What Happened To May and A Short Term Hiatus

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Hello and welcome to the first, last and only blog post I will be putting up during June. While it’s been about a month since my last post, I haven’t completely abandoned this blog for the 3rd (4th? 5th?) time. Instead, I’m doing what I’ve done unintentionally one too many times: I’m taking a hiatus. Like I mentioned on a previous blog post, many of my hiatuses have turned into yearlong stints that have taken me a while to crawl myself out from. But I’ve given it some thought and I truly believe that a hiatus, a short term one anyway, will be beneficial to this blog in the long run.

I’m not tired of blogging, but I realized I grew tired of blogging in the way that I was. At the end of every month, I’ve done my monthly wrap up posts, which I use as an assessment of how I did the previous month as well for setting goals for the current one. Well, after May, I sat down to do this and I had to take a step back because I realized the assessments weren’t working. I wasn’t focusing on my goals and was only taking minimal steps to meet them. My blog was inconsistent, sporadic and not quite what I envisioned.

So I’ve decided this hiatus is necessary. While I won’t be putting up any new blog posts, I will be doing some “behind the scenes” work, to ensure this blog stays alive. Again, it won’t be such a long hiatus (at least it won’t seem all that long once this post goes live, even though it’s been happening the whole month…).  I plan to resume posting in the first week of July and, from there on, have a nice little schedule going that won’t make me want to pull my hair out every time I decide I need to post something.

So I guess that’s that. Not doing a May wrap up or setting June goals for this post, but I’ll see if it feels right to do one next month. So goodbye for a little longer my friends! I hope the rest of the month treats you well, and I will see you again in July.


Photo found here!

Awkward Travel With Chels: Accidental Cock-Blocking in Rome

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I look naked. I wasn’t. I promise. Here’s an awkward photo. Below’s an awkward story. All things in harmony.

I wish I could say that I was one of those flawless travelers. You know, those put-together, insta-famous wizards of photography, who manage to charm and entice common folk like me into thinking we can become like just like them and travel the world without abandon or constraint. But that’s just not who I am as a person.  I’m more of the bumbling, nervous type who manages to look lost and confused almost any time I set foot outside my house. And this awkwardness likes to manifest itself when I’m traveling abroad.

So I’ve decided I’m going to share a story of one of my more embarrassing experiences I had while traveling abroad because we all like a good laugh/cringe don’t we? I’d originally planned to compile three of these moments into one post, but I’ll start with just one, so I can keep at least a shred of my dignity. Please do enjoy laughing at my expense, though.

This one happened in Rome, and to be honest, it’s one of those situations where I’m really not sure who it was more embarrassing for.

Peter and I were in Rome during the key month you want to go there weather-wise, which is the beginning of July. Needless to say, we were both sweating buckets on a daily basis. I’d taken to wearing only dresses while there since there really wasn’t anything else I could wear that I didn’t make me want to die as soon as I stepped outside into the lovely, welcoming 90+ degree heat.

Now, I know this probably sounds irrelevant and like way too much information, but I promise I’m going somewhere with it: my thighs touch when I walk. And my fellow thick thighed lady humans will know that the problem of wearing dresses in the heat is that as you’re walking around without pants to keep your thighs from making sweet, sweet love to each other, they rub together to the point where, especially if it’s hot and especially if you’re walking several miles a day, a lovely, burning chafing begins to appear. I’d planned for this and had been wearing spandex under my dresses to avoid it. But on this particular day, in a rush to get to Vatican City early enough to beat the crowds, I’d forgotten. This made for a very painful experience and a very cranky Chelsea.

Once we’d finished our morning extravaganza, I forced my boyfriend and I to walk back to the hostel so that I could have a quick change that would give my poor thighs, some much needed relief. We also thought it might be nice to have a little siesta before we went out to explore again.

Our hostel, like most, was a building that benefited from having an exceptional photographer for their website. The real life version was less modern and more dilapidated. As we walked into the quiet building, smelling the familiar smell of travelers come and gone (a mix of sweaty bodies, old, spilled wine, and dust), I felt as if there was a weird energy in the place that hadn’t been there before, but I shrugged it off.  I think some part of my brain knew what we were about to find.

We chatted quietly as we ascended the stairs, wondering if our hostel mates were going to be there too, which might disrupt our napping plans. There was nothing particularly wrong with the two as we’d discovered when we’d chatted with them the night before. One was a girl who seemed to really like the sound of her voice and enjoyed relaying her travel stories more than any of us enjoyed hearing them. And the other was a guy who didn’t speak nearly as much, but looked at us all with a mix of disinterest and disdain.

As we got to the door, I found myself feeling the same weird energy again, my subconscious giving me another moment to back out, but of course, I ignored it in favor of finally getting my hands on those spandex. My thighs were positively burning. So, I unlocked the door and discovered what the weird energy had been all along.

Our hostel mates were there after all… but at the moment they were both in way less clothing than we needed to see them in and having such a hardcore make out session that I wasn’t sure that they weren’t actually trying to chomp each other’s faces to bits. Neither had bothered to even look up at our sudden, not at all quiet, intrusion.

Now I’m sure most people may have simply backed away, left and ignored the situation (which, to his credit, Peter did), but I was so caught of guard both by what they were doing and their complete nonchalance about being caught, that somehow I managed to convince myself that maybe there wasn’t actually anything weird about this after all. I mean, it’s not like they were having sex… they were clearly about to, but I could easily get in and out before they started that and without making this thing weird, right?

With that thought, I resolved that me getting my spandex was more important than leaving them some privacy to continue their shenanigans (after all, we’d all payed for a shared room and I wasn’t about to be kicked out), I walked into the room, feeling my face burning from more than just the heat, and began sorting through my suitcase for the spandex.

They took a little longer to find than they should have. As I rifled through clothing and the seconds ticked on, the shock began to dissolve to panic as I became relatively certain that I had made the wrong decision. What sort of weirdo was I to stay there in the room while they were clearly trying to get it on? Or were they the weirdos for continuing (and ahem, I could hear them continuing), as we walked in? Did they even know I was still here? And, oh god… did they like that?

I found the spandex. I put them on. My cheeks were still heated from embarrassment as I turned around to leave and discovered that in the time it had taken me to slip on the beloved shorts, the canoodlers had ceased their canoodling and were now staring straight at me. Neither, had bothered to cover up their nakedness. I tried to focus on making eye contact.

“Um… hello,” was the only thing I could think of to say.

“Hey, what’s up?” Was the reply.

We then continued to have a lovely conversation about what Peter and I had done that day, where we were headed next and how fun Rome was. And then, polite and awkward small talk over, I finally rushed out the room, feeling more than a little unsettled about the events that had just transpired.

By the time Peter and I got back that night, they were sleeping, and by the time we woke up in the morning, their suitcases were packed and they were gone.

Looking back, I have to say that I’m fairly certain I handled that entire situation poorly. And if a similar situation arose again, I would most definitely leave any future canoodlers to simply… canoodle.

But we have to look on the bright side of all of this and in the end, hey, at least my thighs were happy.

So, what about you? Do you have any awkward travel stories to share? Has something similar ever happened to you? Either share in the comments of link to a post if you have one. Lord knows I need to read about other people being awkward af to know that I’m not the only one…


Best Music For Writing Fantasy Stories


Ah, fantasy. What fun it is to be spirited away on adventures of magic and mystery through worlds fraught with powerful creatures, enigmatic strangers, and sprawling landscapes! As a writer, music is the number one thing to get me in the mood to write, but when it comes to writing fantasy stories, I find I often have to be a little more choosy.

Is it just me or can it be a little hard to get into the fantasy writing mood when you’re listening to some of the happiest, bounciest pop songs on the radio today? And even if you don’t have terrible taste in music like me and listen to music that’s more words, instrument, and emotion than bounce, sometimes it can be hard to find music that can really transport you into the world of your creation. Which is why I’ve done my best to find the best sources for fantasy inspired music that can do just that.

While I don’t have any specific song recommendations because I tend to just use streaming services and pre-made playlists rather than curate my own stuff, I think that if you’re looking for the perfect songs to go with your fantasy novel, you’ll probably be able to find them through one of these services. Happy listening my fellow fantasy nerds!

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Another Late Wrap-Up Post: April Edition

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Hoo boy. Well. I’ve been avoiding posting this wrap up for a little while now, mostly for pride-related reasons if I’m being honest. But now that we’re ten days into May and I’m finally over myself and over the set-backs of April, I’m ready to just get on with it. I’m hoping this post won’t be too much of a bummer, considering April wasn’t exactly the goal smashing month I hoped it would be. But gotta stay consistent, and I’m gonna do this regardless of how the month went. So here we go.

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Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless Book Review PicGenre: Steampunk, Supernatural, Romance

Publisher/Date Published: Orbit/2009

Summary (from Goodreads):

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Why I Chose It/First Impressions:

This book has been on my to-read list forever. It was probably originally put there around the time I was much more… passionate about vampires and werewolves and any book that promised some sort of supernatural romance. You know, around that time. Anyway, I finally cycled back to the books I put on my list ages ago and decided to pick this one back up because I needed a bit of escapism, something light and fun, before delving into books with heavier topics. And I figured if anything’s going to be classified as escapism, it’s probably going to be the book about vampires and werewolves and fighting and tension and kissing or whatever. And did I get what I sought out here? Well… there was a lot of kissing.

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March Wrap-Up


We’ve survived another month! Woohoo! One day, I swear I’m going to stop starting these wrap up posts with a declaration of how surprised I am that I made it through yet another month continuously blogging. But I’m still so psyched and happy with myself for even having the discipline to keep up this blog for now three (three!!) months in a row that I’m just going to ride out this joy.

Usually, for me, March is a killer of inspiration and creativity and the will to do much other than just sit around and wait for March to be over. And while it was still partially like that, my fight to make it not entirely so was a little more successful than it has been in the past. So without further ado, let’s get started talking about how March went for this…

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You’ve Got Your Idea, Now What?: How To Make It From Idea to Writing


A common question often asked of writers is some form of where they get their ideas. And I suppose it makes sense. When you read a book you find mind-blowingly good, it only seems natural to want to know how the author got their idea and what inspired it. But here’s the thing: as a writer, I’ve often found it tedious and pretty useless to list off where I get my ideas because the real and honest answer is this: everywhere.

Sometimes it’ll be from a line in a book, an imagined alternate ending to a movie, a set of lyrics from a song I really like. It might come to me from an overheard conversation, an imagined history for a person I see on the train, a suggestion from a friend. Sometimes, if I stare out my window long enough, an idea will come to me, if sleep doesn’t first. But what I’m really trying to say is ideas come from everywhere, but particularly from unique experiences, and just knowing where or how someone got their idea might not make it any easier for you to find your own.

If you intend to write a story, I think the better question to ask when it comes to ideas is how you grow an idea as opposed to letting it die a slow and painful death. Ideas can come easily (if you’re really looking) and manifest in the strangest of places, but I think it’s harder to know what to do with them once you have them. So this post is for those who need a bit of direction once you’ve got an idea that you want to see turn into something more.

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