don't call me late for dinner.

Yes, I did a mashup of a classic opening line and an old dad joke. That's how my mind works.

Something New

I've been listening to a Baroque playlist on Spotify. There are many to choose from there and on YouTube. One of the things I really like about the Spotify playlists is that they are hours long. The one I link above plays for 24 hours. I can really sink into the music without being aware of it.

And science says it's good for your brain.


I let myself get distracted on Thursday with the rabbit hole of 'research.' I wrote one sentence but that's okay. One sentence is my goal and I did it.

Friday, I wrote 8,898 words and finished my short story for an upcoming Winter FCRW Anthology.

What was the difference between the days? Friday, I put the writing first and once I started, I didn't want to stop. The starting always stopped me.


I've been setting my little kitchen timer for 30 minutes. When it buzzes, I get up and walk around. Occasionally, I take a little brain break and do something menial, like the dishes or the laundry.

Links You Should Checkout

First Coast Romance Writers is a great group for aspiring writers and published authors. You don't have to live in Florida to participate in meetings and workshops and they have mentoring programs.

344 Words You Can Spell On a Calculator Does anyone still have calculators? Will these work on a phone calculator?

Shady Characters is all about written marks, punctuation, emojis, etc.

I love to crochet. This Book Worm Pattern is adorable.

Then there's the ultimate SQUIRREL moment, as in squirrel spas.

Any wonder I can't get any writing done.

I'm Reading

The Ever King by LJ Andrews

The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin

Broken Protector (Gentle Sinners Book 1) by Amber Warden

The Counting

Beginning 20240611:

Fighting Fate (Novel Writing)
Day 00 ... 3,037 words. To date 30,822 words.

Short Stories (Completed)
Catch As Catch Can ... April ... 12,789 words.
Whisper Down the Lane ... June ... 3,567 words.
Love Under the Cold Moon … 14,387 words.
Rolling Around My Head … June … 4,569 words.

Short Stories (WiP)
Despair is in the Air
Day 01 ... 109 words. ... To date ... 109 words.
Fiction for June…………………….….… 22,313
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 65,924
2024 Novellas to Date ……………...….. 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 4
Novels Published .............……………… 2
Novellas Published ..............…………… 0
Short Stories Published ………............... 1
Short Story Collections Published …...… 0

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Nessa's Notebook - A New Start. (Yes, Another One)

 I'm allowed. I can have as many as I want. As many as it takes to get me where I want to go. Every day is a new start. Every first step. I will keep at it until I'm in the habit of putting my writing first.

Something New

I bought a new Tarot deck, The Wheel of Change Tarot by Alexandra Genetti. I had to find it on Etsy at if you like the look of it. It's very pretty and speaks to the subconscious mind. 

Today's card: The Hermit, reversed

The Hermit is quite appropriate at this time as I've decided to renew my spiritual practices, which have always been very private and solitary. I need to reconnect with the core of who I am and what I need and want without the influence of others. 


I've been stuck for weeks, months. Unable to bring myself to write any fiction. I've been looking for the perfect system to make it all make sense. Outlining. Plotting. Planning. Sheets and forms and lists. Programs. Tools. Syste,s. Oh, my.

Yesterday, I gave myself permission to just write. I finished a 4k short story. Today, my only goal was to write a sentence. I wrote 1,473 words with trying. I'm satisfied. More than satisfied. I might even be giddy.


A little over two hours at the pool with The Boy. A solid hour of movement and another of fun. At some point the aches will lessen, right?

The pool in our complex is wonderful. Always clean. Always welcoming. Always allowing me to move all my joints, even my bad left knee and my sore right hip, without pain. It's a true joy.

Links You Should Checkout

I found these places over the weekend and I credit them with getting me writing again and without fear or guilt. They talk about the way I instinctually write.

Harvey Stanbrough has written over 85 novels, 9 novellas, and 250 short stories in just over 8 years. That's lots. Check him out. He has loads of free resources writers and he's so nice.

I started the Ray Bradbury Challenge again, only this time I'll have company. I did 17 short stories in a row the last I did this. Anyone can join, any time. Got my first one under my belt. "Whispering Down the Lane" will be in my first short story collection which will be out by the end of this month.

This fantastic article is packed with information, How to Write a Great Blurb (Warning: Giganormous Post)

I'm Reading

Writing Into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith, another prolific writer and Heinlein devotee. "Trust the Process" and "Write one sentence. Then write the next sentence." You can see a YouTube Videoabout a talk he gave on this subject at a 20Books conference.

The Ever King by LJ Andrews. It's super popular. Amazon has over 13k reviews and Tik Tok rated it Best of BookTok. 

The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin written in 1899.

These words don't count.

The Counting

I count everything, the stairs up and don to the apartment each time I traverse them even though I know the fist set has 17 steps and each of the next two have nine. Never changes but I count them every time. I count the laps I swim in the pool even though I know I will swim them for 30 minutes. I count out the time. Just looked it up. Of course it has a name: arithmomania. I don't have good or bad feelings related to counting, I just do it. 

Anywho, I stole this idea from Harvey Stanbrough, see above. I'm not going to count all my words, only those related to my fiction writing. I'm going to see how many I write in these last seven months of 2024, then set a goal for a yearly word count.

Beginning 20240611:

Fighting Fate (Novel Writing)
Day 00 ... 3,037 words. To date 30,822 words.

Short Stories (Completed)
Catch As Catch Can ... April ... 12,789 words.
Whisper Down the Lane ... June ... 3,567 words.

Short Stories (Writing June)

Love Under the Cold Moon

Day 01 ... 469 words. ... To date ... 469 words.

Day 02 ... 1,473 words ... To date ... 1,942 words.

Fiction for June…………………….….… 5,509
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 21,865

2024 Novellas to Date ……………...….. 0

2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 2
Novels Published .............……………… 2
Novellas Published ..............…………… 0
Short Stories Published ………............... 1
Short Story Collections Published …...… 0

That's enough for now.

Monday, June 03, 2024

Mystery Monday - The Caesar Cipher

 I'm writing a short story for this year's Winter Anthology sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers (FCRW) group. The anthology is called For the Love of Winter and will feature love stories set during all of the Winter Holidays.

My story is called Love Under the Cold Moon. It's set in the year 194 in the Alps, on the border between Raetia and Noricum in a mountain valley. More later as we get closer to the release date.

The Roman Emporer at this point in history was Septimus Severus, the survivor of the Year of the Five Emperors. This was the year after Commodus was assasinated.

So, the first puzzle will be a quote by Septimus Severus turned into a puzzle using the Caesar cipher.

Can you decipher these words of wisdom?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Riddle Me This, Batman

The word riddle was first recorded before 1000 AD in Middle English. Close to the Old English rede, meaning story. A puzzling question stated in such a way as to require a clever answer.

The oldest recorded riddle is actually a mathematical problem written in cuneiform from around 1650 BCE, called the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus

Rhind Mathematical Papyrus : 
detail (recto, left part of the first section 

To see the answers, highlight the space between the asterisks.

Usually written as follows:

There are seven houses;
In each house there are seven cats;
Each cat catches seven mice;
Each mouse would have eaten seven ears of corn;
If sown, each ear of corn would have produced seven hekat of grain.
How many things are mentioned altogether?

The usual answer: ***   one (1)   ***

Other answer(s) are a bit disappointing.

The most famous old (470 BCE) riddle is The Riddle of the Spinx from the myth of Oedipus.

The riddle: “What being has four legs, then two, and then three?” 

The answer: ***   “Man, who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two legs, and finally needs a cane in old age.”   ***

Check out the medieval riddles located HERE and HERE.

The ever-prolific Voltaire wrote this riddle:

"What, of all things in the world, is the longest and the shortest, the swiftest and the slowest, the most neglected and the most regretted, without which nothing can be done, which devours all that is little and ennobles all that is great?"

The answer: ***   Time   ***

My attempt at riddle writing:

Born earthbound and starving, I sleep in my shroud and hatch to soar less than a lunar cycle.

The answer: ***   a butterfly   ***

Friday, May 03, 2024

Romancing the Tropics Volume 2 - Ready for Pre-Order


These five short tropical romances, spanning from 1901 to the present day, will
put you in the mood for sunshine and love. This collection offers sweet to edgy stories
perfect for lazing on the beach or poolside.

Join these couples as they defy the conventions and expectations of their worlds
to embrace love’s fullest connection with their happily ever after waiting to be