What Day Is It?


Does anyone else get a little discombobulated during the holidays?

I do.

My routine gets dropped, I go on vacation, eat too much food, forget to write, and by the time everything is finished I can’t remember what day it is or what I usually do with myself on a normal workday.

Thankfully, this only happens once or twice a year.

Seriously, though, Christmas this year was a blast. After missing both my parents through November and celebrating Thanksgiving without my mum, it was good to have them both back and the family semi-reassembled.

Sure, we were missing—let’s see—nine people, but we managed.

A lot of our food didn’t get eaten.

We’re still used to buying for a lot more than ten.

Which means more treats for New Year’s Eve!

Despite the lack of siblings and their spouses, we managed to have a blast. We ate egg McMuffins, opened presents, threw pillows at each other, opened more presents, skyped with said missing siblings, opened still more presents, threw a mountain of trash away, ate shrimp and played board games. Like I said, it was a blast.

There was also chocolate involved.

A lot of chocolate.

Since we were more focused on hanging out, throwing pillows, and having fun, I forgot to take pictures. So you’ll have to take my word for it.


Now the New Year is about ready to roll around, and I am thinking about more than Christmas and my days off and the family I’m missing. (Hi guys!) My routine is starting again, I’m back at work, and I’ve begun to wonder what 2020 has in store for me.

I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of books involved.

Mostly books I’m going to read.

I’m thinking there will be some writing too, and I’m hoping for a few trips and possibly a chance to see my tiny nephew. (What?? I have a nephew????) There also may or may not be a building project in the works, but I think I’ll keep that under my hat for now. Beyond that, I am mostly preparing myself for a whirlwind of surprises, and I’m excited to get started!

How was your Christmas? Tell me about it in the comments, and let me know what your year ahead looks like!

Christmas Parties


I am not generally a ‘party’ kind of person.

Honestly, if you know anything about me, you know this. I spent my childhood hiding from parties. In my room, in the woods, in books, and in stories out of my own head.

Once, I hid in a rabbit hutch.

Someone found me.

I’m still bitter about it, if you were wondering. I think I should have been safe in a rabbit hutch.

But now that I’m pretending to be an adult, I go to parties. Apparently, that’s part of the deal. Of course, I’m still an introvert who needs time to recharge and hide away with my books, but when a party comes up, I don’t run. Usually.

This year, I hosted a Christmas party.

I was so proud of myself.

My writers’ group had our first ever Christmas party together this weekend. We ate awesome food, drank sparkling cider, exchanged gifts, and talked about books. It was lovely. These girls are my best friends, my mostly companions, and my support group. They understand my strange rants, support my flashes of inspiration, and keep me centered.

I love them.

I was also apparently preoccupied completely with our party when it happened, because I didn’t take a single picture. Not even one, although I meant to take a few, just to prove that I can, in fact, throw a party.

Oh well.

Next time.

I also had a work Christmas party this week. We played Whirlyball. Which is basically lacrosse with bumper cars. Since I’m not competitive, coordinated, or athletic AT ALL, I was a little worried that it would turn out to be an embarrassing experience. But bumper cars tend to level the playing field, and I had so much more fun than I expected.

Neither of these parties called for high extroversion or meeting a lot of strangers, but I’ve decided to count them as my quota this year. I have one more Christmas party with some younger siblings planned, then this introvert is going back into hiding. Until then . . . Merry Christmas!

Do you have any Christmas events planned? Tell me about them in the comments!

Christmas Is Coming!


I love December.

Christmas lights, music, snow, parties and presents and people we love.

Yep, it’s my favorite.

I already bought all my Christmas presents, if you can believe that. And wrapped them.

Chocolate wine was involved.

And Christmas movies.

It was a good day.

But now that November is past and Thanksgiving is behind us, life is beginning to feel more normal again. My mom is back from her extended visit to my sister in Virginia, my dad is finished with multiple business trips, and it feels like we are starting to settle again after a crazy month.

Thank goodness.

So, now it’s time for Christmas!

My own house won’t be getting much decoration this year, considering that two of us live in this tiny house and there is not much extra room, but my family did a beautiful job at the Big House. There are lights and wreaths and a tree with candy canes, and that’s good enough for me. At least for this year. December is generally a whirlwind in our house, and I have definitely felt that this year. Christmas presents to buy, invitations, Christmas parties at work, decorating. Not everyone is here this year, and I have siblings scattered all over the world (literally), so Amazon is a great help.

Amazon and my address book.

Thankfully, my Christmas presents are wrapped and I only have two parties to plan, so I’ll be attempting to find some evenings and weekends to relax and enjoy the Christmas season without the hurry. Maybe a few Christmas movies. And some music. And a book or two.

We’ll see what I find time to squeeze in.

What are some Christmas traditions that you have to keep the season from becoming too hectic? Tell me about them in the comments!

Interview With An Artist

Eeek! Guess what?

I got to interview the beautiful woman who did the illustrations for my books: Of Mice and Fairies and Of Bullfrogs and Snapdragons. I could talk about her forever, but she talked a lot about herself, so I’ll let you hear it from her. 

What’s it like working for an author? (Specifically . . . me.)

It’s like making Christmas presents for people, but with more serious deadlines. It’s definitely more stressful because you can get it wrong. The lead up to showing them the illustrations is fun and exciting, but then they might not like everything you do. You’re essentially taking the world in their head and putting it onto paper, without being able to see what exactly is in their head in the first place. It’s tricky to capture the magic.

What were you the most nervous about when you started this job?

Probably the deadlines. I had a lot to do in a very short amount of time. Reading the book took a while, then rereading it over and over again to choose which illustrations I wanted to do and where to put them. Finding something in each chapter to represent the feel of it was really tricky because there wasn’t always a physical object that would fit the feel and the style. 

What was the most difficult character to draw in the books?

Probably Lumpkin, because he was one of the ones I did with a full face and figure. I’ve seen so many other illustrations in books where they’ve done too much detail and left no room for imagination. I really tried to avoid that with all of the illustrations I did for these books. I chose to do mostly animals or an indirect view of the characters so as to leave more room for imagination.

Which character do you relate to the most in ‘Of Bullfrogs and Snapdragons’?

Oh, that would definitely be Lester Winklestep. Hedgehogs are very homey individuals. They like peace and quiet, and they are very laid-back. But, they are also curious and interested in life, despite doing life in a very relaxed way. Also, I just want to be a hedgehog. They are the cutest.

Which character do you most want as a companion?

Oh, Eve. She’s super spunky and tons of fun and I feel like she would bring a lot of energy to whatever environment she was in. Also, she would fit in my pockets. Which I find enjoyable. She would be quite easy to carry around. And she’s not as sassy and obnoxious as Belinda. (But don’t tell her I said that.)

What other work do you do outside of illustrating my books? Brag on yourself a little.

I am a pyrography artist. For people who don’t know, pyrography is defined as ‘writing with fire’, which I find super cool. I mostly do animal portraits. I’ve been commissioned to do people’s pets before, but my more enjoyable projects are of more exotic animals—tigers and moose and ducks because ducks are the best animals in the world. I am obsessed with detail. I cannot do sketches, because I do it way too detailed and it ends up not being a sketch any longer.

What made you want to be an artist?

I first started liking the idea of doing artwork when I was probably about six. One of my older sisters would draw horses for me to color, and she inspired me to start drawing animals of my own. But my career really began when I started creating board games with my brother. Together, we would draw fantasy animals and name them and create worlds for them. I still have those animals. They had weird names.

Where can people find other drawings you’ve done?

In Wayne Thomas Batson’s book, The Sword in Stars, for one. The design for the Stormgarden coat of arms was done by me. Also, my pyrography work can be found in my Etsy shop, ENoelBurnings. And I have plenty of pictures on my Instagram. I also post progress shots, because I love progress shots.

And, last and more importantly, because I personally want to know . . . if you owned an elephant, where would you keep it?

Probably in my library. Sitting on an elephant while reading would open up a lot of space for imagination. That would be grand. Also, my library is going to be huge, so there will be plenty of room. A library is the most important room in the house, so if you had something as special as an elephant, that would be the place to keep it.

Isn’t she wonderful? I love her so much. Go check out her artwork at ENoelBurnings, and get your copy of Of Bullfrogs and Snapdragons on Amazon!