Your Mileage May Vary: The Bone Shard Daughter

Hello all and welcome to another (slightly late) edition of Your Mileage May Vary, the book review series where I discuss books I actually finished! This week I’ll be discussing The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart.

But, before we get started, as always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

And I really mean it this time. I’m extra spoilery today. Alright, let’s get to it.

Continue reading “Your Mileage May Vary: The Bone Shard Daughter”

Leap of Faith

Hello and welcome to another fast and loose edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

It’ll be a quick one today, friends, since I’m short on time.

I’m not a religious person, nor a big believer in fate, or serendipity, or karma. But last month, I was in a real pinch financially thanks to the devastating winter storm that displaced me and my family from our home for almost three weeks. Desperate, I went online looking for ways to monetize my writing and the results were… disappointing to say the least. Breaking into freelancing seemed impossible for someone like me with no college degree or relevant experience. I was looking into other gig work when, quite by chance, while absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter, I came across a tweet advertising a freelance writing opportunity.

What could it hurt, I thought, to send an email to the attached address and just ask.

Well, as it turns out, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, it could help a lot.

I won’t say anymore since things are still very much in the early stages, and, who knows, maybe it’ll turn out that I won’t be good for this kind of work after all.

That said, just applying for the opportunity has given me a fresh perspective into the life of a working writer, and my own capabilities. I’ve never done this kind of work before. I’ve never had to submit writing samples or pitches, or work on a deadline that wasn’t of my own creation. Every response to every step I have taken, I have convinced myself that this will be the email that tells me I’m not a good fit.

Yet that hasn’t happened. And as I approach the point of no return, the moment of real commitment, I find myself confronting a new emotion about the whole endeavor: hope.

Wish me luck!

Continue reading “Leap of Faith”

Dream a Little Dream

Hello and welcome to another whimsical edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.

To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.

So, I was being chased…

Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.

But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.

I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?

daydreaming

It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.

But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.

I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.

weird is cool

Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.

Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.

Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.

A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.

I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.

I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).

But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.


I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.

What are some of your dreams?


That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Writing From the Bathroom Floor

Hello and welcome to another anecdotal edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

As many of you surely know by now, I’ve been having a rough time lately. My family and I are still shacked up in the hotel (though, hopefully, our nearly 2-week long stay will be over tomorrow or Saturday, so long that the repairs to our pipes go well) which has made not just for financial stress but social stress as well. It’s not easy living with five people in the same room.

One of the hardest parts, for me, has been turning off the light at 8:30 and sitting in the dark. I have my laptop to entertain me, but I’ve worn out the few games I have on it and, as most everyone surely knows by now, I draft my creative projects longhand and so my computer is almost useless to me in that regard.

For the first week of our stay, I wrote as much as could while the lights were still on and settled in with my kindle, or played a video game on my laptop when the lights went out. The problem with that was: well, there wasn’t actually a lot of writing getting done during that lights-on time. Between eating our nightly takeout, the TV being on, and the kids – not having all their typical forms of entertainment – needing my attention more than usual, my nightly word output was… lacking. Half the time I didn’t get anything done at all.

Now, I don’t believe in any advice that deals in absolutes.

Always use ‘said’ or never use adverbs. Write every day. Only write what you know.

You get the idea.

So, it would have been really easy to just forgive myself for not being able to write during a really difficult few weeks. But, by the start of the second week, not only did I have a wealth of creative energy pent up, but I needed a way to vent my ever increasing anxiety (anxiety about how messy our room was getting, anxiety about the cost, anxiety about my dogs who have been staying at my mother’s, anxiety about how much longer it would be, etc). We were stuck in a holding pattern. There was nothing for me to do to make our situation better.

Monday evening ended up being really busy. My son just started a regimen of allergy shots and it was my daughter’s first day back in gymnastics after the gym shut down for COVID concerns last year. By the time I got a chance to take my shoes off, it was already time to tuck the babies in and turn out the lights.

And I still hadn’t done anything.

Exhausted, yet still unable to sleep and having worn out all my usual tricks, I mulled my options. I could drive back to my house for a few private hours only to return when I needed to pee or sleep, whichever came first. I could go straight to bed and catch up on sleep. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write. And to write, I needed light. So, I went to the bathroom, notebook in hand, and sat down on the floor.

My phone was nearly dead so I had left it on the charger. I was completely without distractions for the first time in weeks.

I’d love to tell you I wrote 10,000 words without breaking a sweat and went to bed exhilarated. But my mama didn’t raise no liar.

Three pages, just over 1000 words, in about 90 minutes was what I managed before my aching back (and ass for that matter) told me it was time to pack it in. I was worn out mentally and physically, and I told myself it hadn’t been worth it for such a modest output.

Then, the strangest thing happened. I got up in the morning and felt just a little bit lighter. Not only had I gotten over a bit of creative block I’d had following a monster of a scene that took me weeks to complete, but I’d actually helped ease some of the tension I’d been carrying around. Writing had been a fresh distraction, with an added bonus of allowing me to feel productive for a change. It felt good.

So I went back the next night. And I’ll probably go back again tonight. Because sometimes, writers just gotta write.


I completely meant for this blog post to be kind of a generalized thing about how to write in the creases, even if your creases is just one big chunk on a bathroom floor, but… well. Here we are.

Hoping to have a book review for you on Tuesday but I honestly don’t know if I’m going to finish in time. If not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Freelancing

Hello friends and welcome to a career-driven edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

As some of you may know, and for those of you who don’t, I am a resident of Texas and as such am one of millions who was affected by the winter storms last week. More specifically, my family was displaced as a result of a burst pipe in my home. This led to spending five days with my lovely, longsuffering mother, who, true to form, spent the extra hours together grilling me about my career.

I don’t talk about it much and that will continue to be the case going forward, but I am a rare individual who actually likes my day job. I would even go so far as to say I love it. It’s emotionally stressful at times, especially this past year, but I actually find it fulfilling. That said, it’s not my passion, (three guesses as to what is) and, more to the point, it doesn’t actually pay very well. Even worse, I’ve pretty much reached the ceiling in terms of earning potential.

Which got me thinking, not for the first time, about trying my hand at some freelance writing. A cursory Google search always seems to suggest that it’s easier than one might think to get into it, but I am loathe to believe Google, not just because I respect the hustle freelancers do, but also because, well, I guess I consider myself atypical of the average person looking to break into the business. I have no college degree, I have no practical experience (unless this personal blog counts), and I’m coming at this a little later than usual (early 30s).

But apart from that, I think I would make a good candidate. I work well on a deadline and I have a lot of pent up creativity.

Which still leaves me with the how? I keep reading about building a portfolio. Does that mean I need to draft pieces that I don’t put out on my blog? Do I need to start a whole new blog that is less about my personal journey and instead covers more generalized topics that I post to more than once a week? How do I even put together a resume when I don’t have relevant education or experience?

Is freelancing even right for me? Or do I just throw everything I’ve got into a Patreon and hope for the best? Should I lock my Short But Sweets behind a paywall? Do I hype my Ko-Fi page beyond what I have previously been comfortable with?

As it turns out, being a professional writer, and this is true, is hard.

writing is hard
writing is hard


I’ll keep looking into it, although advice from already working freelancers would be much appreciated. Until then, I’ll continue to plug away at my personal projects. I’ll write my novel and I’ll read books to review. I’ll rant and rave here every Thursday (weather permitting).

In the meantime, if you are able spare a few bucks to my Ko-Fi, I’d really appreciate it. My family and I are currently in a hotel (my mom’s house is too far a drive from my kids’ school to be a long term solution) and are facing a heretofore unknown repair bill. Every little bit helps.

Until next time my friends. May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Reasons I DNF This Book: Fate of the Fallen

Hello all and welcome to a belated edition of Reasons I DNF This Book. This was meant to go up last Tuesday, but as I live in Texas and Texas has been a frozen hellscape for the last calendar week, well… you get the idea.

Before we get started, as always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

This week’s DNF: Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade; DNF at a whopping 8%

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: Fate of the Fallen”

Ramping Up

Hello friends and welcome to a self-motivational edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, friends, loathe as I am to admit it, the post-NaNoWriMo slump got me but good this year. The normal burnout, plus all the bad wrong going on in the real world, plus an unusually long and intense depressive episode has meant my writing has been limping along forlornly in the background.

Which is not to say I’ve done nothing (19 pages!), which is already an improvement over years past where December and January are complete black holes of productivity. But as the days drag on and I am still often struggling to get more than 200 words a day done, I find myself looking for something, anything, to motivate it me to do more. I am still amazed at how easy I found this last NaNo to be, yet as soon as the clock struck December 1st, all those good vibrations just… flew out the window. Am I really a person that needs that communal struggle to propel me forth?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not looking to work at that sort of breakneck speed more than once a year. But something closer to 1000 words a day would keep me on track to get this mammoth of a book done by July.

Something got me thinking. Last year (or was it the year before last? 2020 time flowed at a completely different rate, didn’t it) in the run up to NaNoWriMo, Mur Lafferty on her excellent podcast I Should Be Writing talked about how, if one is anxious about their capability of writing 1666 words a day in November, they can ease themselves into it by starting in October with a much lower daily word count and slowly build up to that magic number.

As far as ideas go for the motivation-starved writer (read: me), it’s as good as any, right?

My word count yesterday was 260. So, I thought, what if today I do 280? Maybe tomorrow I could do 300. Then Saturday 325. And so on. Just a little bit extra than I did yesterday, every day, until I’m routinely hitting the mark of 1000. I could knock out 50 or 100 words on my lunch break. I could dictate 100 more on my commute home. I could do 75 while the kids are in the shower. Here and there, nothing too overwhelming, until I build my – uh – tolerance back up.

Like flexing a muscle, right? Every day, a bit at time.


I’m projecting the first draft of this novel to be around 300k words, so at my current rate of writing I will be approximately… dead by the time its ready to query.

Better get to it, shouldn’t I?

Take care friends! Until next week, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Writing With Intention

Hello friends and welcome to another fun filled fantasy edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, I am happy to report that I am finally coming out of the fog that has been clouding my brain for the last six weeks or so, and that means I am ready to attack my current project, The Nexus, with gusto.

I type with purpose.
I type with purpose.

I write fantasy, and one of the best things about writing fantasy is that the writer has a level of freedom that authors of most other genres do not enjoy. There is no history you need to keep in mind, no conventional values to adhere to. Not even the laws of nature are necessarily safe. With magic and fantastic creatures and pantheons of gods that can shape reality to their will at an author’s fingertips, literally anything is possible.

One of the things I am strongest at with my writing is developing characters. Even when I play roleplaying games, I tend to take the text and supplement it with background information of my own imagining, for no other reason than I find it more entertaining that way.

I am also a white, cis-gendered, straight passing woman who grew up surrounded by white, cis-gendered, straight media telling white, cis-gendered, straight stories, so when I create characters they usually start from a white, cis-gendered, straight template. However, as I started developing not just my craft but my social conscience in my early 20s, I realized that books strictly about white, cis-gendered, straight characters were no longer interesting to me – to read or write. And so I made a conscious decision to be extremely intentional to be as diverse as possible with my own casts.

I’m disappointed (in myself) to say that I’ve not done as good a job as that with The Nexus. For background, The Nexus came into being when I decided to round up a handful of unused or discarded character concepts from past projects. That means that though the story itself is wide ranging, most of the characters still more closely resemble the template upon which they are based.

There is still time to adjust this, of course, and I have no doubt that as I get deeper into the trenches (I’ve only completed 1/6 story paths after all) more ideas on how to diversify will come to me, but the realization that I hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped served as an important reminder that resisting one’s internal biases, even if it is unintentional and non-malicious, is an ongoing battle.


fThat’s all from me this week. I miiiiiight be back on Tuesday for a book review, depending on how much time I have to read over the weekend, but if not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Support the blog on Ko-Fi

Reasons I DNF This Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Hello and welcome to 2021’s first edition of Reasons I DNF This Book. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself to be writing this one, because I feel like I really did want to finish this book, but… well. I just don’t have the time or energy right now.

Today’s DNF: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James; DNF at 13%

Before we get into it, as always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf”