books

Reading in 2021

Hello beautiful dreamers,

My content is usually all over the place, however I am making an attempt to add more reading/book related content to my blog posts. Especially considering that I am in the process of making a career out of writing and books, it seems appropriate.

Reading was something I did obsessively as a child/teenager, but slowly fell out of the habit during college. And now, of course, running around after a toddler takes up a lot of my day, so reading doesn’t always fit into my day. However, the daydreams never stop, so I always come back to my books. 

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Posted by katharine_marie in books, life updates, 0 comments

an attempt to read more

hi folks,

First off, this is my 100th post on Elemental Dreamer! I’m so excited that we made it this far! Since I started this particular blog in September of 2018, I have not missed posting for a single month. I have to say that this is my favorite space of all the ones I’ve posted on in my history of blogging and I’m so happy you all are along for the ride. It can only get better, right??

So last week, in my January recap, I went over the books I had read during the month. And, actually, I’m quite proud of myself because it has been a challenge in the last few years to really find the time to read more. I have a massive collection of books but I really don’t read like I want to. i think that’s just about everyone’s complaint, isn’t it?

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Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

Part of what happened, is that I committed to reading on my breaks at work. Since I was pumping, I couldn’t leave or do just anything on my lunch. I actually had to sit down and stay put, so I read. And there are a fair amount of words you can read on a thirty minute break twice a day! But already, in the week and a half that I’ve been staying home, it’s become a lot harder to read like I was. I’ve managed to keep up with my writing, but that’s hard too!

So I’m working on a plan to make the reading a priority in my day to day life now that it looks so different.

The main thing I can think of is that I could read instead of mindlessly watching tv in the evenings. The Husband and I spend some time together once The Princess is in bed, but he also works on his film editing and sometimes I’m trying to scramble and get the last few things done around the house, even though I know I need to take that time to relax.

So I present this question to you all – how do you fit reading into your daily life, if you do at all? 

I love how much more creative my mind is when I read on a regular basis, so it’s something I definitely want to spend more time on.


Love, light, and much kindness. Happy 100 posts, Elemental Dreamers!

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Posted by katharine_marie in Blog Writing, Books & Writing, Life in 2020, Life of a Writer, Setting Goals, 0 comments

A Closer Look – January 2020

Hi wonderful dreamers!

When I made my objectives for 2020, I mentioned a little about how I’m not doing very specific goals this year, but rather working towards certain priorities and intentions, if that makes sense. So, in light of that, I decided not to do monthly goals either. Firstly, because I’m terrible at updating them every month, and secondly, I wanted to do exactly what I’m here to do today. And that is, post an update about January – not necessarily what goals I did or didn’t do, per-se, but just… what happened, I guess?

So. January has felt very long and very short all at the same time. The Husband and I had decided that I would be staying at home with the Tiny Princess for at least a while, and last Friday, the 24th, was my last day at my full time job. So I spent most of January looking ahead to that change, and then this past week has been a lot of figuring out what that change actually looks like. But I’m loving it so far!

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Photo by Jeff Siepman on Unsplash

Here on Elemental Dreamer…

On this blog, we had a variety of content. I talked about the things I’m striving for in 2020 and I rambled about my emotions surrounding quitting my job to be a stay at home mom. I offered a few motivational journal prompts for those rougher days, and then you guys all got to meet me all over again in my updated introduction! I put out a poll asking what kind of blogging content you all prefer – it’s still open if you haven’t voted yet! – and I’m working on using those results appropriately. And then last week, I asked what you would wish for your life to look like in ten years, and offered my own dreams! And now we’re here!

In the Books…

So… surprisingly, I didn’t do half bad on the reading front. I read four books on my Kindle, and started another one that I don’t think I’ll be finishing because the writing is just grating to me.

Country Heaven, by Ava MilesActually a pretty great romance novel, only a little cheesy, and the plot was actually really good!

A Deadly Delivery: A Psychic Cafe Mystery, by April FernsbyIf you couldn’t guess, it’s a mystery story and the main character is a psychic. This one was just okay, not fabulous, but it did keep me entertained the whole way through. Honestly, the psychic aspect of the main character wasn’t that well written, even though she was great otherwise!

Cappucinos, Cupcakes, and a Corpse, by Harper LinYeah, I read several crime novels this month. This one was better than the previous one – no psychics – although parts of it did seem kind of far fetched. I’m just confused – do random civilians go around solving murders all the time, or just in books?

Casino Girl, by Leslie WolfeOkay, fair warning, this is the second book in a series, but I didn’t realize that when I downloaded it and I still very much enjoyed it! Another crime novel, but this time the main character is actually a detective, so much more believable. There were certain aspects that didn’t quite make sense, probably because I didn’t read the first one yet (I’m going to!) but regardless, I was very invested in this story from beginning to end. This is the one I highly recommend out of all the crime novels I read this month!

On the Screen…

I’m woefully behind on the new movies right now – we missed the entire holiday theater selection, but I heard there were some fantastic movies out there! What I did watch, however…

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood was fantastic. Very, very different, though pretty much normal for a Quentin Tarantino movie, and we actually talked about it the next few days.

I’m still loving the Disney Plus content – makes it super easy to pop a movie on for the Tiny Princess if we need to, plus we got to watch the new live action Aladdin all over again!

I’m currently binge/re-watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix so I can watch the new season, Husband and I are working through How I Met Your Mother (a re-watch for me, new laughs for him) and Grey’s Anatomy is back on!

My Own Words…

I didn’t get as much written as I originally wanted to, but I’ve still made progress. I opened my current book project to start editing, and then decided two pages in that it needed a whole rewrite. So that’s what happening there. Beyond that, it’s just been blog posts for you all!

All Other Hobbies…

By the time this post goes up, I’ll have made my first trek out to the farm to ride my horse! If you didn’t already know, you can read about that under that tab up there that says horses. I’m excited to be riding again, even if its miserably cold and wet right now.

Home and Family…

The Tiny Princess CAN roll over now, she just mostly chooses not to. She learned to growl this past month, and also do that shrill scream that annoys me to no end. But besides some really rough teething moments, she’s been doing really well. We even had one incident where she slept the entire night. Hasn’t happened since then, but it gives me hope!

This past week I helped Husband with one of his video projects by providing some voice overs – new territory for me, but I kind of had fun! I even think I would do more of it for him in the future if he needs it. And I just remembered that he reads this… whoops.

Being home now also means I’ve started to really tackle some of the bigger house cleaning, and I love having a more organized space!

2020 Intentions…

The biggest step I made on my ideas for the year was applying to colleges, and even picking one in particular that I really liked! I’m still wading through paperwork, but hopefully that goes through and I can get my acceptance this next month!


Well, that went on ridiculously longer than I anticipated, but hey, it was kind of fun, right?

What did you do in January?

 

Love, light, and kindness for all,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Books & Writing, General, Life in 2020, Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, Setting Goals, 0 comments

10 Years

Hello beautiful dreamers!

I talk a lot about goals and looking forward and trying to focus on the present and all sorts of stuff like that. Usually I try not to look way too far into the future since it kind of stresses me out, but today I’m breaking my own rule because I want to dream a little.

Today I’m playing a little game I like to call: What will my life look like in 10 years?

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I’m really not trying to plan out my life goals for the next ten years. This is just an idea if I pictured what could be possible. I know better than anyone that things don’t go according to plan, but hey, a girl can dream a little, right?

In Ten Years…

We will have a ten year old daughter (sounds crazy now!) and another child as well.

We will have that lovely little place, just a little ways outside of town that’s quiet and convenient and perfect.

I’ll have two reliable riding horses that I can jump, event, or endurance race with.

I’ll be able to work at home doing the writing and editing jobs that I love.

I will finally have my anxiety and depression consistently managed – mentally stability for the win!

I’ll actually have a completed college degree!

The financial security and independence we’re working towards right now will actually be a wonderful reality.

I will be enjoying homeschooling those previously mentioned children and having great adventures doing so.

I hope I’ll still be blogging, if the world hasn’t changed too drastically by that point. Maybe I’ll even still be at this same web address!

And finally, I will have some real finished projects – books, artwork, whatever. Just less half-finished or barely started projects laying around. Ha!


Ten years is a long time, when you think about it. Ten years ago, I had no idea what was in store for me and I had very little idea what I wanted to do with my life. It was a rough journey at times to get to where I am today but my heart is more full than I ever thought possible. Ten years from now, I can only imagine it being even more wonderful.

What do you wish for your life in ten years?


Love, light, and a multitude of kindness,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Creative Writing, Life in 2020, Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, mental health, Setting Goals, 0 comments

Mindful Monday: Duality

Hello beautiful wonderful people!

It’s time for another one of our Mindful Monday posts – a roundup of things I’m currently into, some current goals, and some mini updates on my personal life.

Since the last time we chatted, I’ve done both a lot and practically nothing at all. My house is kind of a mess, but we’ve been doing more activities away from home. I’ve panicked because of how quickly our move is coming up and great progress has been made in prepping for the baby. So it’s’ been mostly good with a little craziness thrown into the mix. Which, now that I think about it, sounds like exactly what I like!

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Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Since Last Time…

The worst thing that’s happened so far has been me getting a lovely little sunburn. Ouch.

My parents wanted to do something for July 4th, so we headed up to Oklahoma for a day trip with my family. I was pleasantly surprised that I managed a couple hours of canoeing on the river without getting too exhausted! It was a lot of fun!

We just got back last night from a weekend in Dallas – kind of a getaway for both of our birthdays (even though his was back in April!) – and it was SO nice to spend two days together, not worrying about anything else. I spent too much money on books, we had maybe a bit too much fun at Medieval Times, and even won a few of our bets while spending half a day at the horse races.

Camp Nanowrimo though… honestly, I’m a little behind at the moment, although not ridiculously so. Having extra days off work and having plans out of town have made it difficult to catch up though. The next week and a half though, our calendar is a lot more open and I hope to keep it that way so that I can continue writing. At least when I do find the time to write, I can get my words in! The story is coming along well!

I am deep in the process of setting up baby registries right now… and it is a simple enough task that somehow makes me realize how much I don’t know or am not prepared for. Yikes. But hey, I can NOT get enough of the adorable baby stuff. So tiny!! Ssqueal!

The house hunting is still very much on – it’s been a real challenge finding something that is in a decent neighborhood while still allowing indoor cats. Our family of five is harder to house than I thought! And I’ve been journaling, but not quite every day. Also a challenge for some reason. Maybe the crazy schedule.

Coming Up Next…
  • Camp Nanowrimo continues!
  • Fort Worth Indie Film Festival is in two weeks – wish us luck!
  • Find that unicorn house to rent.
  • Really work on my daily self-employment routine (I may need to write about this).
  • Packing for that move we have to make next month!
What I’m Reading…

What blog posts caught my eye?

I really needed to read this blog post from Frugal Debt Free Life about small steps towards getting out of debt. Even though all the things on that list are things I already think about and (mostly) implement in my daily life, it was still a great reminder.

I’m starting to pack up stuff around the house and a big thing has been my closet, so this post from The Confused Millenial about capsule wardrobes was a nice read. Right now my wardrobe is very limited because of the baby bump, so just to see the huge amount of clothes that I’m not wearing is a little humbling. I may need to get rid of some stuff!

What book am I currently reading?

My darling husband got me a tablet for my birthday and the first book I downloaded to read was The Tethering, by Megan O’Russell. And so far I’m enjoying it – the writing is very strong and so far the plot is holding up. We’ll see what happens!

What I’m Thinking About…

What issue has been preoccupying my thoughts?

I’ve been thinking about how my cats are going to handle having a baby in the house – my younger kitty in particular. He’s practically a dog behavior-wise and he requires a lot of energy and attention – he is going to be extremely jealous and I worry a bit sometimes about how things are going to play out. (I’m not getting rid of him, it’s just a matter of what we have to do to make the household run smoothly!)

What’s coming up soon for my online platform?

I haven’t been as active online as I was planning to be so far, but slow and steady wins the race. This week specifically I’m working on posting something on social media once a day, no matter what that might be. From there, we’ll see!

What do I really want to buy right now?

I mentioned that The Best Husband Ever got me a tablet for reading and whatever business purposes I might need it for, and I am now obsessed with buying ALL the books. Whoops.


Now it’s your turn! How are things going in your life?? Let me know!

Sending you love and kindness!

Katharine Marie

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My Future as an Author

Hello lovely readers!

July is the month of writing this year, or so it seems. This past week was a little tougher for me mentally – I’d been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the effort I was trying to put into my new business venture plus trying to catch up on my Nanowrimo project after the holiday excitement. Besides that I’m really feeling the pressure of needing to move next month and all the baby prep that still has to be done. So mentally, it’s been a bit of a taxing week.

As I’m writing this, though, it’s Friday and I’m going into a three day weekend, which will give me a little bit of time to relax and catch up on a few things. I’m looking forward to it!

Since I rambled on Monday about the different options I could take with my self-published novel, Rebellion, today I thought I would hit the same subject from a different angle. Do I see, or even want, any kind of future in fiction writing? Do I want to be viewed as an author?

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First off, I’m never going to stop writing fiction. That part I am one hundred percent clear on. I love working on plot lines, discovering a character’s haunted backstory, and all the other fun work that goes into creating an engaging and riveting story. I also have a weird addiction to participating in Nanowrimo, even if I rarely complete it.

But beyond the actual act of writing the story, I think my interest wans quite a bit. I get very attached to my characters and to the worlds that they live in and as such it becomes very difficult to just offer them up to the whims of just anyone.

Publishing is a cruel world too. I self-published Rebellion because I had no interest in even risking rejection from publishing houses or agents. And while there are definitely a lot of things I could have done differently – and better! – at the time, I don’t regret the decisions I made.

Going on five years since I self-published though, I’m realizing that mentally I would now be better equipped to deal with that world. If I really wanted to push forward and try to be an author, I would have the ability to handle whatever that meant for me, unlike the person I was back then.

But the question comes back again… do I want to?

Yes and no.

Technically, the fact that I have work published makes me an author, but it’s not a label or a title I would put on myself. I would much rather do what I’m doing now and pursue a freelance career as a writer or editor. Editing is something I can enjoy doing as a job, trying to finish a novel on a deadline is not. And yes I see the irony of my Nanowrimo participation.

I know myself and I know I would burn out very quickly trying to make it as an author.

That’s not to say I won’t publish anything ever again. I’m still looking at the process of reworking Rebellion and just this spring I finished the rough draft of another novel, Donovan’s Quest, another that I am looking at self-publishing.

I just don’t really care if I do or don’t make money off of the books that I do publish. The process is something that I enjoyed the first time and would enjoy doing again. Just not under deadlines or pressure.

So to answer that question… do I see a future for myself as a fiction author?

Not in a career sense, no. As a fun, creative, hobby? Almost certainly.

And if at least a few people can find some wonder and joy in reading my novels, then that’s all the return I could really ask for.


Have you had a dream that changed as the years went on? What happened?

Love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

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The Future of Rebellion

Hello lovely readers!

I had planned to post this on Friday, but the entirety of last week was a whirlwind. Lots of late nights around the 4th holiday plus some family time out of town during the weekend and a trip to see our midwife to top it all off – it was a fun, but definitely exhausting week.

Suffice to say that Monday morning has me feeling a bit scatterbrained and I’m moving slower than I usually do. But since the post I had drafted for Friday was fairly simple, no point in skipping it. Forever onwards, am I right?!

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July is the second round of Camp Nanowrimo in the world of a writer, so since I’m participating in that, plus working on rolling out my freelancing business, I figured we could talk about writing-related topics this month.

And to start off, I decided to pull something out of the closet that I rarely talk about anymore.

The current and future status of my first and only fully-released novel: Rebellion: Under the Stars.

Yeah, that one. Exactly.

Rebellion was a long-term project that I originally self-published through Amazon in December of 2014. It had an okay-ish start and I made a little bit of money, but I never ever followed through on the marketing, distribution options, or anything really. So, naturally, it kind of fell off the face of the earth. All fine and dandy, I guess.

Except that I’m not really thrilled by the fact that I have a novel sitting out there and doing absolutely nothing. That’s not really super exciting or encouraging, is it?

So the question becomes… what can I do about it?

There are several options, of course.

  1. I could remove it completely from Amazon and forget the book ever existed.
  2. I could go through, make some edits and changes to improve things and republish.
  3. I could just plain market the book and see if it sells.
  4. I could leave it alone and just let it go.

Option 1 isn’t really something I want to do. I’m no longer particularly interested in becoming a full time author, but I also like having some of my fiction available.

Option 4 is exactly the thing that has been bugging me all along – it’s sitting there, not doing anything, and not going anywhere.

Option 3 might work if I had the platform or even the time and energy to make it happen. But in reality that is definitely not the case. I haven’t done it by this point so what would change?

Option 2 is a lot of work as well, but it also has the most promise. I mean, my writing has improved a LOT in the last five years and I can list off at least four or five different plot issues in Rebellion just by thinking about it – I haven’t read it in a couple years either.

But even if I were to take it off the market, make the changes needed, and then republish, I’m still looking at the same amount of effort towards marketing and distribution. So, again, the same time and energy would come into play.

So… an expanded version of that option would be to outsource some of that work. Obviously I would still make the actual edits and changes to the book, but it would be totally possible to hand over the work of publishing and marketing over to someone else.

Honestly, I don’t entirely know how that would work. Looks like I would need to do some research. But if I could sort that out, and if I start making enough money from my freelancing work, it would likely be a very feasible option.

Re-publishing would take a good bit of time and for the moment I’m not entirely sure when I will be able to make it happen. Likely sometime next year at the soonest.

So where does that leave me for the time being?

Well. I definitely need to read through the entire book again and determine how much change would actually need to be made.

And of course I’ll need to do that previously mentioned research about outsourcing the publication/marketing/distribution aspect.

Lastly, I think it would be a very reasonable idea to get a few opinions on what I could do to make the book better. Which means seeking out some test readers at some point to get feedback. That could get pretty interesting.

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Rebellion was definitely a labor of love the first time, but there are a lot of things I would do differently if I could go back and republish it. But short of going back in time, this seems to be the next best thing. It was my first fully completed project and it was (and is!) very special to me.

So that my “plan” going forward… work towards republishing my first ever novel. If I had to make a goal about it, I would tentatively say that by this time next year I hope to actually be finishing up with the new edits and moving towards reformatting for the re-release. But who knows! (insert major shrug here)


Have you ever gone back and reworked an older project? How did it turn out?

Love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

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July 2019 Goals

Hello lovely folks!

Summer is definitely upon us. I just checked my phone and the forecast is a weird mix of super heavy thunderstorms and 100 degree days. It’s awesome. Although the rain is okay, there has been a lot of major flooding in Texas and Oklahoma so maybe now would be a good time to stop dumping water on our heads, okay? At least, that’s my point of view!

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June seemed like a bit of everything thrown all together. The show I was planning to work on was cancelled sadly, although maybe for the best since I haven’t been feeling all that great again lately. Writing-wise though, it’s been super great!

I covered a lot more in my Quarter Two review post, so you can read that if you feel like it, and I updated my June goals post so you can see how I did on those!

So… what do we have planned for July?!


Goals for July 2019
  • Find and set up our new lease – moving in August!
  • Finish paying off the midwife.
  • Stay on budget as much as possible – moving and babies are expensive!
  • Keep working on my communication – this has been a big topic at home lately.
  • Earn X amount with my brand new freelance writing business!
  • 10 blog posts here on Elemental Dreamer.
  • Complete and win Camp Nanowrimo.
  • Read two books.
  • Play the piano several evenings during the week.
  • Write several cards that are long overdue to be sent.
  • Set up our baby registry.
  • Celebrate a birthday by going out of town for a weekend.
  • Attend the Fort Worth Indie Film Festival!
  • Spend the holiday weekend with my family.
  • Daily things like journaling, taking my vitamins and stretching.

The heat is really tough to deal with at 7 months pregnant so I’ll be spending time in the air conditioning as much as I can. Definitely looking forward to a great month though!

What do you have planned for July?

Love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

 

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Mindful Monday: Push

Hello gorgeous folks! It’s a Monday again!

My weekend ran away with me and I can’t say I’m super thrilled about it being Monday again. I just wanted to stay in bed this morning and sleep all day. But I still have a job – which I actually really like! – that wants me there on time every day, so I couldn’t be that lazy. So far, work has been straightforward and nothing has gone wrong, so it can only get better, right? Hopefully your Monday has been a bit more positive than mine!

Over the last week/ten days, it’s just been like an emotional rollercoaster in my head, and not the nice, easy kind. It’s kind of obvious that it’s a pregnancy hormone thing, but still it makes my day more than a bit annoying at times. Yesterday I got woken up very suddenly from a nap and it made me extremely grumpy and snippy, something that really doesn’t happen very often for me. During the middle of last week I also had a depressive episode, but it was shorter than most of mine and only lasted for about two days before I was back to normal. And from everything so far today it feels like I might have another one coming on. Without any obvious triggers, I’m just going to go ahead and blame it all on hormones for right now. My poor husband though – I feel really bad for him.


This Week..

  • I’m finally seeing my chiropractor again!
  • An actual grocery shopping trip.
  • Writing more consistently, especially on my Nano project.
  • Several subjects that I need to do more research on.
  • Do something else in the evenings besides playing games on my phone or watching tv. It’s a bad habit, especially when I’m already feeling emotional.

What I’m Reading…

Even though I started this book quite a while ago, I’m only now picking it back up to read. Dean Koontz is one of my favorite, more modern authors, and I just adore his writing style. I very quickly got sucked back into the story and I’m really excited to find out how the story ends!

Parenting might not be a subject I write about on this blog, but now that I’m going to be actually doing it myself in several months, I find different philosophies rather interesting. I read this blog post today and found it very insightful. I might be a ways off from the toddler stage, but having good solid ideas in mind from the very start is, at least in my opinion, a much better place to be.

Although I doubt I’ll ever be able to get myself all the way over to the extreme side of it, I do love me some hard-core minimalism. And when this post from Happy Grey Lucky popped up on my blog reader this morning, it inspired probably a bazillion new home décor ideas in my head. Even though I would love to see something on the wall above the bed (something super simple like maybe an abstract or simplistic piece of art, particularly if it was nature-inspired), I love love LOVE the way the author used that books display shelf to add some color to the room. Between that and the natural light – I could fall asleep in this room in a heartbeat!


What are you up to this week?!

Love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

 

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