cha cha cha cha changes!

*dusts off the site*

So this year has certainly been a bit surreal. I do hope this finds everyone healthy, and not too stressed.

I’ve been writing. Averaging about 2k a day. I’m very pleased with myself. And even better news, for those wondering…

I finished The Bastard Prince. I finished The Sarukai Lord, and in March (9th) I finished The Dragon Gates. I’m currently working on book 4, the last book of the zandercrack series; Crossroads. And this, just doing around 2k a day (sometimes more, sometimes less). Even better, I’ve been (mostly) keeping track of my daily word count. So for a roundup of words since the end of nano;

December 2019:  67931
January 2020 : 65168
Febuary 2020: 88732 (by far my best)
March 2020: 33870

Now something to mention. I took a full week off after finishing The Dragon Gates (march) to try to organize the back stuff for Crossroads. Then, on the 12 or 13th life exploded. The kids were sent home from school and told they wouldn’t be back due to the pandemic. Hub’s job took a hit, and my depression kicked into full go mode. I did try to get more words but it was a bust mostly. It took a bit but I’ve gotten into a new routine and back to writing. I would like to finish Crossroads this month but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, we’ll see.

These are strange times, and everyone is kind of feeling their way through it. My daily goal for writing, 2k a day, hasn’t changed. But I refuse to let myself feel guilty if I have lower or no count days. Mental health is important, and with the uncertainty at an all time high, we have to take care of us.

Updates & Changes

I pulled Elemental Truth off of wattpad. That site feels like a dead-end. There’s not a good search function for people looking for new stuff and that bothers me. So instead I’m posting over at redditserials and I’ve also joined their discord. I’ve also begun posting The Bastard Prince too. So they’ve got this cool feature that if you type in ?rank Bastard Prince   OR  ?rank Elemental Wars   it’ll give you a notification every time I post a new chapter. I’m posting about once a week for both.

I’m also changing around the Patreon. trying to figure tiers and content and all that fun stuff. I’ve got my eye on an artist I would love to have do pictures of the Trouble Crew and some of my dragon characters, but that’s sorta an idea I’m thinking about and I haven’t really done much beyond that. Once it’s all set up I’ll share the link officially.

I’m working on cleaning up the website, so bear with me. I have a lot of plans. I’m honestly very proud of my writing progress.

I do hope you’re all doing well. I know for some, the whole social distancing thing is beyond uncomfortable. Hang in there guys, things will get better, life will get back to some kind of normal. This too shall pass.


Table of Contents for Elemental Truth
Table of Contents for The Bastard Prince 

Be kind to each other. ~NP

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Still Alive

I hesitate saying ‘I’m back!’ because I’ve said it before and things happen. But things always happen. I’ve been focusing less on stories and writing, and more on family and health over the past year, I just haven’t had the ?will? ?spoons? to come over here.

The Website needs updating, links cleared, theme redone. The books up for sale need a bit of an overhaul. The Patreon page (which I effing forgot about) needs attention, so does the Wattpad page. My goals, my focus, all that fun stuff needs to be re-examined.

And every time I’d come over here, I felt like such a goddamn loser. I just didn’t have the mental capacity to get shit done.

So here I am. Trying not to get overwhelmed and let anxiety win. I’ll take it day by day.

Life Status; My son, who had struggled hard for a few years (which was what initially threw me for a loop and knocked me off my game back in 2014) graduated this past May. Not only did he graduate, but on walking out of HS he walked right into a Cosmetology career, flat out bought a car, and just bought his first ‘house’ (ok, mobile home) and is planning on marrying his long time gf. He’ll be 19 in a couple of months. This is the kid who, I was told by the PA justice system, was never going to graduate, and would probably spend his life in and out of jail.

This, along with juggling a kid in college and a kid adrift, and herding the younger kids towards their own futures, has left me an exhausted , though very proud, mama.

Mental Health;

Did you know that many women who were children in the 80s & 90s (and earlier) were overlooked by mental health care professionals when they exhibited ADHD and autistic behaviors? It’s quite infuriating. Especially as we have determined that my ‘bipolar’ symptoms were mis-diagnosed. Bipolar? no. I have never experienced any kind of mania. But I have a textbook case of ADHD which took me close to 16 years to get any psychologist to recognize. Now on the right meds, functioning like an actual human being and not a depressed squirrel, has gone a long way in me reclaiming me.

This has led to better organizing my brain and dudes, sorta consistent writing even.

I cannot stress enough how priceless it is to finally get the correct meds to help get your brain functioning right.


This IS a writer page after all, and lately I haven’t really been doing much of that over the past few years. So here’s a bit of an update on the state of those things.

Elemental Truth is temporarily on hold. Mainly because Zandercrack has hijacked my brain. So I’m going with it.

The Bastard Prince this is, hands down, a heart project. Which had roared to a halt because something wasn’t right. Well last week I figured out why I was having trouble. I’m back in the saddle, working on it daily for the past week, managing to push it from the low/mid 70k to 87k. I’ve got not idea how much (wordcount wise) I’ve got left to be able to slap The End to it, but if I go by scenes…. maybe 20 to 25 scenes? Possibly 30? Maybe?

Other Projects; I’ve got a few half finished fallout fanfics (which I doubt will ever see the light of day LOL), a few fallout inspired post apoc ideas which are silently begging me to finish them. Mostly everything is focused on BP and E1.

September Goals;
~Finish BP. Like, just wrap the fucker up, get SL (book 2) scene listed (planning on using it for NaNo this year). See if my editor is going to be available and toss it her way.
~Scene list the rest of the Zander Chronicles.
~ IF there’s time left over, dust off The Fallen, write the four or five filler scenes, and decide if it’s going to go up or is going to grow into a novel.
October Goals;
~Finish E1. Like BP it’s stuck just outside the grande finale and for some crazy reason I just… stopped. Not sure if it’s some inner fear of saying good-bye to loved characters, or just overwhelmed brain can’t take any more dished out at it.
~Scene list E2. if there’s time.

The rest of 2019 Goals:
~Write. Just, get back into the habit of writing daily. Of allowing myself to be creative without guilting myself.
~I would like to put both BP AND E1 up for sale before Christmas. We’ll see how that goes.
~Be more forgiving of myself. I am my own worst critic. In recent years I have become very harsh with my inner monologue towards myself. This is not healthy and inhibits both personal happiness and my creativity. I need to be kinder to myself.

Other Thoughts.

It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to step back and rethink things. Even if you do it over and over and over. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re actively processing your situation.

I hope you are all having a good day (whenever you read this).

Be kind to one another
~N Phoenix.

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Some things;


  • My stepson and his gf and their children stayed with us for a few months this summer.
  • I will never subject myself to that again. Seriously, that was a BAD idea.
  • Trying to get a handle on my health. Several issues have been neglected and have come to a head. I’m now getting them handled, but years of self neglect are taking their toll.
  • all of this has, of course, impacted my creative side. June and July are always bad months, with everything else, I was lucky I got anything done.


One of these days I need to sit down and do a series on Depression, Bipolar and Creativity. But at the moment I just don’t have the energy.


I am absolutely heartbroken over the events the other night in Las Vegas. When I was a kid, my grandfather would take me fossil hunting in the mountains around Vegas. They lived there for several years and we’d drive from San Diego to Las Vegas about once a month to visit. While I never called it home, it holds a special place in my heart. FWIW, the few folks I know personally who live there have all reported that they’re safe and sound.

On top of the horrors of the suffering in Puerto Rico and this incompetent administration’s response. On top of Houston, and the kids being here… I’m emotionally exhausted.



So, easing back into writing. My brain is started to think in terms of stories again. I’m hoping it’s not a temporary thing.

One step at a time. I may have taken a hiatus, but it doesn’t mean I’m gone for good, or no longer writing or planning on publishing new stuff. I’m here, and I’m going to be around for a very long time, I can promise you that. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for me. Fun stuff.


I hope you are all doing well. Tonight I’m going to take a long bubble bath and read a book. And try to continue getting on with being ME.

Self care is important. Self care is vital to our mental health. There is nothing wrong, at all, with turning off social media, with getting back to the cosey nights reading a good book in the bath. Don’t neglect yourselves. Find what helps you cope in these difficult times and don’t let anyone or anything convince you, you shouldn’t do it.

Happy October folks. Take care. And please, be kind to each other.


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Writing, Life, Politics, & Mental Health

This week has been busy, writing wise. Something in my head has clicked. I’ve been writing. Averaging 10 to 15 pages a day (2500 words or more). Scenes that have stumped me over the years have become clearer than ever and I’ve been scrambling to keep up with the ideas, scenes, and such. I’m starting to feel more like Me than I have in a long time. And I’m writing. And finishing.

Currently BP is sitting at just under 80k. I’m so very close to calling this completely DONE I can almost taste it LOL. Once it’s done, it’ll go off to the Beta readers, and I’ll schedule the rest of it over at the Patreon . And then I’ll re-focus on E1.

E1 is back up (I think I mentioned it last week, I don’t remember) and I’ll tackle the final edits and gap filling and get IT scheduled as soon as BP is firmly off the ‘to finish’ list.

Once those are done, well I’ve got a stack of unfinished things to finish finishing. >.>

So, with this resurgence in writing, it might seem that life has calmed down. Nope, it hasn’t. In fact on the 25th my 11 year old broke his pinky knuckle playing toss the football while he and a friend waited for the buss. I spent that evening at the ER and the following day trying to find an Orthopedic Surgeon. The 27th was spent in Dr’s offices, trying to determine WHAT to do (brace or cast. We opted for a cast fwiw).

Yet I’ve been pushing out words. Maybe only a few hundred, but still. Writing is something I love. And something that has been pushed aside. And that leads me to the cold hard truth about Mental Illness. Not only does it suck, it also causes a major disruption in a person’s life. And sometimes medication really is the best answer to the chemical imbalance in the brain that results in depression, mood swings, bi-polar and a list of other brain affected ailments.

About three weeks ago I was finally able to get back on my medication that helps with my issues. The fact the medication is doing its job, balancing out the chemical imbalance in my brain, is reflected in the fact that, holy shit, I can WRITE again. My focus isn’t perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it’s been.

Once upon a time, I used to average at 2 – 3k a day. Or between 8 and 10 pages a day.

I’ve been doing that again. And it is a wonderful feeling to be able to get back to being ME.

Seriously, if you’re going to spout off those ‘the only therapy/medication I need is a walk through the woods’ you can just go kiss my ass. Sorry, that doesn’t work for everyone. If it did, I’d never have these issues.

**clears throat**


I’ve been doing more reading, and surprisingly it’s not as much fiction as one would think. I got several of Dean Wesley Smith‘s books, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s books and power read through them. Those have gone a long way it helping me find my writing footing again. Thanks Dean & Kris. In rereading their blogs I stumbled across the Writing Story Bundle over here (more about what the Story Bundle is over here). Part of the bundle includes one of Dean’s online lecture series on the Master Plot Formula. I already got the Writing as an Investment lecture series and WOW talk about eye opening. Even the hubs (not a reader OR writer) sat and listened to in, nodding his way through. So I knew the Master Plot Formula lectures would be as educational.

I was right (I started to type ‘write’ **snickers**)  Folks I would HIGHLY recommend investing in those two lecture series, at the very least do the Story Bundle and you get the one as part of the bundle (there are some really GOOD books in that bundle too). As a writer, in this day and age, educating yourself with the ins and outs of how the business works is a must. You can’t expect do be around for any length of time without understanding how it breaks down.

Changing one’s perspective and mindset is not easy. Especially when you’re fighting long held dreams. Especially when those dreams are founded on myth and not reality. I’ve re-connected with my writing/creative brain, due to a combo of the correct meds and changing how I look at writing.

The books I got which helped (not in the story bundle, I’m still working my way through those) were:

Dean’s books;

Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing
Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indi Publishing
Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Buisness Rules for Writing
How to Write Fiction Sales Copy  (I’m still reading on this one)
Think Like a Publisher

Kris’s Book

The Pursuit of Perfection (DUDES READ THIS)

Those were my birthday presents to myself.


Lets see there was something else writing wise I was going to mention but I forgot. I’ll remember later.


I was going to vent about politics, but I don’t have the heart to. What I will say it we are not done resisting and it’s going to be a long four years.


I think that just about wraps it up. OH I’ve deleted my livejournals. I’m over at Dreamwidth now (actually just dusted it off a bit) but I’m really bad about posting over there.  Now it’s time to get back to writing.

I do have an FB and a twitter fwiw.

I hope you all have a wonderful peaceful weekend.

Please be kind to each other. ~ N.Phoenix

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Thoughts on Death, Dying, and Grief

There are many lines of thinking when it comes to what happens after our bodies give up and what is us, our soul, drifts away into the who knows. The topic is a hot one, wars have been waged, many have been killed over whose idea of the afterlife is the ‘right’ one. But this really isn’t about what happens to us after WE go, rather the emotional distress on those who have to move on without us.

It is all right to cry and grieve. It’s normal. It really is.

Yesterday we lost a great. Author Jay Lake passed away after a long fight with cancer. You can read about his battle at his blog, follow the Cancer tag and settle in for some deep reading.

I had this whole long thing planned out and it just sorta piddled away. He inspired me and though I never got an opportunity to meet him; he taught me. He made me very aware of health issues and of not brushing off things.

I’ll miss reading his blog, I’ll miss seeing the pictures of him from Cons. I hadn’t been online much yesterday, at least not at social media sites,  and when I went to my fb early early this morning I saw my feed blowing up with pictures, RIP posts.

I hurt for his partner and his daughter and the rest of his family and network of dear friends, coworkers and colleagues. I’m sitting here weepy because I can just imagine how hard it must be for them to suddenly NOT have him there. And that’s the thing, I think, about dying. He’s out of pain, finally, the people who go, they’re gone, on to the next great adventure or whatever it is they believe, but for those who are left behind, they have to continue on and try to work around the sudden huge hole that appeared in their life. I don’t think, even though we knew it was coming, that one can ever really be prepared for someone passing on.

So R.I.P. Jay, and thank you for sharing your journey with the world.


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Newsish stuff

This past week I landed myself in the ER.

It threw my whole schedule off just a wee bit. There have been tests, and phone calls. I don’t know yet what exactly is going on, I’ll be making more phone calls Monday to various financial and dr offices to get answers for multiple questions about how the hell I’m going to pay for continued care (we’re in-between insurance coverage for me, tho the kids and hubs are all covered. I left myself off). I am not on death’s door. I’m just very fatigued.

Today I’m working on wrapping up the Inside the Author’s Mind story collection, writing (there are only a couple more stories to write to wrap it up) and formatting it. Tomorrow I’ll put together a new cover and hopefully sometime next week I’ll have it up for sale.

Have a great weekend folks.

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Summertime Schedule

Oh it’s going to be a long summer. As many of you know I have a big family, and kids are out of school, older monkey is coming home for a visit and we’re just busy busy. So my posting here will be sporadic, probably until August. Don’t worry, I’m still here, writing in between being mom. Have a great summer folks.




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Fuck Cancer… just…fuck cancer.

It’s a word that fills me with dread. Brings up images of hospitals, sick and weak people, and tears. Lots of tears. In ’93 my cousin died after years of fighting Leukemia. He was 10 I believe. I wasn’t close to him. But the knowledge rattled me to my core. I was 14. When I was around 19 or so I found out my father’s mother had fought a bout of breast cancer. Early  detection saved her life. A year after that, my mother’s mother did a round of radiation therapy and removal of a tumor. In 2002 My grandfather was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer (I don’t know the actual diagnosis, or what type of cancer it was). Within six months he was gone. In 2008 I discovered a growth near my right nipple. It was removed and biopsied. Benign. But I was told I needed to watch, be careful pay attention to my body. With both my grandmothers having fought (and won) battles against breast cancer, it would not be unsurprising if I too wind up battling for my life against it.

Not today.

Not me.


I have been following Jay Lake‘s blog for years. Quietly watching his battle with cancer. I comment, a hug here or there. But I don’t know the man, though my heart hurts for him and his family. His words from his latest blog sink deep:

I cannot cheat death, but I can cheat the terror of the disease a little by easing it for others.


Mother Hen, the dear lady fighting brain cancer as we speak, I know her. I talk to her. Almost daily. She is a fixture in my life. In the lives of so many. I adore her. Absolutely adore her. She is keeping upbeat and positive. Inspiring, it fills me with cheer, and sadness. I want her around a few more years. I want her to meet my kids.

I find myself floundering.

What do I say? What CAN I say?

{{hugs}} seems to be about it.

But it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. It never feels like it’s enough.

I just hope it will do.

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Update on a Friend

Ok so the lady who had brain surgery to remove a tumor has survived the operation, has been sent home, but has some very, very bad news. It is called Gilioblastoma multiforme and is the worst (iirc) form of brain cancer a person can get. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s more bad news. As the wiki article states;

Median survival with standard-of-care radiation and chemotherapy with temozolomide is 15 months. Median survival without treatment is 4½ months.


The family has no insurance. They fall in the cracks, making too much for state aide, not enough to be able to afford their own insurance, and she’s not old enough for medicare to kick in. While they have found assistance for the chemotherapy, they have not been able to find assistance for the radiation therapy and without the radiation therapy, the chemo won’t do any good.

Here is the blog post from my dear friend, and mentor J.A. Marlow on The Mother Hen “String Weaver” Project which lays it all out on the table. This is a rough time for them. I know things are rough for all of us, but this…this is just… Please share this, lets give dear Mother Hen a chance to live a bit longer than the grim estimates.

The fundraiser over here: Help for Mother Hen, to try to pull together the money for the radiation therapy. Or go over to Star Catcher Publishing and maybe purchase one of J.A. Marlow’s books (The Salmon Run series is GREAT!). Or just link to it, spread the word.

I’m scrambling to try to come up with other fundraising ideas to help out. To be honest, when I think of Mother Hen…damnit she reminds me so much of my own mom (even to the RV and artist thing) that it just brings me to tears.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers at the very least. Thanks.

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Sick dreams

I woke congested this morning and running a fever and two kids missed their busses. So while hubs ran them to school, the younger 3 and I snuggled watching that mousy fellow on tv in his clubhouse. I dozed and had the most godawful blip of a dream incorporating the mouse and his friend’s theme song and the cast of a new show on SyFy called Deep South Paranormal, which a friend of mind shared the youtube vid the other night;


Yes, these guys singing to;

My brain is weird.

To put it mildly.

So today as I am trying not to die from this stupid cold, I’ll try to finish out the Fallen Angel thing, maybe play with zander a bit and write down the scene notes for E7.

OR I might imagine I’m going to do all this and actually sleep off and on all day.

I think with a little bit o rest and some decongestant I might even feel human some time today.

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some things

First of all, this dude wins. Just…he wins.

Slave Leo


Read it look at the pictures, He’s not bad looking at all. Go him. And the worksmanship is just awesome.



Disclaimer: I am still on vacation. **nods** Really, I am.

I was part of a conversation between two friends of mine about goals and characters. The one has been struggling with character issues for a story for a while. The other has ten or eleven books written/pubbed traditionally and has won awards and stuff. I will have to ask her permission before I drop names. but suffice to say she has a LOT of experience, and is someone I HIGHLY respect. Her books are fun too.

She talked about problems with some of her stories and one in particular that had a goal that wasn’t strong enough to carry the whole book. She talked about her methods of finding a better goal and in the process the mc focal point of the story changed. It’s fascinating, and very educational. I was listening, munching on popcorn and thinking about my own books, My own stories and the struggles that I have had with them. And taking notes, checking goals.

We’ll get back to that in a moment, because the night before I was chatting with some of my OTHER pals and we were discussing release dates, serials and stuff like that. And we talked about trilogies.

There is a line of thought, that I encountered years ago, that trilogies are cliche. That they are outdated. No one likes them yadda yadda yadda. At some point a long time ago I got it into my head that writing a trilogy is BAD. I decided I would never write a trilogy.

So we were discussing reader habits. and trilogies. and a little whisper in my head reminded me that years ago, BP and Crossroads was supposed to be a trilogy. I shoved the idea down. No. Not gonna go that route.

Woken up, though, the thought, the urge to make it a trilogy just wouldn’t go away.

Then I sat in on that other conversation. And it hit me. The goal thing. Bastard Prince  covers about 17 years. The goal is hard to define. But if I break it up… I can see two very distinctive goals, possibly three, which would hold their own in their own novels, but smooshed in that time frame, they get lost. Bastard Prince can become a trilogy.

Let me say it again (It’s making the lazy inner writer scream in horror)

Bastard Prince can become a trilogy.

And the mind opens up. Scenes that were blank are filling in in my head because I am giving myself the permission to go more into depth on Zander’s years in the Northern Empire. Because those scenes were just the tip of the iceberg  The conspiracies, the interactions with people. The culture which captured my imagination…

It feels right.

It means a lot more work. BP is roughly finished and I’ll just keep writing on it in one chunk.

So where does this leave my other projects? 

Well that’s a good question there. I have a lot and sometimes it really gets overwhelming trying to pinpoint which one I need to work on next. And there’s the whole vacation thing.

I’m supposed to be backing away, taking a break. Taking a breather. So I am just going to get the Angel thing ready for a late May release. Other work will be decided on after that.


Tony Horton, fitness trainer and creator of the P90X workout system, has a saying ‘Do your best, forget the rest.’

It’s become my mantra in many areas of my life lately. Working out is challenging, especially with toddlers underfoot. Sometimes I mess up, sometimes I have to stop and chase kids. That’s ok. I am working on doing my best. Working out with intensity. Nothing matters. I’m doing my best. It is very liberating.

I feel much better without stressing or feeling guilty for making mistakes.

That said, turbofire beckons and so does the kitchen.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday!

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Sunday Thoughts

I meant to post something yesterday but totally forgot.  It has been a rough week for me, a lot going on.

Weight; I’ve lost 18 lbs and overall 4 inches since I started Turbofire last July. Now I have NOT been consistent with my diet or following the exercising, yet I’m still losing weight. **YAY**

I’m currently two weeks into my consistent workouts and eating right, I haven’t weighed myself since Tuesday and I’m not going to until next tues. I feel better, I can feel the changes. Just need to work on getting to bed early.

Writing: I’ve been working on the fallen angel thing. Yes, I am still on vacation 😉 but the story is very loud in my brain. I blame J.A. Marlow for it. Yes JA I am publicly blaming you for it!!! 😀  Seriously though  I am very happy to be working on this thing, so I shouldn’t complain.

I am putting together my business plan and release schedule for the next year. There is a lot to think about and now that things are settling down, I think I can start re-focusing on my writing business.

Overall; Life is good. Next Sat we will be celebrating 1 year out from Oklahoma. Hubs and I were talking about doing a celebration or something. I love where we’re living, and though this past year has been brutal, it has been worth it.




Help Never Came

Life in the post-zombie-apocalypse is full of nasty surprises and many unsolved mysteries, such as old diaries and teddy bears. After saving some fellow survivors Chris and his team find themselves stuck on the wrong side of the river with surging hordes of Zombies moving faster than normal. Worse yet, home base isn’t answering their calls.

Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


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Give Science Fiction Author a hand

Folks, please if you can help do so, and if you can’t give, please pass this on.

I’ve followed Jay Lake for a couple years via his blog posts and his twitter. This is the overview of the situation. The full page is here. If in a small part we can do something, lets.

Jay Lake is an award-winning American author of ten science fiction novels and over 300 short stories. He is also one of more than a million Americans who have colon cancer. Diagnosed in April, 2008, Jay’s cancer has progressed from a single tumor to metastatic disease affecting the lung and liver, recurring after multiple surgeries and chemotherapy courses, and multiplying from single tumor presentations to multiple tumors presentations. Jay is now in his fourth round of chemotherapy, but it’s not clear that it’s working, and his doctors have little to go on in terms of advising further courses of treatment for him. In short, things are not looking good for Jay. Not at all.


Please boost the signal, lets try to do what we can, shall we?


Here is his blog, in which he has detailed this years long fight with cancer. Jay Lake’s Blog. You want to know what a person fighting cancer goes through? Read it. With a box of tissue.

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