Fall Festival

At the very beginning of autumn, while I was still locked up in my house because of allergies, I made a list of all the fun things I wanted to do as soon as I was released from my sneezy cage.

I told you all about this, remember?

We’re definitely skipping the bonfires this year, considering the wildfire that started only a few houses down from us a week ago, but I had so many other things on my list that I’m positive I won’t miss it. And, because I started planning—and scheduling—early, I’ve actually managed to get at least part of the list accomplished!

Starting with a trip to the fall festival with my writer’s group.

It was kind of a crazy trip.

To begin with, we had tickets and plans for the day after the fire at my house. So… I was a little rattled. But determined! We were going to this festival and we were going to have fun if it killed us.It did not kill us, in case you were wondering.

Sadly, the day we decided to go turned out horribly windy, as Colorado is wont to do, but we made the best of it and had a stellar time anyway. It was basically the biggest fall-themed fair in Colorado, with enormous pumpkins and fair food and a corn maze and all of the best things you can possibly think of. We got lost in the corn maze.

More than once.

We’ve officially decided that if we ever find ourselves in an actual maze, I will not be leading the way.

I couldn’t find my way out even if there was only one path all the way through.

It all looks the same, okay? And I’ve always said I have no sense of direction. I get lost in parking lots.

After the corn maze, we went looking for snacks. Because priorities y’all. And, because of my super special fall list, I knew exactly what I wanted.

Hot caramel apple cider.


I’m pretty sure apple cider only tastes good in October. Something about the chill in the air, the pumpkins in the fields, and the yellow leaves.

It was phenomenal, in case you were wondering.

After the snacks, we visited the pumpkin patch, which was absolutely enormous. I’ve never seen so many pumpkins. Think of the pumpkin seeds, think of the pies. It was fabulous.

Did you visit any pumpkin patches this year? Do you plan to? Tell me about it in the comments!

Packing to Run

We had a fire in our valley last week.

A big one.

Really big. It was on the news.

Unfortunately, Colorado is not a good place to have any kind of fire, thus the statewide fire bans that come into effect every single year.

It’s very dry here.

Dry grass, dry brush, dry pine needles.

Fires spread fast.

I was the first one to see the smoke, and my dad and I drove down the road to our neighbor’s house to see what was going on. By the time we got there, the fire trucks were on their way, the house was in flames, and so were the trees.We went home to pack.

Thankfully, the wind was almost nonexistent that day—something that’s very unusual for Colorado—and the small breeze we did have was headed toward the fire, pushing it away from us. So we had a little time and some hope that our property would make it through unscathed. Still, I went back to my house from my parents’ and began loading the car. You know, in case we had to make a run for it.

The only problem was, I had no idea what to bring.

See, usually in cases of fire, they say don’t grab anything. Leave it all, just get out. Right?

But that’s a house fire. When you have minutes to escape and risk not getting out at all. This particular fire was half a mile away and moving away from us, and our route out was clear.

And for the life of me, I couldn’t think of what needed to go into my car in case we did need to leave.

My puppy, certainly. And my cat, who’s older than the hills. But I didn’t want to load either of them until right before we drove down the driveway, mostly because my cat hates change and would probably have had a heart attack just to spite me because I made her leave the house. My husband’s safe, of course, with all our legal documents. My computer, with all the scripts and books I’m currently working on. A few flash drives with backups.

And… what?

It hit me then, how replaceable everything in my home was. And how… unimportant. None of it really felt worth saving. I could buy more books. I could plant another apple tree and buy a new desk chair. Nothing in my home was so valuable or irreplaceable that I cared enough to worry whether or not it made it through the fire.

So I packed an overnight bag and went to sit with my sisters and the rest of my family, to watch the smoke and listen to the news and hope that our property and our trees and everything else that was irreplaceable would be okay.

It was an odd feeling. This property is my home. I plan to live here for the greater part of my life, if not the rest of it. My family was safe, so were my pets. The house and all the things I’ve collected in it, those are all replaceable, but the trees, the land, our farm?

Those are the things I’m attached to. The ones I don’t want to leave behind.

The fire burned 21 acres before the fire department put it out. It never turned back toward us, and, weirdly enough, it wasn’t until it was out and over with that we could finally smell the smoke. But it reminded me how fragile our existence can be, and how easily the things that matter can slip away. I’m still sorting through how that made me feel.

A Day In The Life

I am a full-time writer. I’ve mentioned that about a million times on this blog, along with noting that I run my own business as a freelancer. But today, I’d like to dive a little deeper into what that looks like on a daily basis.I’ll give you a hint.

I don’t actually spend my entire day writing.

Nor, strangely enough, do I spend my whole day in my pajamas, although I work from home and generally spend the majority of my time with my kitty and my newly acquired puppy. No boss checking that I’m meeting dress code here! Except for me, and I have my own policies about that. But, we’ll get into that. In short, this is what a typically day as a freelance scriptwriter looks like.

5:30 – 7 AM: My alarm goes off stupidly early. My husband sets it for me every night, usually because I’m already buried in my blankets and stick my head out to ask if he will. He’s a good sport. I like to get up before the sunrise to get a start on my day before the rest of the world is awake and jostling for my attention. It gives me some space. Now that we have a puppy in the house, I take her out on her leash to use the bathroom, then walk over to my parents’ house to jump on their rebound mini trampoline.

People always laugh at me for the jumping thing. They can’t seem to figure out why I do it, and it weirds them out. Simply put, this is my time. I stick my headphones in, and I work on my books. Stories don’t just show up, you know. You have to plan them. You have to make space for dreaming and talking with characters and imagination, and this is my space. If I don’t have this time, I don’t have books. Period. You might say this is one of the most important parts of my day as a writer.

7 – 8 AM: When I get home, I clean. Obsessively. I find it very hard to be creative if the dishes aren’t done or the floor isn’t swept, so before my day really gets started, I make sure that all the little chores are well and truly finished. This is also when I get dressed—no pajamas here. I’ve learned through a bit of trial and error that I feel 100% better if I’m dressed for work and have done my hair and makeup. It’s the little things.

8 – 9 AM: I study Spanish with Duolingo. This is one of my weirder habits—it has nothing to do with my career, probably won’t be relevant to my daily life anytime soon, and as much as I enjoy it, I probably will never become a fluent—or even competent—Spanish speaker. But it’s something new and different for my brain to do, and it keeps me sharp.

9 – 12 AM: This is my first big ‘chunk of work’ for the day. I generally have meetings during this time to discuss scripts, casting, story problems, or just provide updates for deadlines and revisions that need to happen. When I’m not in meetings, I’m writing. Depending on the day, I might be throwing together an outline for the team to approve for a script, or drafting a chapter for one of my two books in progress, or writing dialogue for a script. This is all usually accompanied by a cup of tea, trips outside with the puppy, and my kitty attempting to crawl into my lap to get the love and attention she deserves.

12 – 2 PM: Lunch, another trip outside with the puppy, and maybe if I have time, I’ll walk over to my parents house to see actual human people and jump. Another brainstorm session helps get me back in the game for an afternoon of writing.

2 – 4 PM: More writing. Afternoons are hard, y’all. This is when I start falling asleep. Music generally helps, and sprints with my writers’ group over text. When we’re all working, it always encourages me to get more words in. If I’m working on books that particular day, this is also where I will switch projects. 1000 words in the morning for one book, 1000 words in the afternoon for another. We don’t always hit that, but we try.

4 – 6 PM: I’m prepping dinner, listening to crime podcasts or an audio book, and taking the puppy out for a good romp before the husband gets home and we eat together.

6 – 9 PM: This is supposed to be free time. It really, really is. But if I’ve got a tight deadline on a script that I’m trying to meet, or if I happen to be feeling particularly inspired, I’ll curl up on my couch with my computer and get in a few hundred extra words. My cat usually sits on top of me, and my husband plays video games next to me, so it’s all very cozy. Or, if my writers’ group is up for it, we’ll toss out a few prompts through text and free write for a while—which is always good for creativity and opens up dozens of interesting doors.

There you have it! This is what a typical day as a freelance writer looks like—at least in my neck of the woods. This was an enormously long post, but if you’ve ever wondered what a writer actually does in a day, now you know!