December 2018 [Goals]

2018 December Goals | Creative Writing | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’m just plugging along on my reading list. I’ll still be uploading a book review every Saturday. Honestly, I have no idea where I am in my Goodreads goal because I’ve gotten so behind keeping track of that. So, aside from reading, my goal this month is to catch up on my Goodreads and get that updated.

Writing

December is all about playing catch up. I’ve gotten behind on some writing projects and I’d like to get my head on straight with them. Though there will be a separate blog post about my writing soon.

Blogging

Again, more catch up. Well, I guess not catch up per say… there’s a lot I need to do for 2019 for the blog and something extra. So, I guess more getting my head on straight. I want to finish my December posts and get a head start on January. Plus, there’s something else that will be coming in 2019 though I don’t know when yet. I’m hoping January or February.

What are your plans for December and the end of the year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Blog Party! [December 2018]

Blog Party December 2018 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Blog Hop | Link Party | RachelPoli.com

It’s December! I’ve decided to throw another blog party for a few reasons:

  • It’s been three months since the last blog party
  • Winter is setting in
  • A new year is coming which means new beginnings and connections – let’s spread the love!

In the comments below…

  • Introduce yourself and your blog name.
  • Share one thing you love to do in the winter.
  • Link to one (1) blog post of yours – this can be your latest post, your favorite one, most popular, whatever. Just link to one and people can explore the rest of your blog from there.

After you comment…

  • Please be sure to check out blog posts from others. This is a way for all us to gain more exposure and meet new people. Please don’t just drop your link below and leave. Share the kindness and check out some other blogs.
  • Also, please feel free to respond to people in the comments and start conversations. Also, check back on the post periodically to see if anyone has responded to your own comment.
  • Share this post around especially if you know any blogging friends who could use more exposure – the more the merrier!

I’ll do my best to check out each and every one of your blogs for the day. Of course, while I’ll leave the comments open, I most likely won’t be checking blogs after this day is over (due to time and other obligations). So get them in now!

Remember… one blog post and check out other blogs from people you don’t know. This is all about connecting.

Have fun!

Happy connecting! Please share this post around for a chance for others to connect.

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Short Story Sunday 241: Surprise

Short Story: Surprise | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

“Surprise!” Evelyn jumped out from behind the couch. Her friend leaped backward in shock, his hand over his chest. He nearly ran back out the front door in fright. Evelyn laughed as she walked around to the other side of the couch to meet him.

“What was that for?” Logan asked glaring at her. His hand was still clutching his chest and heaving up and down. He slowly walked further into the living room eyeing her cautiously.

Evelyn was still laughing. She walked past him and closed the front door. “It’s a surprise, Logan. Laugh.”

“A surprise for what?” he asked.

Evelyn folded her arms over her chest. She looked at Logan with a huff though she was still smirking. Logan raised an eyebrow. Was he forgetting something? He must have been forgetting something.

“Well, you’re surprising me so I know it’s not your birthday.” Logan said.

Evelyn scoffed rolling her eyes. Yet the smile never left her lips.

“I know it’s not my birthday. My birthday isn’t for another couple of months and no one really cares about my birthday anyway, so…”

“What are you talking about? You’re going to be 30 on your next birthday!” Evelyn commented defensively.

“Exactly my point.” Logan grunted.

Evelyn dropped her arms back down by her and turned to walk away. “Alright, old man. You think what you want.”

“Where are you going?” Logan stretched out an arm to stop her, but she didn’t see him. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to follow her or not.

“I’m hungry,” she called from the other room.

Logan drew in a breath and then jogged into the kitchen. He had thought maybe she made him a cake or something for whatever they were celebrating. But she wasn’t being very open about it. Maybe she was just saying that to trick him again? Maybe he’d enter the kitchen and sure enough there would be a cake in the middle of the table saying, “Happy…” Well, happy whatever.

“I’m coming into the kitchen…” Logan warned.

“Go for it,”

He sighed. She was taking the fun out of everything. He walked into the kitchen but there was no cake. Evelyn was making herself a sandwich.

“Wait, so what’s the occasion? I didn’t get a promotion at work or anything… you and I aren’t together so I know it’s not our anniversary.” He gasped. “Wait, is it our anniversary from when we became roommates?”

Evelyn giggled slathering on the last bit of mayo onto her sandwich. “No, no, and no. You’re totally off, Logan.”

Logan folded his hands and leaned against the wall deep in thought.

Evelyn turned around and took a bite of her sandwich. They stood in silence and when she swallowed, she grinned again. “You’re really going crazy about this, aren’t you?”

Logan nodded. “Of course I am! You nearly gave me a heart attack when I entered the room. Why can’t you just tell me what’s going on?”

Evelyn shook her head. “Well, where’s the fun in that? I can’t believe you don’t even remember what it is anyway.”

Logan scratched the top of his head ruffling his brown hair. “I really… I really just have no idea…”

Evelyn put down her sandwich and walked over to Logan. She wrapped him up in a hug, Logan being as confused as ever, she pulled away and patted him on the shoulder.

“Oh, you’re so much fun.”

“What?” Logan asked as she walked back over to her sandwich.

“I just wanted to spook you coming through the door, but you really took it seriously so I wanted to string you along a bit.” Evelyn replied.

Logan narrowed his eyes puzzled. “So… you surprised me just to scare me?”

“Yes,”

“And there’s no occasion? Nothing I forgot?”

“Nope, it’s a normal day.”

Logan sighed. “I hate you.” He turned around walking out of the room.

“Oh, by the way,” Evelyn called after him. “Call your mom, it’s her birthday today.”

Logan paused. He waved a hand acknowledging her comment. His mother’s birthday… that was something he had forgotten.

Words: 681

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Even Salt Looks Like Sugar By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Novella | Fiction | ARC | Book Blog | RachelPoli.com

I received an ARC from the author.

Summary:

Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt that Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI love the cover to this one. The title is the main focus and the color choices work well together.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI’ve read a lot from this author so I was eager to give this one a read when it came out.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This novella faces some tough dilemmas. Wanda is in a foster home with Miss Cassaundra as her foster mother. Miss Cassaundra is only in it for the money taking more and more children in. Wanda takes a young girl, Abby, under her wing and devises a plan to free them both.

A lot happens in these short 60 pages but there is a clear beginning, middle, and end of the plot. It was well done and the plot was engaging and interesting.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are well done. I loved the dynamic between Wanda and everyone else in her life – Abby, her best friend Rose, and even Miss Cassaundra. While I’d like to know more about them, I think there was a good amount of information about them for the story. Still, I definitely want to know more about Miss Cassaundra’s story.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This was certainly a quick read at 60 pages. Despite the length, it was easy to read this in one sitting. I sometimes get tripped up by the voices used for the characters, but it’s authentic and diverse so it’s certainly not a complaint.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was another great read from this author. I’ll be looking forward to her next one.

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“You may not have a mama. But you smart. You can do anything you want.” -Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Picture Prompt 23 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a general prompt. Check out these pieces from our fellow writers:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Creative writing | writing prompt | picture prompt | blogging | flash fiction | short story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based on the picture above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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November 2018 [Wrap Up]

2018 November Wrap Up | Blogging | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I feel like I’ve been in such a reading slump for a while now though I haven’t missed a book review. This month, I started catching up with a series that got me into reading in the first place and now I want to read all the books in the world, which is a great feeling. With that said, I’ve read and reviewed four books for this month. You can check them out on my Reading List.

Writing

NaNoWriMo was successful! I wrote 50,000 words of Short Story Sundays for 2019 plus editing and revising of some other projects. It felt good to get all that writing done. I feel like I haven’t written like that since the last NaNo session. So, that was great.

Blogging

December posts as well as new and updated ideas for 2019 are a-go! I’m excited and it’s been taking up the majority of my time (my poor writing!) but hopefully it’ll all work out and you guys will like it. I’m looking forward to the new year!

Posts to Remember

1. Meet Annette Rochelle Aben, Author
2. November & December 2018 Writing Submissions
3. My Writing Space

How did November treat you? Are you looking forward to November? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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NaNoWriMo 2018 Wrap Up

NaNoWriMo 2018 Wrap Up | Creative Writing | Blogging | NaNo 2018 | RachelPoli.com

Usually when I do these updates for NaNoWriMo I’ll list my daily word counts. Except I don’t have any word counts for this past week.

Well, that’s kind of a lie… I was determined to reach 50,000 words by Thanksgiving and I did exactly that. On day 21 I wrote 3,802 words and on day 22 I binged writing in the morning and wrote 3,952 words which gave me a grand total of…

50,121 words!

I haven’t written anything since. Thanksgiving was busy and then I went away for the weekend. I didn’t write at all the past couple of days because I was catching up with other work.

According to NaNo, my lengthiest novel was from 2016 at 52,000 and change. I’d love to beat that which means I’d have to write another 3,000 words or so by Friday.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to do so. Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas festivities haven’t quite set in, yet this week has been kind of busy. So, we’ll see what happens. I’m not going to validate my win on NaNo just in case.

Short Story Sunday 2019

Thanks to NaNo, I’ve written 52 shorts for my Short Story Sunday in 2019. So, that’s great! It’ll save me a lot of time next year. Some of the stories are certainly better than others, but I’ll edit and proofread them before they go live and it’ll all be good. Hopefully.

Overall, NaNo went well for me this year. I’m pleased with the work that I got done. I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over for another year though!

How did you do with NaNo this year? If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How To Guard Your Writing Time [Guest Post]

Today’s blog post is written by Ari Meghlen. Thanks, Ari!

How To Guard Your Writing Time | Guest Post by Ari Meghlen | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Firstly, thanks so much to Rachel for inviting me onto her awesome blog and share my thoughts with all her readers.

Unless you’re a full-time writer, you will have to carve out time for your writing throughout a million and one other tasks from errands, to chores, to a job etc.

So, you need to guard your writing time and here are some simple tips to start you off:

Set a Commitment

Give yourself a commitment.  Whether that’s a daily word count, a monthly scene quota or just a single deadline to complete the first draft.  Write it down.  Put it somewhere you can see it every day when you sit down to write.  Add in a reward for yourself for when you reach that commitment.

Decide the Outcome

Knowing what you want to have done when you sit down to write will reduce delays.  If you’re a plotter, keep your outline close and know what part you want to be writing that day.  If you’re a pantser, decide what you want to be writing – a chapter, a scene etc.

This will save you wasting time sitting before a blank screen wondering what you should write.  The point is to use as much of your writing time actually writing.

Don’t Answer the Phone

If you are not waiting for a specific call, and it’s not an emergency, don’t answer the phone.  If you are able, put your mobile phone on silent during the time of your writing.  You can always ring people back after your writing session.

Turn your phone face down, so that you don’t see it lighting up when you get a text or a call.

Limit your Email Checks

Pick a time for checking your emails and then shut them down and stay out of the Inbox.  Like the calls, unless you are expecting an important email, keep yourself logged out during your writing time.  Emails can wait.

You can even set up an automatic out of office message to bounce to anyone who emails you, letting them know when you will be responding.

Time is Money

When you work a job, you give up time in exchange for money.  Considering your time in terms of money, can really help you to give it its due priority.  It can also help you protect it more effectively and be more likely to say no to unwanted distractions and interruptions.

Let go of Perfection

If you are writing your first draft, don’t aim for perfection right off the bat.  Just get it written.  In the past I got caught up in a cycle of writing and editing.  What happened?  I struggled to get anything finished.  I would get stressed and bounce to a new story.

When I decided to push through and actually stop editing as I was writing my first drafts, (which was really hard) I started to finish things.  This was a great boost as it made me write more in each sitting.

Remember that no one cares as much about your writing time as you do.  Just a few small steps can help you set aside time for your writing and protect that time.

About Ari

Ari Meghlen | Guest Post | How To Guard Your Writing Time | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comAri is a writer of both traditional fantasy and preternatural urban fantasy.  She also blogs about writing and runs the Twitter Writing Game #TheMerryWriter with Rachel :)

When not deep in her worlds full of scheming monsters, vengeful demons or lost souls, Ari spends her time reading, making jewellery, playing boardgames (not very well) and wandering aimlessly about in nature.

Most days she is surrounded by her noisy cats and an ever-growing pile of books though she also enjoys watching really bad movies with her boyfriend.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook Author Page

Be sure to let Ari know in the comments below what you thought of her post! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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5 Quotes By Robert Frost

Robert Frost Quotes | 5 Quotes by Robert Frost | Quotes | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

1. “In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on.”

2. “We love the things we love for what they are.”

3. “Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

4. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

5. “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

What’s your favorite one? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 240: Test

Short Story: "Test" | creative writing | writing prompt | flash fiction | blogging | RachelPoli.com

“Are you ready for today’s test?” Lauren asked with a wide grin.

Avery raised an eyebrow at her friend. She seemed to be a little too excited for this test. Avery knew Lauren since they were very young, they went to kindergarten together and had been best friends ever since. That’s how Avery knew when Lauren was being serious or not. She could see right through her friend.

Right now, Lauren was not being sarcastic. For some reason, she was actually excited for this test. Who would be excited for a test? Maybe Lauren woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something.

“You don’t look excited.” Lauren frowned.

“Why would I be? It’s a test.” Avery replied. She stepped in front of Lauren and took the lead as they headed toward the front doors of the testing building.

“Yeah, but this is going to be a cool test.” Lauren replied. She began to skip beside Avery.

“This test is going to decide our future.” Avery said nervously.

Lauren sighed. “No, Avery, it’s not. It’s just going to show us where we place and it’ll be easier for us to choose our college, that’s all.”

“Right, exactly. I’m not going to be able to go to college when this thing is done.”

Lauren stopped walking and grabbed Avery’s arm forcing her to stop. She pulled her friend to the side of the walkway so other people could pass.

“What are you talking about?” she asked. “You’re an A-and-B student. I’ve never seen you get lower than a B-plus.”

Avery sighed. “That’s all thanks to homework, class work, and extra credit. But the tests? I fail those.”

Lauren titled her head to the side like a confused puppy. “You do?”

“I don’t test well.”

“Oh. Why didn’t you say something? I would have studied with you.”

“It doesn’t matter how much I study. I know the material in and out. But I panic when I take tests. I freeze up and I just want to get the test done and over with as quickly as possible. People think I do so well because I have great grades and I finish the tests so quickly, but it’s actually just because I end up putting down random answers. I’ll know them, but I just zip right through them and it hurts my grade.” Avery explained. She stared at the ground somberly.

“Well, you would never know that your grades suffer from the tests.” Lauren chuckled trying to lighten things up a bit, but Avery didn’t crack a smile.

Lauren sighed. “Maybe you can talk to one of the proctors about it. Maybe you can go in a separate room and take the test alone? Maybe you won’t feel as overwhelmed.”

“I’ve tried that at school before. It just made me feel singled out.” Avery replied.

“Ah, true.” Lauren nodded.

“The doors will be closing in two minutes! Last warning! Two minutes!” a woman shouted by the front door. Students who were lingering about began to run toward the door.

Lauren grabbed Avery’s hand. “We have to go.” They broke into a run. “I know it’s hard, but try not to read too deep into it. We have three hours for the test, just take it one question at a time. Pretend the test is only the one question as you go through it all.”

Avery nodded but she didn’t know how any of this advice was going to help her.

They made it to the front doors. Due to the alphabetical order of their last names, they were going to have to part ways. Lauren squeezed Avery’s hand. “In fact, don’t even think at all. Be confident. You ace the homework and class work. A test is no different. Good luck!”

Avery was reluctant to let go of Lauren’s hand, but Lauren forced it as she went in a different direction. She waved even though Lauren was far away.

“Good luck.” Avery muttered to herself. Though she knew Lauren was going to be fine. She was smart and confident, while Avery only had half of that.

Avery knew she over thought things, but she couldn’t help it. This test was going to decide where she could be placed in college. Sure, she could go to an advisor and show them her real grades. Still, it wouldn’t help her when she had to take a test in her college classes. High school was easier in that since on account they weren’t preparing you for your career.

“Excuse me, are you registered yet?” a woman asked Avery.

She was snapped out of her thoughts and realized the lobby was just about empty.

“The tests are going to start in about five minutes.”

Avery swallowed a lump in her throat. “Yes, I’m sorry. I got lost in thought.”

The woman smiled and placed a reassuring hand on Avery’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine. Between you and me, these kinds of tests are so easy it’s pretty difficult to fail.”

Avery cracked a small smile. She wasn’t sure if that would help her at all, but she appreciated it. She took a deep breath and entered the classroom.

Words: 862

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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