Day What of Quaran-time?

Hey there folks, how you holding up? Are you keeping busy during your quaran-time, that’s what I’m calling this, Quaran-time.

***Note: I wrote this this past weekend. I’ve actually written a couple different post drafts but it seems I just can’t get back to them. So hopefully these next couple days I’ll get to that backlog. That said, this is a little long (which one isn’t Elpy?! Lol) but it’s heart felt, little tear jerking, and small taste of my most recent reality.

I really don’t know what “day” this is, day 12, eight, 42? I’ll figure it out for the next post but I like not knowing right now.

Last week was kind of a tough week. Okay no it was a tough week. My emotions were certainly on the low end of the spectrum. As I think I’ve mentioned before, my anxiety causes me to worry a lot, A LOT. Coming in to this whole debacle I’ve really been trying to manage my anxiety and not worry as much. I’d say I’ve had some success thus far. I’m constantly telling myself NOT to worry. So when the world flipped upside down and required me to WORRY MORE I can’t say it didn’t piss me off. Worry more? You want me to worry more? Wash or sanitize my hands ALL THE TIME?


Cases are exploding in my state. The rational part of me knows this is because they’ve dramatically increased testing. In the beginning they were only running tests out of a state run lab and I think their capacity was about 100 or so a day. Then they allowed testing at other labs as well as hospitals. We went from about 80 cases to over 300 in 24 hours. Now we’re over 17k. Again, I know this virus has been around a lot longer than we’ve been reacting to it, that loads more people have it than we even know. There should be no surprise surrounding these numbers. But that does not change the rational fear that this is happening at all. That does not change that these numbers are shocking. Here in the United States, I think we thought we were invincible.

While my emotions rolled down the hill, the news came in that we might be looking at 100k deaths, and that’s not the worst case. I will explain quickly that I’m choosing not to report the whole statistic. This is not because I want to paint a rosier picture or downplay the situation. I believe in dealing with facts but I know you’re not here reading this because you’re looking for coronavirus facts and statistics. I’m spooked and I don’t want to zero in on all that right now. As much as the facts freak me out I make a point to listen and read to stay up to date. This post is just catching you up and sharing my experience.

Hearing those statistics made me vulnerable to a little bit of a breakdown. Nothing serious, just some real crying and strong anxiety about what 100k deaths could look like. Me and my emotions hit a rock at the bottom of the hill and flew over the handlebars! How close will this come to the circles in my life?


The following morning, after waking up throughout the night, I got up and … looked at Facebook. I don’t think this is a healthy practice, going straight to social media like that but on that day I’m glad I did even if the news was devastating. I found out that the veterinarian, Dr. Peter Sakas, who I’d been taking my birds to for about 12 years had passed away, had been killed by the virus. I could not believe what I was reading. There he was, smiling in all the posted photos, this person I didn’t know well but trusted as an important part of “my team”. I trusted him implicitly with my two birds. If I had to drive hours to bring them to him so be it. Dr. Sakas knew his shit, and every one of us who knew him knows that.

Let me take a second to tell you I have two parrots. An almost 24 year old African Gray Parrot and an 18 year old Umbrella Cockatoo, both males. You already probably know I love birds but it breaks my heart to have them in cages. However the reality is this, they are not meant to be captive and yet as captives I have to keep them safe. In my case that means keeping them in cages. I do not condone the breeding of captive parrots for the pet trade, particularly medium to large birds. They belong free. Given that these creatures should spend hours a day flying from roost to feeding locations back to roost, preening their flock-mates, vocalizing to and between each other, watching for predators, creating nest cavities, and raising their young among so many other things, they are not well suited to life indoors. As such they are high maintenance, in my humble opinion.

This is not to say that parrots can’t live happy lives with their human companions. I’m not poo-pooing on all the parrot households out there like life with a bird in the house is just hard but it’s not without it’s challenges. They are rewarding companions, certainly unlike any other pet, but I would say they require more specialized care. And I know a lot of bird owners that would agree.

What’s my point? Not just any veterinarian is suited to care for a bird. A lot will say they see birds, but being willing to see them and being a specialist are two different things. I know a couple other vets who aren’t specialists and don’t seem to see a lot of birds but they can provide the basic care for sure. Just had to take my Gray in because he was sneezing a lot. They did what’s called a gram stain, swab his choana (let’s just call it throat) and cloaca (the rear end cavity for “urine” and feces, like in reptiles and amphibians as well). We mammals on the other hand tend to have separate mechanisms for the different types of waste. He does have a bit of an infection in his choana and is now on antibiotics. This particular woman veterinarian is very nice and knowledgeable. She does a good job for sure. My hat is off to her for the care she provides, her desire to learn more and especially for her to keep going to work. Veterinarians are on the front lines as well, let’s not forget that. And so it is with all due respect that I say no one is a stand in for Dr. Sakas. He was still my go to, and if things got serious, we got in the car.


So taking my birds to the vet is a little nerve wracking for me unless it’s pretty basic. I knew though that Dr. Sakas was an expert. Who knows how many birds were under his care. I’ve never been in one place and seen that many birds outside of a show or rescue. I can tell you that there are people who rescue birds who took all their birds to him, wild or pet. I can tell you I heard a story that a man drove hours in a Corvette to bring a turkey in to see him. It meant everything to me to know when I took my birds to see him I was taking them to a an expert. I was doing the best I could for them putting them in the hands of a man who knew and loved what he was doing. Dr. Sakas said he never worked a day in his life because he loved what he did so he didn’t see it as work. But work work work he did.

Please know as you read this that nothing I say is meant as a slight at any other doctor. I’m very comfortable visiting my local vet for check-ups, questions, and even emergencies, like one bird bit the other or what’s up with his toe (yes x-ray shows he has arthritis). It’s just that Dr. Sakas was an extraordinary person. His commitment to his patients and their parents/caregivers went above and beyond.

The fact that he is now gone. That the clinic moves on with life without him – my heart goes out to his family, friends, and colleagues for the hole that’s now in their life – is hard to grasp. Of all the people…of all the people… Someone online said he was the St. Francis of our time. My vote’s in for that too. This news was a shitty blow. Even though it was April 1st, there was no fooling around with this. That day started with a broken heart’s song of tears and mourning.


And so it is I’m going to leave this post here. It’s long enough and well I think you get the point. That week, last week, was a hard week. Dr. Sakas was the first and hopefully only breach the virus has made in my circle. He was a good, good person and fantastic doctor. I can only hope you’ve had the pleasure of knowing him or knowing someone who cares for your non-human (and human) family the way he did mine. I told my inner circle (in texts) about his death, sharing the message I saw with photos. My cousin called me to console me. We chatted and philosophized. Then deep in my soul I knew I had to pull myself together and get through this.

I pulled out my yoga mat and streamed a video, a great yoga fusion video, from I grounded myself. I let the movement, strenuous and soothing, enlighten me and my body. I prayed for my friend and his loved ones. I picked myself up and got on with my day. All the while thinking about those we’ve lost and how we owe it to them to keep going and be stronger for them and because of them. Dr. Sakas worked really hard, he kept going and going like the Energizer bunny.

To Dr. Sakas, wherever you are, thank you. From the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you for the care you provided my boys and the peace of mind you gave me. Your family said you said you’d never retire, and so you didn’t. Cheers my friend.


Six-Foot Form, Hexameter with D. Avery

Good Thursday evening to you all. How’s your life going? Keeping yourself busy? I am, I am. Looking forward to getting some organization done both in house and in story! Now if I could find that three-hole punch gadget I have…

Yesterday I was browsing some other blogs and their posts. In doing so I came across a nice challenge over at ShiftNShake: Home Brewed Prose & Poetry by D. Avery. The post was from a week ago. The name of the post is “To Hex With It” with Kid and Pal, the fictional ranch hands. They’re quite a pair of characters, accents and all. Do check them out. In this post readers were invited to leave a “six-foot comment, that is twelve syllables”, thus an Iambic Hexameter (at least another commenter called it that 😉 ). Now I don’t deal in poetic forms, nothing against them I just don’t. In fact I’ve been more fiction these days than poetry but when I do write it’s always free form. That said, why wouldn’t I want to try this out, right? Here’s what I came up with:

All well here, ah well I still worry my fingers.

Worry my mind too, but spending time sending love.

Do I put on gloves, not at the keyboard my love.

To hold a pen the same, my mind is different.

At least I still have them both to have and to hold.

Have, hold, write, send prayers to all around the world.



I read it back a few times, posted my comment, read it a few more times and thought, that’s not too shabby Elpy, not too shabby. D. Avery liked it enough to share it at the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community’s Saloon! Pretty cool eh? I’m digging doing challenges as it challenges me digging in me mind!! 😉

So it seems very appropriate that I go ahead and share this with my own audience, a little timely piece I’m proud of. She provided the form and I the feeling because that’s how I felt sitting at my computer surrounded by all this intensity of the current situation.

If you’re interested in reading some of my other shared works, namely flash fiction pieces written for challenges go HERE. Thank you. Bye for now!


March 19 Flash Fiction Challenge from Carrot Ranch

Hey guys, how you holding up? Are you in a place that’s under some kind of stay at home order? Today I feel a little more anxious about things but still hopeful. When I first started this post the states of California and New York were announcing statewide lock-downs. Since then Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey plus five others and many cities are under similar executive orders. India, as a whole apparently, is also on lockdown. Still I pray and pray for relief, a slow in the spread of the virus. I pray for everyone the world over.

That said, I read a beautiful post by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community. She opens with evidence of a rabbit on her roof. I encourage you to read her post. Charli talks about our new reality and looking back on March 2020. How will you look back on March 2020? For some of you the change in reality came in February, maybe even January. We will all look back on this with 2020 hindsight. Oh my, how we did not know when this year started the irony of 2020.

In her post Charli shares their last day before the change as well as she and her husband coming down with symptoms. She shares with us their experience trying to get tested. Trying. Luckily it sounds like they’re getting better.

What I want to reflect on about her post is the topic of writing fiction. Many years ago I stopped reading fiction for about five years. I got it in my head that doing so was not important, not productive and well, kind of useless. It wasn’t a huge deal, it’s not like I was reading a lot of fiction anyways. No I just didn’t bother to read any novels. Done. I also thought that if I was going to be doing anything with fiction, it should be writing my own novel. Wrong. Writing is like any other profession, practice, craft, exercise, you have to study it. However, you don’t have to go to school to study writing, you can read books, novels and more. (By the way, I wound up screwing my head back on straight and have long been back to reading novels. 😉 )

Charli raised the point that fiction writers are practicing the truth, and I most certainly agree. We take concepts, ideas, ideals, subjects and explore them. We are like scientists of art exploring our subject under different conditions and constraints. We’re experimenting and testing our characters with magic or new worlds. We put pressure on our characters like life puts pressure on us. Have you seen the movie Contagion? That is fiction and yet, here we are. (WAIT I am NOT suggesting what happened in that story is going to happen to us, but in some ways and some places it has.) Think about the Jetsons and how crazy their technology seemed to us back in the 90s. And yet, I’m listening to the news right now on my Echo Show, having told Alexa to play CNN, having told Alexa to turn the volume to nine so I can hear it over the noise of the shower my birds are undergoing. I check my touch screen phone for 2pm news updates, a 14-day weather forecast, instant messages between family and friends, and I think about video chats. When today will I listen to my current audio book, the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, on whatever device I choose? Art imitates life and sometimes I think life manifests from art.


During this time of isolation and orders to stay at home we artists have a lot we can do. If you don’t have a current WIP, maybe now is the time to start one. If you do, push yourself to make progress, I know I’m going to. And as much as all of this is inconvenient at best, scary to say the least, and life-threatening at its worst, we can pull stories from it. We can safely take bits of terror or large chunks of hope and build stories. We can stamp this history into our archives, portfolios and futures. Use your feelings, the things your reading, the world outside and create something. Express yourself. (Quick example: my father sent me audio of him scatting (from the context of jazz) with some music in the background, including some drumming I believe to be his own. Time well used pops!) Of course we will never forget these times, but thankfully we still have some power to shape the future both as we stay home and stay safe and as we put our art to work.

Without further ado, here is Charli’s 99-word flash fiction challenge from March 19:

In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a rabbit on the roof. Or many rabbits. Why are they there? Explain the unexpected, go into any genre. Go where the prompt leads!


Alice and Janice Save the World

Alice sat atop the roof waiting for Janice. This wasn’t like her. Alice squeezed tight against the gable.

There came a high shriek. She twisted her ear listening. She heard the call and hopped out.

Janice landed next to her.

“I’m sorry Alice. You alright?”

“I am. You?”


“Should I worry?”

“No. It seems we’ve started a movement. Others want to know how we, prey and predator, have forged an alliance. They want to help. This is how we will prosper in these times now that humans have turned their backs on the world.”

“Well done my friend.”


Thanks for coming by and reading my post. If you want to read more of my flash fiction please visit my page Flash Fiction and Short Fiction. I’m trying to make more of a habit of doing the Carrot Ranch challenge as well as posting a flash fiction challenge of my own. You’ll find stories I’ve done for both at the above link. And once again, I really encourage you to visit the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community.

If you like what you read don’t forget to hit the like button and maybe even subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m posting. In addition to flash fiction I like to post about books I’m reading, read, plan to read (TBR additions, lots of wishful thinking there), writing stuff, and some rants from time to time. Hopefully I’ll have some updates or at least things to tell you about my debut novel soon. 🙂

“Never Have I Ever” Writer Tag

Hello peoples out there in the world! I hope you’re doing well or at least more well than not. Every day I’m praying for the minds of the scientists and the physical and mental well-being of all healthcare professionals and frankly, everyone around the world. So I hope you’re feeling some random love coming your way.

Today’s post is totally different but super fun (so I think 😉 ). I found this tag thanks to the author C.G. Drews over at Paper Fury. C.G. is the author of A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Boy Who Steals Houses. I have not read either book but A Thousand Perfect Notes is on my TBR now. I’ve heard great things about this author and she has a cool blog!

I write a lot about reading and then write a lot on my own time so I am grateful for this method of sharing things about my writing with you guys. Here goes:

Never Have I Ever…

……Started a Novel that I Didn’t Finish…..

Nope sorry, more unfinished than finished. However I will say that my previous (couple) attempts were half-hearted, full of doubt. Whereas my current WIP is the first I’ve really dove into and committed. Heck yeah! It feels great!

……Written a story completely by hand……

I’ve most definitely written some short stories completely by hand, and then maybe typed it up. But I am not against writing by hand, in fact I do it with my WIP quite often. Only problem being then I have to go type it up.

……changed tenses midway through a story……

Oh man, done this, done this, did that.

……Not researched anything before starting a story……

I have definitely started more stories before researching than after. Honestly, I have to get the story going first. That said I can see doing research first but um no…

……changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft……

Geez, have I ever! I started to type maybe not my protagnonist then I really got thinking about some other stories I’ve written or at least started. Yup, changed her name. My WIP has endured quite a few name changes. For example, my MC’s two cousins used to be Lane and….hm, now I forgot the other’s old name…oh well, now they’re Mayne and Marshall. It was necessary and this is better. I don’t like to do name changes however quite often I just need a place holder. A name will come to mind and I won’t like it but I’ll use it for a time in order to keep moving the story forward. I know that as the story progresses I’ll discover more about my characters which will help influence name choices. I actually like picking names for my characters because there’s so many choices. It’s fun to get fancy, and heck just see what’s out there!


……written a story in a month or less……

What are the parameters for this question? Does flash fiction count? I’ve written quite a bit of flash fiction in less than a month. When it comes to short stories I have written them in less than a month as well though there’s a lot I haven’t returned to to edit for some kind of publication.

……fallen asleep while writing……

I already said have I ever but I have to say it again. Have I ever let me tell you. I can’t count how many times I’ve fallen asleep while writing. I wake up with scribbles on the page. Although this bad habit isn’t as bad as say reading. I am so guilty of falling asleep while reading, man…

……corrected someone’s grammar in real life or online……

Oh I don’t want to answer this. Ugh, I’m a jerk. Yes I have corrected someone’s grammar in real life, but not a stranger. I have done so to people I care about in an effort to be helpful, not to be a jerk because they said something wrong. I know that I would appreciate knowing if I’m saying something incorrectly than keep saying it. I’m not a jerk about it, I’m kind. A minute ago I called myself a jerk only because I know some people really get offended by this idea even. Sorry, not sorry. 🙂

……yelled in all caps at myself in the middle of a novel……

Look my first real Never Have I Ever! I have not done this though I have talked to myself, actual speaking out loud, while writing. It’s very helpful sometimes.

……used “i’m writing” as an excuse……

Should I admit to this publicly? Who’s reading this? Lol. The thing is I always need to be writing so consider it a tool I use. Should I do X? No, I should be writing. Nope sorry, I’ll be doing some writing. There are worse things yeah? The problem comes in (in my conscience) if I wind up sidetracked and/or distracted and don’t actually get around to writing.

……killed a character that was based on someone i know in real life……

Nope, never. I don’t write characters “based” on someone I know in real life. I might make characters similar, have someone in mind that I want to fashion this character after in some way. But no one character is one person. Then again, one of my MCs in my WIP is named after someone in real life and I killed him off right away. But that’s because the story is in part about him as an angel.

……used pop culture references in a story……

Well this is just necessary. If I were writing a story set in another world then I think that would make sense. Then again, that other world would have some kind of pop culture. I hope I would be clever enough to include that. I don’t see the point in not using at least a little pop culture to help date your story and put it in context of the culture at large. That said I’m not pop culture hip so I gotta make sure I use it correctly!

……written between the hours of 1am and 6am……

Ha! All the time. I write late all the time, and I say late not early because I don’t wake up early to write. I stay up late and write. Really I write at any time of day, it all depends on the day.

……drank an entire pot of coffee while writing……

Correct! Even before my Keurig machine I never drank an entire pot. Really I prefer espresso based drinks like lattes, so regular coffee effects me differently and not in a great way. I think if I drank an entire pot it would negatively effect my writing, and my day. Probably I would be a mess and uncomfortably jittery.

……written down dreams to use in potential novels…….

I always want to use my dreams, either in a story or as inspiration for a story. Problem is I’m not very good about writing them down. In fact just the other night I had a wild dream, I couldn’t describe it well now if I wanted to, and I so wanted to remember it to see if it was story material. Too much time has now passed for me to be able to use it. Dreams are great material. Now in terms of my WIP, my novel, I can’t think of anything right now that has come from a dream…hmm….


……published an unedited story on the internet/blog/or wattpad……

Nope. Even my flash fiction gets edited. I mean editing is how I get it to the correct word count! In fact, writing and editing flash fiction is an awesome writing exercise. It’s really helping me to see how many words aren’t necessary.

……forgotten to save my work/draft……

I don’t think I have ever forgotten. It feels strange to say never but I’m going to stick with no I haven’t. In this technological age it’s actually kind of difficult not to save because so much software automatically saves. I use Scrivener for my WIP as well as OneNote and both of those programs have an autosave feature. I will then manually save as well. On the other hand, I have forgotten to back things up as often as I should. 😉

……typed so long that my wrists hurt……

You know I don’t think I have, at least not my wrists. The backs of my legs don’t like me sitting for long. Writing by hand I absolutely wind up injuring myself, my hand cramps up fast. I do have carpel tunnel in my right hand (write hand). I mean heck maybe my wrists do get tired but I’m so focused I don’t notice it! Lol. My eyes do not like screens as long as my hands like typing.

……spilled a drink on my laptop while writing……

I have spilled some drink on my laptop but not a whole drink. Thank God, that sounds like a nightmare. I’ve spilled at least a little of something on notebooks, keyboards, screens (tablet), WIP printed pages…

……finished a novel……

Ah gee, this is true. Have no fear I will change this and finish this novel within a year!!!!! 😀

……laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene……

I’ve made noises and faces and sounds. I’ve also laughed while writing a scene but laughed like an evil villain, maybe not specifically. I do squirm and get excited sometimes!

……cried while writing a scene…..

Oh yes I have and I am proud of it. If I make myself cry because of what I’ve written then I did something right. When this book is finished I hope you cry too. It’s just true. I want my work to invoke and provoke and stir and spin emotions. In fact it’s super important to me that I write a story that moves my audience. So picture me in front of my piece clapping and hooting with tears on my face because I’m excited my scene was that emotional. Heck yeah!

……created maps of my fictional worlds……

Nope, sorry. This does not apply to me. Yet. One day, one day I might write something in a fictional world. When that day comes, we’ll see.

……research something shady for a novel……

Yes I have, although maybe not so shady. But I assume all writers have. I do wonder if people see my searches how I make sure they know it’s for my writing. 😀


There you have it! That was fun. Do you want to know more about me and my writing, me as a writer? Let me know. Also let me know if you decide to answer these questions yourself. Do we have a lot in common based on our answers?

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Don’t forget to like and follow, please thanks! 😀

Hi there!

Hi there kind visitor, thanks for stopping by. I hope you find my blog interesting, and if you do maybe you want to follow me and hit that like button/star/icon and perhaps even leave a comment! Woo hoo that would be lovely.

But that’s not what this sticky post is for. I just wanted to say hold on friends, you are not alone. I don’t know your circumstances but I’m praying for us all that God bless the scientists, professionals, and everyone working around the clock to get this coronavirus under control to some extent. May they find the treatment we need, be successful in developing a vaccine, and keep us all safe and well by implementing policies and directions that will help slow the spread of the virus and provide us some relief.

Social distancing, self-isolating, and quarantining are not easy. No doubt it’s easier for some more than others. I’m thinking of you. I’m praying for you and your family. Hunker down but don’t panic. Make sure you have necessary supplies – like medications and pet food too – but don’t hoard and keep others from getting what they need. Don’t forget to care for your mental wellness as well as your physical. This kind of situation can be super trying on our minds, and stress does not do a body good. So be sure to talk to each other, share your concerns, don’t be afraid to laugh, smile, get some sunshine (safely), and get some exercise whatever that looks like for you.

If you’re interested I put together a survey thing just testing it out and getting a feel for things. I like quizzes and surveys so maybe you do too. My questions revolve around what you’re maybe or maybe not doing to keep yourself sane and occupied during this time, with regard to reading. It should follow this paragraph if I did it right. If you don’t want to take it, no worries, I’m just glad you’re here. 😀 Oh and hit the next button to start the survey. I’m not gathering info for anything other than my and your curiosity. I’ll probably leave this up for the week then share the results, without names unless you say oh oh eLPy talk about me, no promises on that end. 😉 I will then toss up another survey because I think this is gonna be fun.

Welcome to your Corona Buddy Reads

Are you doing any buddy reads in response to needing to self-isolate?

Has the coronavirus crisis effected how and what you read?

1 out of 2

How do you plan to use your time at home under your state/nation's restrictions?

2 out of 2

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge – Tapping

Please visit Carrot Ranch Literary Community and read Charli Mills’ beautiful post about the tap-tapping of spring coming forth in the Keweenaw Bay. It’s a beautiful lesson in gratitude even in precarious times. It’s true, that even as this pandemic crashes against us in waves of fear, spring is coming and it’s still beautiful.

My sister shared a post on social media in which the author of the post instructs us to go outside and breathe, plant your feet on the Earth. Ironically before I plunged into the rabbit hole that social media often is, I pet my dog and welcomed my birds to the new day. In doing so I thought about the fact that they – for the most part because no doubt they sense a shift in energy – aren’t aware of this pandemic. They don’t know and aren’t worried about its spread or how best they can practice social-distancing. This made me think about the world outside, nature. Nature always keeps going. It just keeps doing its thing.

Spring will not be cancelled. The birds will not stop singing. The flowers will not remain underground. The trees continue their energetic push to grow buds, flowers, seeds, and leaves. The wildness around us keeps on being wild. As I think about this, what my sister shared, and Charli Mills’ post and her friend in hospice making plans to see fireworks on the 4th of July, I think about keeping on. I think about how Charli’s right, there’s hope in plans. I will still make plans. I will breathe and take in the sun. I will plant my feet and salute the sun.

And I will try my hand at Carrot Ranch’s 99-word flash fiction challenge this week.

March 12, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tapping. You can play with the sound, make it an action, or create something unexpected. Tap a story and go where the prompt leads!


Get Out of My Head

There was tapping around my house. I could not find it. Upstairs, downstairs, I looked in every room.

“What the hell!” One more sign I did not have control of my life. I collapsed in bed. There was movement behind the blinds. Tap-tap-tap.

I jumped up and twirled the wand, opening the blinds. Away went the red bird. It was vibrant, not the drab of winter. The sun glowed on my face. Green points poked up through the dirt. Birds whistled around my yard.

“Oh Little Cardinal, thank you for enlightening me with your tap-tap-tap.”


Thanks for reading! If you’d like to participate in the Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s flash fiction challenge please click on the link at the top of this post. Inspired by Carrot Ranch to do more flash fiction work myself I’ve also started doing a weekly flash fiction challenge. Please click HERE to read what I’ve been working on. My challenges can be done at any time.

As always Thank You Carrot Ranch for sharing your great post and really cool challenge!

Mental Wellness and 71-Word Challenge

Hello everyone, how are you? I hope you and your loved ones are well and safe. Things are kind of scary right now for us all. My state just announced their first case of COVID-19 and it makes me want to bury my head in the sand. But freaking out isn’t going to do me any good. I think this is a good time to reach out (by phone or internet, not physically!) to people you know around the (your) nation and world, especially those in heavily affected areas, to see how they are. I did this the other night, messaging family members whose contacts I have. I know some people might think me awfully dramatic (guilty as charged) but my spirit compelled me! I have family in Washington and when I thought about them I wondered how they were, so I asked.

I think it’s especially important to reach out to the people you know who are at higher risk for contracting the virus as well as people you know who have mental illness. I suffer from anxiety and I have a particularly difficult time worrying about matters of health. Some people call me a hypochondriac. Based on the definition, “a person who is abnormally anxious about their health”, I most certainly am. I’m not proud of this fact and I know it’s irrational but when my mind gets to whirring those thoughts around about what these constant headaches, chest pains, sparkles in my vision are it is extremely difficult to just shut them off. My best bet is to ask myself some questions:

  • Is this an emergency, as in I need urgent care? If not then,
  • Is there anything I can and should do about this now? In other words, if my doctor’s office is open, can I schedule an appointment? If not, then calm down, leave it alone, call when you can.
  • Can I simply monitor this myself, thereby taking a strong stand as my own advocate?

If an appointment is necessary and scheduled, then I need to distract my thoughts away from the worry while I wait for my the day. This all seems pretty common sense but it can be really stressful. What’s my point? During this pandemic people like myself are probably experiencing even more than our usual every day anxiety. It wouldn’t hurt to check in with a text or e-mail or phone call and see how people are doing. I’m alright. I’m keeping myself up to date with the latest news. I’m washing my hands when available to me and using hand sanitizer or wipes when I can’t wash. I cancelled travel plans and plan to avoid people as best I can. This means my trip to the store yesterday afternoon will turn into late night or early morning trips to avoid large crowds, all the while being safe about my surroundings. I’ll gather some food supplies to avoid having to go out more and be prepared should I need to hunker down. I am not freaking out, I’m being cautious. Freaking out would disable me, making me more dysfunctional than not. I’ll also see what I can do to get another month of medications. I have extra pet food as well.

We all have to do what we can to stay healthy and keep those around us healthy. Not all my worries are irrational or extra but staying healthy means I also have to look out for my mental health. Keep exercising, continue yoga, and probably make some time to meditate or whatever to calm my mind. Let’s all make sure to remember it’s important we care for our mental health as well.

In case you’re wondering, and in case it would help to share, here’s an example of a mild hypochondriac panic attack:

Almost two weeks ago (maybe?) I was at a big box grocery store. It was really busy. We didn’t have any cases in my state yet so I was less nervous but still concerned. As I made my way to the dairy section to get some cottage cheese I noticed a woman cough into a tissue balled up in her hand (not covering her mouth with it or her hand, but balled up uselessly in the middle of her hand). She was with another woman by the yogurt. Instantly my heart rate increased. I thought oh my God why is she in the store! Okay, calm down, she might have allergies or some kind of breathing or lung matter. Maybe she’s not sick.

Regardless, I decided I’d leave my cart where I was at and quickly walk over to the cottage cheese, grab a container and hustle back to my cart. That’s what I did. Then as I turned around I saw them walking towards me. Heart rate, up, more. Oh God, oh God, oh God she’s coughing! Hold my breath, hold my breath. Do you know how difficult it is to hold your breath while you’re anxious? I went back to my cart holding my breath until I couldn’t and was far enough away to believe I was safe. But the fear did not leave me. The incident did not leave me.

I bought my groceries and left the store. I used my sanitizer then just sat in my car replaying the situation over and over. Little evil butterflies flew rampantly in my gut. I decided then that what I should have done was walked in the opposite direction and went all the way around the next aisle to get back to my cart. Over and over I thought this. I pictured myself doing it. I imagined how I wouldn’t have come close to them had I done that. I worried that I had made a critical mistake. Then I thought, no you just should have ditched the cottage cheese all together as soon as you saw that woman cough. She probably doesn’t have the coronavirus but what if! All the way home I thought about this. At home I thought about it. And still I remember it. That incident for me was distressing to say the least. Once it was over, I then also had to imagine what if I were to contract it and then visit my elderly aunt?

I’m sharing this to give you a snap shot. Like I said, I’m fine but having anxiety means I’m a greater risk to mishandle real fear and make things more difficult than I need to. So maybe see how the people you know are doing (not in person), you never know when your compassion could help ease another person’s soul.

With that I’m going to issue a 71-Word writing prompt challenge. The theme is looking passed fear.


What should I do?

“You know what this means don’t you?”

I stared.

“Transformation. Metamorphosis. Change! You could be change.”

“But… what if -“

“You can’t hide forever. Your wings will show them there is hope in our future. When you finally fly you will be filled with their magic and it will fill your voice. Your voice must be heard.”

I flexed my double set of wings. They shivered. The thin butterfly wings changed colors.


There you have it, my 71-word flash fiction piece. I encourage you to participate and try your hand at flash fiction, no more no less than 71 words. Post your story in the comments or a link to your page with your story. Please link back to me here. If you’re interested in my other flash fiction challenges as well as those I participated in over at Carrot Ranch, please follow the links below. Carrot Ranch Literary Community run by Charli Mills is who I have to thank for my doing these flash fiction challenges. I’m so grateful for the inspiration provided thanks to her 99-word challenges. This is a great thing for my writing practice.

Carrot Ranch 99-word writing challenge:


67-Word Writing Prompt

Hey guys how ya been? Sorry it took me so long to post again, I mean it feels like a long time. That’s life though right? Right. Okay today I will be short and sweet. By my calculations it’s the 67th day of the year. Tomorrow begins Daylight savings, 2am tomorrow. Should we start a betting pool of how long it’ll take before we scrap this concept? More and more I hear people asking the question: why? I’ve been wondering that my whole life, even as I’ve heard it explained again and again it never clicks. It’s weird, we’ll see. But daylight will be our theme today. However you translate that in your story go with it.

Write 67 words, no more no less, using the theme, topic, idea, whatever of daylight. Please title your piece. Post it in the comments below or post the link to your post (if applicable) and be sure to post back here on your site. Below my piece I’ve included some links to my other word challenges as well as my entries for Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch word challenges. It’s thanks to Carrot Ranch – A Dynamic Literary Community that I do these challenges. I keep trying to get back to hers then miss the mark. But check her out, it’s a great community.

The Shimmer

They would shimmer. I didn’t dare step out and be seen. First a watcher would see me. They know the shimmer. Next, a call will go out to sentinels who notify the alphas. By then the watcher will see my second set. I don’t know what happens then.

But I would love to step into the rising light and stretch my wings, let them finish their growth.


Alright, your turn! In case you’re wondering or it matters, I do my flash fiction piece (the above) on the fly. I don’t write it in advance. This is all on the fly. But have at it!

Below are the links to my other flash fiction pieces. You might notice that my own prompt responses (as in not my pieces for Carrot Ranch) are related…

My Flash Fiction Pieces

My Carrot Ranch Challenge Responses

I hope you’re all well and in a safe place. May we keep on in good humor and faith even in these trying times.

February TBR Additions 2020

Hello again all you fine people. I am here as promised to bring you my February TBR Additions 2020. Perhaps you’ve already read my January TBR Additions list also posted this week (well Sunday). That was a really long list and I thank you for reading it. If you haven’t, know that even though it’s very long it’s also really interesting because the books are quite varied, in my humble opinion that is. This list is not short – there’s 16 books – but it’s not as long as that one (26 books). ***It’s not 20 books because I added four just before midnight. Here I thought it was the 1st already. 😉

As always, I thank you for riding along and sharing any thoughts you might have of this list. Do not be afraid – do be kind and respectful – to tell me if you think a book is bad or yuck it doesn’t appeal to you. You will not hurt my feelings. In fact I’d be interested in picking your brain about the matter assuming such a discussion can be done without spoilers. 😉 That said, let’s get to it!

  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood – fiction, dystopia
    • I love the podcast The Garrett, hosted by Astrid Edwards. It’s an Australian based podcast. She interviews so many interesting authors, diverse authors, and they’re really good interviews. Astrid, you’re great. I recommend this podcast for sure. Recently I heard the interview with Charlotte Wood and actually made a note, I believe I was waiting in line at the grocery store and added it on Goodreads right there. 😉 I think that’s a beautiful cover too.
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  • Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara – fiction, mystery
    • I discovered this book thanks to an NPR interview. The author, a journalist, was talking about the outrageous fact that in India 150 children go missing A DAY. The vast majority of these young people are forced into some kind of labor, like working in people’s homes and sex work among others. She said it’s not well reported on or managed so she decided to write a novel about it, her debut in fiction. Her protagonist is a young boy. She chose a child so as to take the edge off the story from time to time.
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  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – mystery, thriller
    • I think this is the first in a long time for which I can say I heard of from another person in person! Lol. I was at a family member’s birthday party when I got to chatting with an older woman I’d just met. She told me her book club read this book (a debut novel) and loved it. She said they were split down the middle in terms of predicting how it ended.
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  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner – classics, fiction
    • I found that my grandmother and/or great-grandmother (don’t know whose copy it was) had an old copy of this book and well, it appeals to me so I think I’ll give it a shot, one day. 😉
  • Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon – poetry, photography, fiction
    • I think it was thanks to Carrot Ranch and a blog tour? Oh shoot I’m sorry I didn’t put this information in my notes. But this is a new a poetry, prose and photography collection by Indie author M.J. Mallon. Interestingly enough my poetry has photography mixed throughout it but no prose, however we clearly have similar interests in that respect. Anywho, I’m excited to be able to support a fellow Indie Author.
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  • Can You See Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott – children’s middle grade, contemporary
    • C.G. Drews (author and blogger) over at Paper Fury talks about this book in one of her latest posts. The blurb on Goodreads says this book is for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. While I haven’t read Wonder I’m interested in reading this “coming-of-age story about learning to celebrate yourself…”. Ann M. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Rain Reign said, “This glimpse into the world of a young autistic girl is astonishingly insightful and honest. Tally’s struggles to ‘fit in’ are heart-wrenching, and her victories are glorious.” This is fiction but it is own-voice in that Libby Scott is a young autistic author and this story is inspired by her experiences.
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  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss, narrated by Nick Podehl – Audible Audio edition – fantasy
    • So this is kind of a funny story. I told you before that Audible just had a sale on many series; each book in the respective series was marked down. I saw this and believed it was one I’d added to my TBR this year. I know I’ve heard of this before and it’s hugely popular. This series has two books and they’re long, so good candidates for Audible books I thought.
    • Low and behold, this series was not already on my TBR; I was somehow confusing it with The Lies of Locke Lamora I’d heard of from Inside my Library Mind and SilverWolfReads in January. Lol, well they’re added now!
  • The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) by Patrick Rothfuss, narrated by Nick Podehl – Audible Audio edition – fantasy, epic fantasy
    • The sequel to the above book. The one downside and/or upside depending how you see it, to Audible editions is I wind up reading/listening to books I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up so soon. But hey this book has 392,856 ratings on Goodreads with a 4.57 star rating. It was published in 2011. Wow!
    • AND Nnedi Okorafor, an author I follow, the woman who wrote Binti, speaks highly of this series on Goodreads. 😉
  • The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenny Lyons – epic fantasy
    • Okay, so, I’m listening to this book on Audible right now and IT’S AWESOME. It’s really long, certainly an epic like Lord of the Rings but well worth the time. Here’s the thing, I did not know this was a series! Last night I was just browsing browsing, clicked on Jenn Lyons and there you go, there’s more! Then I saw there’s actually a third!!! Wow. So I don’t know that the Audible version is available for the 2nd as it just came out October 2019 but I’ll keep an eye out.

Wow, okay that’s it. Phew! Twenty-six books added in January and 20 added in February bringing my Goodreads’ TBR to 336! Holy moly, I think I need to slow down on adding books but then how will I remember new finds? Maybe I need to cull my list as many other bloggers have, at least review it to see if I’m really still interested in all these books. God knows I don’t have the time to get through all the books I want, especially not with my own novel on the fire! What do you think about this list?

And as I said in my January TBR Additions 2020 post:

It’s super important to me to give credit where credit’s due. So I try to make a point to take notes when I’m reading other people’s blogs or listening to podcasts (I’m not as good with the latter). Whenever I actually do take notes, be it NPR interviews, blogs, podcasts, talking to people, I will certainly mention it when I mention my interest in the book (assuming I find the notes 😉 ). It’s really a great practice to tip your hat to others and their efforts to spread the word about books they like. Not only does it help the authors of these books, but it also helps other bloggers and podcasters. So I ask humbly please, if you discover books thanks to my blog – lists like this one – that you give me a little shout out. Thanks in advance!

January TBR Additions


Well how are you today? Not too shabby over here. I’m working on blog stuff so I’m in a happy place. Reading is a funny thing you know? But even more so is the hobby of collecting books. I’ve always loved the idea of collecting things although admittedly I’m not such a good collector. Of course it comes as no surprise that it started in childhood with toys (My Little Pony, Breyer Horses, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket, Marvel collector cards, the list goes on). I didn’t have grand collections of all these things (I wished!) but I LOVED looking at the catalogues of all the toys that were out there and the new stuff, gah, so wonderful.

When it comes to books I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a collector. I guess you might say I am because I don’t exactly get rid of books I’ve read, and I’ve got a boat load of old books from relatives. Compared to other book bloggers though and what I’ve read in their posts, I am not a book collector. Hats off to you who love your various editions – lots of people collect multiple copies of books that are each a different edition – but I can’t wrap my head around having more than one copy of a book. Alas, I get it, I feel the love you have for your collections. I once had a fabulous collection of Orchids (most died from brown rot) and I will slowly but surely rebuild for I am at heart an Orchid collector.

Anyways, I shall move on with this post and get to the point. While I might not be a true book collector, I do love me some TBR action! I like discovering new books and adding them to my TBR. Then I like going through my TBR and seeing all the covers; it’s like a mini version of going to a bookstore or the library and seeing all THOSE BOOKS! It goes without saying, TBR posts can be fun to create (sometimes daunting too). My question to whomever is reading this, do you enjoy TBR posts? Do you enjoy seeing what other book blogger/reader people are interested in reading?

Last time I left you guys with a three part TBR additions post (Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE, Part 3 HERE). That encompassed Fall & Winter additions since I was behind. I’ll admit I was a little burned out after those posts so I’m behind again, but it’s all good. Today I bring to you: January TBR Additions.

***As I was building this post I realized what I kind of already knew/remembered, that this is going to be really long. Therefore, February TBR Additions will be its own post following on the heels of this one for January. But read on because there’s loads of different books here you might not have seen elsewhere and plenty you have. The book’s title is linked to the book’s Goodreads’ page (for more information).


January TBR Additions

  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – Audible Audio edition, narrated by Trevor Noah – non-fiction/memoir
    • I first heard of Trevor Noah as many of us did, when it was announced he was taking over The Daily Show for Jon Stewart. I’ve since become a fan (not that I watch the show much). What tipped me to the book was an interview with him on NPR. And of course the audio version sounds great since he’s the narrator, talk about own voices.
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Audible Audio edition, narrated by Joe Morton – fiction, historical fiction, magical realism
    • Honestly, I can’t recall the first time I heard of this book but I’m pretty sure it was through a podcast. Since then I’ve heard about it all over the place, including Oprah. I’m going for Audible version because it’s a book available through it.
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  • No Walls and the Recurring Dream by Ani DiFranco – Audible Audio edition, narrated by Ani DiFranco – non-fiction/memoir
    • I used to listen to folk singer Ani DiFranco quite a bit, over 10 years ago. I fell off mainly because my life changed, my directions changed. Recently I’ve gone back to some of her songs (like Little Plastic Castle). But I saw mention of her new book in an article, maybe newspaper (?), and thought it sounded interesting. And of course seeing it on Audible narrated by herself, I had to go that route. Cool cover, ironically similar to the last.
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  • A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews – contemporary, YA
    • SilverWolfReads mentioned The Boy Who Steals Houses in her post HERE. She raved about this author so I had to at least look into C.G. Drews. I’m not sure I want to read The Boy Who Steals Houses but I’m intrigued and going to check this one out.
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  • Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo – Fantasy
    • Another appealing book thanks to SilverWolfReads. We might do a buddy read one of these days, not for this one but something. She mentioned it to me recently and I must get back to her. I’ve never done any buddy reads (well I did with my great-aunt), but I think it’d be fun. 😀
  • The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1) by Rin Chupeco – Fantasy, YA
    • Yup another one thanks to SilverWolfReads. I was thinking maybe I’d read back through blurbs for all these books and remind myself (so I can share with you) what interested me most about these books but do I have time? Ugh…I should do it first thing…perhaps next time, this list is long enough.
  • Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle, #1) by Adam Silvera – Fantasy, YA
    • Yet another shout-out to SilverWolfReads at the aforementioned link. Yes these were all in one post of hers as well. I like this cover quite a bit too.
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  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Fantasy
    • Much like the previous book I added this after SilverWolfReads post but I’d heard of it many times before. Sometimes I stray away from popular books just because they’re popular. And I wasn’t immediately sold on it. Sounded cool but I have SO MANY books on my TBR. Well okay people are raving and raving, let’s do it. (And I just saw YouTube video by Destiny at Howling Libraries in which she mentions the sequel to this and how she has to get to it.)
  • Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World, #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse – Audible Audio edition, narrated by Tanis Parenteau – fantasy, post-apocalyptic
    • I added this book because I listened to the first one – read my review of Trail of Lightning HERE – and LOVED it. Having listened to that I had to listen to this. But this is the book SilverWolfReads had picked up though she hadn’t read the first. I find myself putting off listening to this because…um, hm…I guess I feel like maybe it’s too soon to go right back and then have it be over! And sometimes it feels right to explore around since I know I’m coming back here.
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  • Dark Constellations by Pola Oloixarac, translated by Roy Kesey – fiction, sci-fi
    • This book and many that follow are more books I found thanks to LitHub’s The Bookseller’s Year in Reading Part 1-3. I’ve linked you to Part 1 and you can go from there. But my 2019 TBR New Additions Part 1-3 consist of a lot of books from this list (I also link you here to my own Part 1). What’s here is me finally finishing those articles. I’m excited that most of these books I’ve never heard of and they’re pretty representative, across genre, culture, geography and more. I might have to be more intentional in picking different books from my TBR (when the time comes).
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  • The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams – historical fiction
    • Fictionophile writes “Cover Love” posts in which she posts lists of books with regards to their covers. She directed me to some older versions of her posts and I found a bunch of books I really like. For example, she did a post about covers she liked that had birds…thus these that follow. By the way, I did read the blurb after I found the cover appealing and then added them. 😉
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  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – historical fiction
    • Inside My Library Mind wrote an interesting post titled If You Liked This, Try This. And that’s where this book and few others come from. She said if you like this one (below) try Cala by Laura Legge. Well the latter didn’t interest me but this one did.
  • Inkheart (Inkworld, #1) by Cornelia Funke, translated by Anthea Bell – fantasy, YA
    • Here’s another book thanks to Inside My Library Mind’s post linked to above. This was one in which she says if you like this try The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Well I have already added the latter so, why not this one too? Though I’ve read neither. 😉
  • The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin – fantasy
    • Inside My Library Mind then wrote a post, 2020 TBR Backlist, and here she listed this gem. Mind you this is not the first I’ve heard of N.K. Jemisin, no she is mentioned all over the place. In fact, I just learned that she is the first author ever to win a HUGO award three years in a row and for books of the same series. Translation, all three of the books in this series won Hugo awards.
    • These books were just on sale, all three, at Audible. I so badly wanted to get them but Patrick Rothfus’ duology was also on sale, there’s two of those, they’re huge apparently and I can’t buy all five. I was tempted but I sighed and did the right thing and only bought the two Rothfus books. Plus I couldn’t decide if I should READ and see the words on the pages of N.K. Jemisin’s work.
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  • Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst – fantasy
    • You might recall that my review of Sarah Beth Durst’s last book, The Deepest Blue, was kind of harsh. I was disappointed, I’m sorry. But don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Sarah Beth Durst. I’m still hoping she keeps writing in the world she introduced us to in her series The Queens of Renthia. And her book Lost (not related to any of these) is fabulous; I was so sad to discover she will not be publishing the second but there’s a chance it’ll be made for TV. That said, this book is her latest adult fantasy, I think available April 2020, and it sounds awesome. Not to mention the cover is beautiful. I’m in!
    • Here’s a piece of the blurb from Goodreads: an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster racing champions.
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  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – historical fiction
    • Yet another from Inside My Library Mind’s above post link. Colson Whitehead’s writing reputation precedes him and this book, meaning he’s another author I’ve heard a number of times.

Oh my gosh we made it! You’re still here right? Phew, that’s great, thank you so much. What do you think? Have you or do you plan to read any of these? Will you now?

It’s super important to me to give credit where credit’s due. So I try to make a point to take notes when I’m reading other people’s blogs or listening to podcasts (I’m not as good with the latter). Whenever I actually do take notes, be it NPR interviews, blogs, podcasts, talking to people, I will certainly mention it when I mention my interest in the book (assuming I find the notes 😉 ). It’s really a great practice to tip your hat to others and their efforts to spread the word about books they like. Not only does it help the authors of these books, but it also helps other bloggers and podcasters. So I ask humbly please, if you discover books thanks to my blog – lists like this one – that you give me a little shout out. Thanks in advance!

And thank you again and again for following along with this long post. I hope I was able to add to your list or poke your brain. I’d love to hear what you think. And stay tuned because I’m going to post February TBR Additions this week as well. 😀 Then we’ll be caught up!