Getting Personal #246: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

Welcome back! Here’s my recap of Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. This was my seventh Camp NaNoWriMo session. I did participate last July, but I did not write a recap post. I was mentally burned out last fall, so I skipped NaNoWriMo 2020 in November.

As of April 1, 2021, I had 44,617 words written.

Original Goal: Write 10,000 new words for book #2.


Day 1: 45,299 words (682) – 15 minutes

Day 2: 46,582 words (1,283) – 26 minutes

Day 3: 47,256 words (674) – 15 minutes

Day 4: 47,948 words (692) – 15 minutes

Day 5: 48,744 words (796) – 20 minutes

Day 6: 49,716 words (972) – 30 minutes

Day 7: 50,496 words (780) – 20 minutes

Day 8: 50,569 words (73) – 30 minutes

Day 9: 51,276 words (707) – 20 minutes

Day 10: 51,276 words (0)

Day 11: 52,230 words (954) – 25 minutes

Day 12: 52,356 words (126) – 5 minutes

Day 13: 53,045 words (689) – 15 minutes

Day 14: 54,246 words (1,201) – 30 minutes

Day 15: 54,965 words (719) – 20 minutes

Original Goal Met!

Total word count: 10,348 new words.


Created second goal in NaNoWriMo, in hopes of finishing the first draft by the end of April.

Second Goal: Write 20,000 new words and finish first draft.

Day 16: 55,795 words (830) – 25 minutes

Day 17: 56,094 words (299) – 45 minutes

Day 18: 56,714 words (620) – 1 hour

Day 19: 57,845 words (1,131) – 40 minutes

Day 19: 58,294 words (449) – 10 minutes

Day 20: 58,882 words (588) – 20 minutes

Day 20: 59,451 words (569) – 10 minutes

Day 20: 59,977 words (526) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 60,621 words (644) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 61,312 words (691) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 61,532 words (220) – 5 minutes

Day 21: 62,026 words (494) – 20 minutes

Day 22: 62,389 words (363) – 10 minutes

Day 22: 62,833 words (444) – 10 minutes

Day 22: 63,322 words (489) – 15 minutes

Day 23: 63,917 words (595) – 15 minutes

Day 23: 64,832 words (915) – 20 minutes

Day 24: 65,791 words (959) – 20 minutes

Day 24: 66,000 words (209) – 15 minutes

Day 24: 66,481 words (481) – 10 minutes

Day 25: 67,140 words (659) – 25 minutes

Day 25: 67,627 words (487) – 15 minutes

Day 25: 67,798 words (171) – 5 minutes

Day 25: 67,984 words (186) – 5 minutes

Day 26: 68,350 words (366) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 69,045 words (695) – 15 minutes

Day 27: 69,372 words (327) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 69,917 words (545) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 70,640 words (723) – 15 minutes

Day 28: 71,250 words (610) – 15 minutes

Day 28: 72,089 words (839) – 20 minutes

Day 29: 73,046 words (957) – 20 minutes

Day 29: 73,539 words (439) – 10 minutes

Day 30: 74,397 words (858) – 20 minutes

Day 30: 74,955 words (558) – 15 minutes

Day 30: 75,221 words (266) – 5 minutes

Second Goal Met!

Total word count: 20,256 new words.

Overall Total for April 2021: 30,604 new words.

Current word count: 75,221 words.


Final Thoughts

I’m super proud of myself. I tracked my progress every day on blue Post-It notes, and I plan to do something similar going forward. I took most of the month of May off from working on this, but I’m determined to call the first draft FINISHED by the end of June. After that, I’ll print it out and start the first true pass of editing.

I also have to thank my friend Ren. We met through the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook, and struck up a friendship through Messenger after that. She started streaming on Twitch during April, and participating in her streams and writing sprints is one big part of my success for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. I appreciate her continued encouragement, along with Al, my family, and other friends who have cheered me along in this process.

The key for me is to sit down, whether it’s before work, after dinner, or when I can’t get a scene or dialogue out of my head, and set the timer on my phone. No distractions whatsoever. I’m super proud that I only had one true zero day during the month! Breaking it up into chunks of time has helped me so much.

After I finish this first draft, my plan is to work on book #3 during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. It’s the project I started during NaNoWriMo 2014, so stay tuned for an update on that project on Facebook every day in July, and then a recap post like this in August.


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #249: An Evening in London

Image Credit: Imbibe

My friend, Ren, and I met through the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook. She loves many things British, and we talk on Messenger frequently. She inspired me to write this post about London society and parties.

Enjoy!


The invitation nearly slipped out of Beatrice’s hands, soaked in sweat. She leaned back in the Uber, muttering to herself.

“You’ve got this, you’ve got this. Everything is going to be just fine.”

The Uber driver glanced in the rear-view mirror.

“We’ve nearly arrived, Miss Winchester. Do you need a water or something from the cooler?”

Beatrice smiled slightly.

“I’d down a nice glass of Chardonnay right here, given the chance,” She thought, praying it didn’t come out of her mouth.

“Miss Winchester? Are you all right?”

“Oh, yes, I’m fine. Thank you, sir. Water, please.”

He fished out a cold Dasani. Beatrice’s hands shook slightly as she unscrewed the cap. She set down the invitation on the black leather seat, wishing she’d asked him to turn around and take her back to her building.

She swallowed, feeling a little better.

“Thank you for the water, sir, I appreciate it. How much do I owe you?”

The man smiled. He’d been driving for Uber for quite a while, and it earned him a good living. He’d paid extra for the car cooler several months ago, and knew when the society season ramped up. The spring and summer were unbearable at times, and it wasn’t just the temperatures.

Beatrice Winchester was his first society passenger of the night, and he knew there were many more to come. The invitation that was fluttering in her hand when he pulled up to her building was the signal.

Beatrice shuffled a bit. She never thought a mix of taffeta and silk could be so uncomfortable, even though she loved the dress the minute she saw it on the dress form in the shop window in February.

“How much do I owe you?”

“It’s nothing extra, Miss Winchester. Unless you’re feeling generous, of course. It’s my pleasure to provide beverages to my passengers.”

She laughed. “I wish you could carry alcohol, sir.”

He matched her laugh. “Nearly every customer of mine, especially at your age, says or wishes the exact same thing. I can’t, by Uber rules, but I wish they would, with so many people asking.”

Beatrice felt a bit more relaxed as the ride came to an end. She liked this driver, James, and looked forward to requesting him for the ride home. It was nice that you could do that with Uber and Lyft, unlike the traditional cabs.

“Well, here we are, Miss Winchester.”

Beatrice turned her head. The butterflies swarmed again.

The office building had been transformed into a gala. So many people were outside, it felt like a red-carpet event for celebrities.

“Are you paying through your phone?”

“Oh, yes, thank you.”

She opened her Uber app, paid her fare, tipped generously, with a few pounds extra for the cold water. And gave him five stars. Beatrice Winchester was hard to please, but this was easy, in comparison to what she was facing.

James’s phone dinged with the payment confirmation.

“Thank you, Miss Winchester. Much appreciated and obliged.”

She tipped her head. “You’re welcome. Are you going to be driving later?”

He smiled. “All night.”

“I’ll wait for you. You’re one of the best drivers I’ve had.”

He smiled, undid his seat belt, and got out to open her door.

“Do you need anything else?”

She smiled, shook his hand, and thanked him for opening her door.

“I’ll see you later, I hope.”

“I hope so, too, Miss Winchester. Thank you again for your generosity and kindness. Enjoy the party.”

She watched him straighten her seat belt, close her door, and wiped his hands before getting back in the driver’s seat. He nodded to her again, cut on his turn signal, and navigated back into what was now heavier traffic.

Beatrice sighed, watching him drive away.

—-

She didn’t want to turn around, but forced herself to. As a promise to her mother last year, Beatrice had agreed to go to at least one society party, if invited. Her mother had married her father long before she was ever invited to any society party, so it was a lot to ask of Beatrice.

At this point, she was 21, floundering a bit at university, and was struggling with general direction. She didn’t consider herself a party girl, but enjoyed going out with her friends. But these society parties were well-respected, and many were honored to be invited. So when the fancy envelope, with delicate calligraphy, showed up in Beatrice’s mailbox in January, her mother was beside herself.

“Oh, Bumblebee, how marvelous! We must get you a dress soon.”

Beatrice sighed as her mom dissolved into another coughing fit. The bronchitis was chronic now, even with a weekly housekeeper, no pets, and no more roses from Dad.

“Mom? Are you okay?”

She struggled to catch her breath. “Yes, of course, Bumblebee. I’m going to sit down.”

“I can always ring you back.”

“No, no. I’m fine now. This is a momentous occasion that needs to be celebrated.”

“Mom, come on. It’s one society party.”

“This one party may make all the difference, Bumblebee.”

Beatrice rolled her eyes, but felt her heart swell. Maybe her mom was right. The party wasn’t until June. After classes ended. The summer was always her favorite season. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

—-

As she rolled her shoulder blades, trying to ignore the still-very-uncomfortable dress, impossible strapless bra, higher-than-normal heels, and copious sweat, Beatrice took a deep breath. She listened. The familiar notes from the string quartet entered her ears.

She hummed along with the beautiful music of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as she pressed her way through the crowd. She clutched the invitation, praying she would find the front door soon.

“May I help you?”

“Yes, I’m here for the party.”

“Your invitation, please.”

Feeling icky, she handed over the damp invitation.

“Welcome, Miss Beatrice Winchester. There is plenty of food and drinks available, at no extra charge. Bathrooms are to the right of the event hall. Stay as long as you like. Did you drive here?”

“No sir, I took an Uber.”

He nodded. “That’s pleasant to hear. Some guests do drive themselves, and we usually have to take away their keys. We are glad that you won’t be one of them tonight. We are very safety-conscious.”

Beatrice smiled, although feeling even more uncomfortable, if that was possible.

“Well, Miss Winchester, please enjoy your evening. We are delighted in your presence. If you need anything at all, please find one of the staff members.”

Beatrice smiled, thanked the man and woman, and tipped the doorman.

She climbed the stairs, feeling a blister form on her left heel.

“Oh dear. The shoes are coming off sooner than I thought.”

—-

The cold air was welcomed, although the event hall was packed and humid. Beatrice lost count at 200 people, although the room easily held 500. There weren’t many tables and chairs, just the smattering of high cocktail tables in the four corners. There was a massive dance floor. The string quartet was ending Moonlight Sonata as she searched the room.

She absent-mindedly fiddled with her sequined clutch, trying to figure out her next move. The string quartet bowed, and polite applause rose. She clapped along. As the string quartet departed, she saw someone approach a small stage with a microphone.

“Welcome, everyone, to the first society party of the year. We are delighted that so many of you have joined us this early in the evening. We have a lot of great entertainment lined up tonight. We also have food and drinks at no extra charge. We are expecting about 500 people total. Please, enjoy yourselves. I’ll be back shortly to introduce the next entertainment.”

Polite applause rose again as the man departed. Recorded pop music started up from the speakers, and a few women started dancing.

—-

Beatrice was tempted to become one with a wall, but pictured her mother’s face. She was so thrilled this day had come, even though Dad had to take the obligatory photos because Mom was sick in bed, again. She could barely speak, hardly able to tell Beatrice she loved her.

She pictured Mom’s face, then Dad’s. Even though she felt she was floundering in every aspect of life, she knew Mom and Dad were proud of her. After Evan died three years ago, this was such a bright spot. Beatrice was determined to keep buzzing along, even if it was only for one night to buoy her parents’ spirits.

“Hi! I’m Abigail. What’s your name?”

Beatrice smiled. “Hi, I’m Beatrice. Nice to meet you.”

“Do you dance?”

Beatrice shrugged. “I’m pretty daft.”

Abigail laughed. “I’m terrible, but anyone who tells me to my face that can shove it. Come on!”

Beatrice was swept up in the dancing. All the girls on the floor were kind, almost too polite. There was Abigail, Mallory, Melody, Emily, and Wren. Another girl named Ashley soon joined in.

“Where are the guys?”

Beatrice laughed, trying to catch her breath. “I think they’re all intimidated by us.”

Mallory whooped. “They’re all jealous. We’re the best dancers in this whole lot.”

The girls danced for another half-hour, until “Uptown Funk” ended.

—-

Abigail and Mallory, clearly the most experienced society party-goers, showed the rest of the girls the ropes.

“We come for the dancing, and the drinks!”

Beatrice smiled. “So, how is this different from going out to the pub or club?”

Mallory hooted. “This is the fanciest of them all. I love getting dressed up. Sure, my mum is always thrilled and fusses over me, but I get a kick of every party. Some of my gals have found husbands, a few left their guys and fell in love with girls, and the rest of us love being single and partying it up every season.”

“Is there an age limit?”

Abigail waved her hand. “Kind of. The upper age is around 30. It’s ‘expected’ that you have a job, a family by then. But I scoff. I’m 28. As long as I keep getting invited, I’m coming. It’s nice to get dressed up, get your hair done, full makeup, and let loose a little.”

Beatrice shifted. “I’m still pretty uncomfortable.”

Mallory snorted slightly. “I felt that way my first party, too. I didn’t want my taxi to leave. The driver was so handsome, too.”

Beatrice relaxed a bit. “That’s how I felt, too. My Uber driver is pretty hot, if I do say so myself.”

It turned out that five of the girls had been James’s passengers at least a couple of times. He was evidently very popular.

—-

“Is he married?” One of the youngest girls, Evelyn, asked dreamily.

Beatrice smiled, and thought she recognized Evelyn.

As Mallory answered in the negative, Beatrice kept glancing at Evelyn.

“Evelyn, darling, where do you live?”

She was startled by Beatrice’s question.

“233 Cornwall.”

“That’s my building!”

“Come off it, really? Which floor?”

Abigail leaned over and whispered to Mallory. “Every single time. There are people who live in the same buildings, and don’t even know it.”

Beatrice relaxed even further after meeting Evelyn. They quickly made plans to meet up again. Beatrice didn’t even need that big glass of Chardonnay to quell her nerves, although she appreciated the offer. She enjoyed herself as the night slipped away. The ladies ate, drank a bit, flirted, and danced.

—-

About 450 guests showed up. The party got a bit raucous after one the most sought-after DJs in the city was revealed to be the main entertainment.

Beatrice felt herself buzzing with her new friends, enjoying the diversity of the group. Abigail and Mallory were the most experienced. Evelyn was starry-eyed the whole time.

Emily danced her feet off with one guy who kept undressing her with his eyes, not that she noticed. Melody was making the rounds with three different girls, trying not to tip off any of them.

Ashley was feeling insecure about transitioning from Adam, but she felt inspired by all the women.

Wren was swept up with a guy that everyone else thought was creepy. He ended up getting kicked out a few hours later because he got himself uproariously drunk, tried to steal the microphone from the DJ, and projectile vomited on the security guards as they were escorting them out.

Abigail jabbed her thumb in his direction and giggled, laying her head on Mallory’s shoulder. “That’s another thing that happens. Every. Single. Time. Without fail. We always laugh at the crazy drunk ones. They get hauled out, and we all dissolve into giggles.”

Evelyn sipped her wine, feeling a bit unsteady.

“Beatrice?”

“Yes, Evelyn?”

“Can I share your Uber home with you? I’m feeling sleepy.”

Abigail chuckled. “That’s the wine talking, dear.”

Evelyn blushed. “It is my first party.”

Mallory sighed. “Don’t go yet, girls. Please!”

Evelyn stifled a yawn. “I’ll go easier on the wine. Next time.”

Beatrice smiled, and helped Evelyn to her feet. “Come on, sweetie, let’s get James and go home.”

Evelyn laid her head on Beatrice’s shoulder. “Yes, let’s do that. Help me not slobber all over him? Deal?”

Beatrice waved at the other girls as Evelyn chattered on.

“Until the next party, girls! Let’s do this again soon.”

James was as handsome as ever, helping Evelyn and Beatrice into the backseat.

As Evelyn dozed off within minutes, James caught Beatrice’s eye.

“Did you have a good time, Miss Winchester?”

“Yes, I did, indeed. And please, call me Beatrice. Thank you for driving us home, James. I have several new friends. And I can’t wait for the next society party.”

James raised an eyebrow, and they both laughed.

“I’m glad you had a good time, Beatrice. Most society invitees do. And making new friends is always good and fun. Thanks for trusting me to drive both of you.”

“We look forward to requesting you again, hopefully soon.”

James smiled, and focused back on the empty streets. Beatrice sighed, checked on Evelyn, and stared out the window. As she watched the city lights pass by, she sighed happily. Mom and Dad would be thrilled, and she was satisfied, too. She wondered when the next fancy envelope with calligraphy would be in her mailbox.

Even if she never got another one, she knew she’d made at least seven new friends tonight, and that was a pretty successful night in her book.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #220: Reflections, on My Birthday

Image Credit: lilyandval.com

This is my fifth birthday reflection post! I can’t believe I started this annual tradition in 2016. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts from 20172018, and 2019.

Here we are, 2020! I mentioned in my 2019 post that it had been a roller-coaster ride. Well, 2020 has been one for the books! And it’s only August!


We celebrated having Phineas and Ferb in our lives and our home for the first year in December. They have truly brought so much joy to our lives.

The biggest change toward the end of 2019 for me was changing jobs. I resigned from my analyst position at Riverside on August 13, 2019. That was a significant moment for me. When I was hired in 2012, I thought I would be with Riverside for 10+ years. I saw legacy employees everywhere. I lasted 6 1/2 years, which is now impressive to me, mainly because of the 30-mile-each-way commute I drove every day, five days a week, for 5 1/2 of those years. It got old. But I loved what I did.

An opportunity in Norfolk presented itself in February, and I had my first interview pretty quickly. Months went by, and by the middle of July, I’d figured the team had hired someone else. Lo and behold, I got a call for a second interview at the end of July. I interviewed with the vice president of the department, and I was hopeful, but it was hard to not get excited. I was offered the job a few days after my birthday. I started my role as the Managed Care Contract Analyst for Sentara Healthcare on September 3, 2019.

The first few months, until Christmastime, were difficult. I asked myself several times if I’d made the right choice. I had a couple ugly breakdowns, snot-crying, all of it. But, after the holidays ended, I finally started to feel at peace. I wasn’t the new girl anymore, because a new director came on board before Thanksgiving. I was starting to mesh well with my team, and it was remarkable to notice the differences between the two health systems. As I drove the 14 miles to work in Norfolk, rather than 30+ miles to Newport News, I felt more at ease.

Then, on March 17th, everything changed again. We had our last in-person team meeting, a quick huddle in the afternoon. Because of the virus that we now know as COVID-19, many people in our office were asked to begin working from home, effective immediately.

I set up my personal laptop on one of my parents’ old card tables in my home office, and seethed for the first two weeks. I was miserable. This virus was not only scary, but everything that I enjoyed doing was taken away almost instantaneously – Having date nights with Al at restaurants, movie theaters, hugging my family, traveling, regular meetings for P.E.O. and AAPC, and running the computer and projectors for church services on the third Sunday of every month. Our 20th Anniversary blood drive in April was cancelled because the church was shut down. My extroverted side was scared, sad, and incredibly anxious.

However, as time passed, I pulled myself up out of moping in Al’s old desk chair and started looking at the positives. Al and I were both incredibly fortunate to not only still have our jobs, but that we were both able to work from home. I bought an awesome sit-stand desk on sale, and Al did the same. I bought a computer monitor to mimic my two screens in my cube. Al and I downloaded all the grocery store apps and started ordering online. My anxiety started to ease. I dove into editing the first draft of my first novel for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I spent a lot more time with Phineas and Ferb. I started getting my home office into shape.

Now, having nearly five months of this “new normal” in the rear-view mirror, I’m happier. I’ve stayed productive at home with work, blogging, my novels, P.E.O., AAPC, and other obligations. We’ve saved a ton of money because of the reduced need for gas, car maintenance, and tolls. Sure, our grocery budget increased, but I think a lot of people did that. Fortunately, and most importantly, everyone in our immediate families has stayed healthy and safe. My 94-year-old Grandpa left Florida, moved in with my parents, and sold his condo within five weeks.

We put a new roof on the house and garage. We’ve started making plans for new siding, gutters, and windows. I accomplished my Camp NaNoWriMo goal for July. I’m primed to finish the second edit of my first novel for my alpha readers by the end of August. Al and I will celebrate 10 years together on September 4th. While we can’t celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary at Galaxy’s Edge in Disney World this fall, I bought the official cookbook, and can’t wait to spend a few days off with Al in November to celebrate.

Cheers to 32!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #111: “50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked”

Image Credit: Medium

I stumbled upon this article when I was researching a daily film challenge post for Facebook. The question that day was: “A film where a character has a job you want.”

My answer: Finding Forrester (2000)


Here’s the link to the article about the 50 best films:

50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked |Flavorwire

Now, granted, this particular article was published in 2014. But, I wanted to take a closer look at these movies and offer my thoughts.

50. Sylvia (2003) — I have not seen this.

49. Finding Forrester (2000) — I have seen this movie, and I like it. I want to watch it again.

48. Total Eclipse (1995) — I have not seen this.

47. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994) — I have not seen this.

46. Deathtrap (1982) — I have not seen this.

45. Henry Fool (1997) — I have not seen this.

44. Manhattan (1979) — I have not seen this.

43. Barfly (1987) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

42. The Pillow Book (1996) — I have not seen this.

41. My Left Foot (1989) — I have seen this movie, and I like it.

40. American Splendor (2003) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

39. Swimming Pool (2003) — I have not seen this.

38. The Front (1976) — I have not seen this.

37. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) — I have seen this movie, and I like it. I want to watch it again.

36. Ruby Sparks (2012) — I have seen this, and it’s a good movie!

35. Impromtu (1991) — I have not seen this.

34. Kill Your Darlings (2013) — I have not seen this, but I want to.

33. Contempt (1963) — I have not seen this.

32. Prick Up Your Ears (1987) — I have not seen this.

31. Adult World (2013) — I have not seen this.

30. Julia (1977) — I have not seen this.

29. Poetic Justice (1993) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

28. Fellini’s Casanova (1976) — I have not seen this.

27. Shakespeare in Love (1998) — I have seen this, but it’s not my favorite.

26. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) — I have seen this, and it’s an excellent movie.

25. Midnight in Paris (2011) — I have not seen this.

24. Iris (2001) — I have not seen this.

23. Before Sunset (2004) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

22. The Door in the Floor (2004) — I have not seen this.

21. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) — I have seen pieces of this, and I want to watch it in full.

20. Misery (1990) — I have seen this, and I want to watch it again.

19. Before Night Falls (2000) — I have not seen this.

18. Deconstructing Harry (1997) — I have not seen this.

17. The World According to Garp (1982) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

16. The Hours (2002) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

15. Naked Lunch (1991) — I have not seen this.

14. Starting Out in the Evening (2007) — I have not seen this.

13. Bright Star (2009) — I have not seen this.

12. Young Adult (2011) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

11. Certified Copy (2010) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.

10. A Man For All Seasons (1966) — I have not seen this.

9. The Shining (1980) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

8. Providence (1977) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

7. Sunset Boulevard (1950) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

6. My Brilliant Career (1979) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.

5. Adaptation (2002) — I have seen this movie, and it’s excellent. I want to watch it again.

4. An Angel at My Table (1990) — I have not seen this.

3. Wonder Boys (2000) — I have seen this movie, and it’s excellent. I want to watch it again.

2. Barton Fink (1991) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

(1) Reprise (2006) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.


What do you think about these 50 movies? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #29: The Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

Thank you so much, Bhagyashree, for nominating me! Check our their blog, inkandthoughts.com, for lots of fun and engaging posts.

Here’s the post where I was nominated: Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award


The Rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link to their blog

2. Make a post of the award (with photo) 

3. Post the rules 

4. Ask 5-10 questions of your choice

 5. Nominate 10-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them. 

6. Follow Vincent Ehindero @ vincentehindero.wordpress.com (to qualify for free blog promotion and shoutout) and more blogging opportunities.


Questions I Was Asked:

  1. Is there a cheesy movie you secretly love to watch?
  2. What is the funniest thing you have seen a stranger do?
  3. What would you choose; an act of chivalry with your favorite hero or a chance to read the personal diary of your most loved villain?
  4. Which is the one thing (item) you never share with anyone?
  5. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you come across an amazing blog?
  6. Which is your spirit comic character?
  7. How would you describe your blogging journey so far in three words?

My Answers:

  1. Grease (1978) is one of my favorite cheesy movies.
  2. The funniest thing I’ve seen a stranger do is … I can’t remember anything significant.
  3. I would choose an act of chivalry with my favorite hero. I would love to do this alongside Captain America.
  4. One item I never share with anyone is my wedding rings. They’re probably too small for most people.
  5. When I come across an amazing blog, I want to read all the posts that have been published.
  6. My spirit comic character is Stargirl.
  7. Fun, challenging, inspirational.

Questions For My Nominees:

  1. What was the last thing you watched on YouTube or an equivalent video streaming site?
  2. If you could costume play (cosplay) as any character, which one would you pick, and why?
  3. What year did you start blogging?
  4. Which book would you buy, and give to a friend?
  5. What is the oldest thing you own?
  6. Do you have a dream animal that you want to have?
  7. If you could get paid a minimum of $60,000 per year, what job would you happily do or perform?
  8. What type of house would you build if everything was already paid for?
  9. What’s your favorite flower?

My Nominees:

  1. Kristian – Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  2. Sara – The Bibliophagist
  3. Destiny – Howling Libraries
  4. Phoenix – Penable
  5. Tiana – The Book Raven
  6. Ariel Lynn – Writing Radiation
  7. Caz – Invisibly Me
  8. Didi Oviatt
  9. kyera
  10. stoneronarollercoaster
  11. Book Princess Reviews

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #6: The Ebony And Fire Writing Club – What Projects Are You Working On?

Welcome back!

Buckle up, friends. Expect a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club coming to you every week for the foreseeable future!

I’m so thrilled with the reaction and support that I received earlier this week when I announced that I was joining the club in my Writing Adventures #5 post. If you’re interested, contact Tiana or Phoenix!


Here’s the link to Tiana’s newest post: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club: What Projects are you Working on?

Here’s the link to Phoenix’s newest post: From The Ebony and Fire Writing Club: Tell Us What You’re Working On!

Also, here’s the link to the main club page: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club


Here’s my details!

My Current Writing Project

I’m currently editing my draft of “Experiences From Camp.” This is the novel that I started during my first-ever NaNoWriMo in November 2012. It took 6 1/2 years, but I finished the first draft on March 30, 2019. I’ve sent it to several people to read and critique since then, and I’ve received some really good feedback.

For Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020, I printed out the first draft, threw it in a binder, and went to town with a blue pen and hot pink Post-It notes. Now, coupled with the reader feedback I’ve received so far, I’m translating it into a second draft on the computer. Once the second draft is done, I’ll send it back to my readers. I have set a deadline of sending the second draft to my readers no later than June 30, 2020.

Writing Advice

You don’t have to write a novel! You may enjoy writing poetry, fan fiction, blog posts, short stories, or free verse. It doesn’t have to end up as a book or something published. As long as you’re writing, that’s amazing! You have a gift. And, since you’re on WordPress, you’re creating!

I recently wrote a short story for a contest, and I had so much fun! It was a great way to stretch myself and actually submit something.


What are you working on?

If you feel comfortable, tell me what you’re working on in the comments! I’ve always enjoyed supporting others and being a cheerleader.


Stay tuned for another Writing Adventures post, coming soon!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #5: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club

Image Credit: H.R. Phoenix

I’m embarking upon a new adventure! It’s been well over a year since my last Writing Adventures post, but this one is special.

Here’s the link to Tiana’s original post: The Raven Writer’s Accountability Club

Together with Phoenix, she’s starting a club of writers. It’s so exciting!


After her original announcement, they changed a few things. Here’s Tiana’s update post: Announcement! The Ebony and Fire Writing Club

Here’s the link to Phoenix’s post: New: Join the Ebony and Fire Writing Club Now


If you’re interested, click on either one the Ebony and Fire Writing Club posts, and comment with your name.

The idea is those who want to participate will do a weekly post about the progress they’ve made with their work.

Tiana and Phoenix are also setting up donation pages through Ko-fi (Please note: This part is completely optional, it’s not a requirement to join) to give club members special access to writing advice, tips, tricks, and inspiration.

I’m really excited to participate! I’ve admired Tiana since she started her blog, and I’m looking forward to getting to know Phoenix better, along with the other club members.


What about you? Have you joined any blogging clubs or groups? What abour on social media?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #105: “I Wrote A Research Paper About The Publishing Industry … Here’s What I Found”

Image Credit: The Reedsy Blog

I thought Charis Rae’s research was so awesome, I wanted to share it!

Here’s the link to Charis Rae’s post: I Wrote A Research Paper About the Publishing Industry … Here’s What I Found


Charis brought up some excellent points and statistics. Here are a few of them:

  • Nearly 100,000 books were published by major publishing companies in the United States in the year 2019.
  • In 2018, more than 1.6 million books were self-published digitally and physically.
  • The odds of getting a publishing contract is 1 in 4 (25 percent), according to a 2014 report.
  • If you choose to self-publish with Amazon, you will get roughly 70 percent of the profits.
  • A traditionally published author will only receive 6-10 percent of the royalties.

Reading her analysis, it’s pretty obvious that self-publishing is the easiest way to get your book out to potential readers. However, you also face stiffer competition because there are far more self-published titles available by volume, and for less money. If you haven’t, just take a glance at Amazon Books, plus their Kindle Store. It’s overwhelming.

That said, there’s other booksellers, and publishers, than just Amazon. Many traditional book publishers still exist – HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Kodansha, Scholastic. In terms of other stores, there’s Barnes & Noble, Walmart, ThriftBooks, Books A Million, 2nd and Charles, Waterstones (UK), Strand Books, Book Depository, and even eBay.

In addition, you can also request Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) through sites like NetGalley. Several of my friends have done that.

I was really impressed with Charis Rae’s research and analysis! I hope you take the time to read her post.

Also, consider your sources when you purchase books. Of course, I will always recommend borrowing books from the library or getting e-books if you’re into that (I’m not, but that’s just a personal preference). Amazon makes it really easy and convenient, but I encourage you to think outside the box a bit, and consider other sellers once in a while. For example, I bought a copy of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson from a friend’s online store through eBay!


As for me and my writing journey, I’ve been studying both avenues for the last several years. I personally want to go the traditional route first, mainly for the experience because I’ve never attempted it. If I find myself struggling after a period of time, I’ll consider the self-publishing route. I’m excited to get my work out there!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #209: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

This was my fifth Camp NaNoWriMo session!

This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.


Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)

On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.

Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.

I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.

I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!

Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!


Final Thoughts

I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.

My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.

Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #248: “April AND May WIP Writing Prompt Challenge (extended): The Temporary Insanity of Our Empty Streets … CONTINUED”

Image Credit: The New York Times

Here’s the link to Didi’s challenge:

April and May WIP Writing Prompt Challenge (extended): The Temporary Insanity of Our Empty Streets … CONTINUED

As an Author/challenge joiner: All you need to do is use the characters from your WIP (work in progress), or even a published works, and plug them into the given scene for a short story style post. It can be funny, serious, deadly, really just whatever you want as long as it’s true to your characters (as in, what they would actually do in this situation)!! It’s a fun way to be creative with those personalities that you as their creator love so much. It’s also a fun way to introduce them to the world and your blogs, without giving away your plots and twists… Just pure ‘meet my characters, and get to know their personalities’ separate from their book.


Donning their cloth masks, Brennan and Kristin both sighed. A simple trip to the grocery store wasn’t simple anymore. It hadn’t been for weeks.

“Okay, B., let’s get in and get out. This is so stressful.”

Brennan reached over the center console and squeezed Kristin’s hand. He wanted to kiss her so badly. Usually, kissing started melting the stress away.

“I know, K. But, we’re here, together. We’re being safe. Right?”

Kristin winced. Everything had gotten harder. She was under the same roof as Brennan, in his own apartment, for the foreseeable future. She should be thrilled! But, then, the lockdown started. And it was driving both of them crazy.

Sure, they’d had a lot of sex, and were generally enjoying spending more time together. But, the simplest things were now so difficult. Brennan had been furloughed. He picked up two different virtual assistant jobs to make up for his one day job. Sitting behind a computer all day was draining. And Kristin, wanting to help keep the lights on and contribute, was able to score a temp job. But it was all online, too.

The apartment was big enough where they could separate for their jobs when they needed to. But, being stuck in a 750-square-foot apartment for days, weeks, and now months, was increasingly challenging.

“Let’s go over the list one more time, and then let’s get this over with.”

Brennan sighed. He loved Kristin, that part was obvious. But, this lockdown was not going the way he’d hoped. His emotions were all over the place. And he felt obligated to help keep Kristin from experiencing a full breakdown. He could see it coming – She was teetering on the edge.

“Okay, milk, eggs, bread, paper towels, bathroom cleaner, toilet paper, if we can find any …”

Kristin sat back in the passenger seat. Brennan saw the tears.

“K., look at me.”

She turned. Two tears spilled out, soaking into the blue floral fabric.

“I love you. I say that to you so much because that’s one thing that won’t be changing. Okay? We can do this. We’re together.”

Kristin sighed. “I love you, too, Brennan. I’m sorry. I feel like all I’m doing is apologizing.”

Brennan stroked her hand, remembering that he needed to use hand sanitizer again before they got out of the car.

“I know you’re sorry. I’m sorry, too. I feel like I haven’t been apologizing enough, you know?”

Kristin leaned over and brushed her lips to his forehead. “What do you feel you’re sorry for?”

Brennan’s eyes turned serious. “I feel bad for inviting you down here, with our colleges closed and shuttered, and then the full lockdown hit. I feel guilty. Maybe selfish, too.”

Kristin laughed slightly. “As frustrating as this lockdown has been, I can’t imagine being alone, living alone, right now. We’re together. We’re healthy. And we’re doing a lot of different things. Your apartment hasn’t been this clean, like, ever. We’re both working. There’s really nothing to feel guilty or selfish about.”

She paused. “Now, let’s get this trip over with. I want to get home, wipe everything down, and then get busy. You know, that busy. That’s the only selfish thing I want.”

Brennan smiled, squeezed her hand, and turned the car off.

“I’m feeling selfish like that, too. Lead the way, darling.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂