Monday, December 31, 2018

So Long 2018, Howy-Do 2019


It's eight p.m. on New Years Eve 2018, and here I sit. Fat and full of homemade chili and store-bought shortbread cookies, steeped in the undeniable knowing that I've gotta quit. Got to let go of the cookies, chocolates and sweets and get my bad Self back to a gym. Or down in the floor for stretches and push-ups, bridges, downward dogs, a cobra or two. As you are my witness. Hand in the air. Pinkie promise. I am doing it.

I love these rambling posts, and must admit I got lost earlier—clicking on post links, reading here and there. About Letting Go. Of anger. And sadness. About Forgiveness and Highly Sensitive People.

I have always been a voracious reader. In my first thirty years, I devoured fiction, leaning away from horror and the macabre, and toward dramatic literary works, classics, historical fiction (the fatter, the better) and later fluffy romance, and procedural mysteries, with an occasional jaunt through Middle Earth or Watership Down. Over the second thirty years, it's been mostly nonfiction—self-help, spiritual, philosophies, a few autobiographies, now and then, a classic.

And I LOVE research, which is a definite asset to an author. Over the last eight years I've combed every site I could find on Reptilian aliens, every book and web page on druids, William the Conqueror and related history, places, animals, climate, cultures and so much more. But how did I get off over here?

Oh. Yeah. Research. I do a lot of it. Including reading what I can of the writing-related articles I run across on Twitter. Like The Fantasy Hive's 50 Most Anticipated SFF Books of 2019.

But I'll be honest with you, reading through those blurbs taken from Amazon and Goodreads put me into a funk about my Awen trilogy. I stewed in it for days. Days in which I wondered if I should shit-can the whole trilogy and go back to doing what I do best. This. Creative Nonfiction. The stuff of real life. Because for some reason, I seem to be pretty good at this. And I like it about as much as air.

After a few days of the funk, I did what I do when I'm in a creative huff. I watched a movie. This time, Frozen. When the Disney castle flashed on the screen and the Nordic music filled the room, my writer self sighed, relaxed into the chair, and let the film weave its magic—not just on the screen, but inside of me. I'd been wrestling with the WHAT of my trilogy for seven years, trying to categorize, label, explain, or otherwise distill it down to a simple explanation, or comparison. And as I watched the sad story unfold before me, I had an epiphany.

It's an R-rated Disney(esque) sci-fi/fantasy. That's what the Awen trilogy is. It's definitely not a gore-fest, not heavy tech, no sword fights or fist fights (for the most part), at least not until the third book when all hell breaks loose. But yeah, R-rated Disney, if there is such a thing.

I wrote a new blurb. It's rough, but I can hone it and polish it and make it every bit as attractive as those I read. Because I'll be published soon, baby. And I want my work to stand next to the big girls' and carry its weight.

So I will stick it out with Awen and William. I promised them both I would tell their story/ies years ago. So I will. And I'll have faith that I've done it justice. But I will also be here, at That Rebel with you. Doing what I seem to do best—airing rebel laundry. Are you ready for 3000 Questions?

Here's to a break-out 2019. I'm predicting a fantastic year for PeaceMakers Publishing, beginning with the debut release of Awen Rising on October 1, 2019.

So goodbye, 2018.
Goodbye, rebel souls.
I'll see you often in 2019.

Happy New Year!

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, an urban druid fantasy set in 2042 and steeped in current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, will be released October 1, 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, is currently in edits. And the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Letting Go of the Sad

I bought a new car today. Instead of excited, I’m intensely sad. I miss my old car & feel like I sold my best friend for $900 & will never, ever see her again. Or took a beloved pet to the pound bc she got old.💔  
That was my Twitter post from last night. Have you ever felt this way about trading or selling a car? Even knowing you made the wise choice?
  1. My new car is a 2013 Mazda 3, eleven years younger/newer than Starr Bella, my little 2002 Mercedes C230K.
  2. The M3 is the base model, but everything works. SB's pieces and parts were failing. Like the sunroof that didn't work when I bought her, the DVD player that bit the dust a couple years ago, the heater/AC switch that had to be manually moved twice a year, and most recently, the fluttering door locks. Oh, and the tires that lose air and deflate when it gets too cold. (Uh, I live in Idaho)
  3. My new Mazda 3 has front-wheel drive to maneuver better in the snow. SB had rear-wheel drive, though she's a German car. (It's pretty snowy in Germany, right? What up?)
  4. The M3 gets 24 city miles per gallon. SB used to get 20ish. But for the last couple of years she's topping out at 18 in town, which is 95% of my driving.
  5. I'm sure there's more.
  6. And I'm just as sure that I will come to love the Mazda.
I haven't named her yet. She will have a V-name, 'cause of the Mazda emblem. I'm leaning toward Violet. Or Violetta. Or V. Vi? Or how about Vanellope, after the princess from Wreck-It Ralph? Vanellope glitches, so I don't think it'll be that. But I so relate to that little princess. Any other V-suggestions?

For all who were worried about me driving in the Idaho snow (as I was!) you can rest assured that I'll now be fine. My research reports V is excellent in the snow, even without snow tires. Of course, my bro-in-law pointed out that All Season tires ARE snow tires. Just not the sticky kind.

That's all on the sad. After the copious tears, sharing about my sadness, a good night's sleep, and telling you kind rebels, I feel somewhat better. It's time to let go of the insidious sadness.

The car-hunt that had taken control of my writing mind-time for the last few weeks has now been handled. Today I get back to writing. The first round of Awen Storm's edits will be finished before this year ends. I promise.

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, an urban druid fantasy set in 2042 and steeped in current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, is complete. Book Two, Awen Storm, is in edits. And the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

3000 Questions About Me?

Last night I watched Julie & Julia and was filled with a longing to get back to my blog. No, That Rebel hasn't garnered me a book deal, or anything close. But it HAS nurtured my writing, and revealed a voice that I've parlayed into a shelved women's fiction novel and a fantasy trilogy of epic proportions.

That Rebel also introduced me to other writers, many of whom are still friends today, nine years later. And it gave me the confidence to call myself a writer and to know with all my heart that I AM.

Then why has it been five months since I've written a post? Why do I stay away so long?

Because I waffle, mired in the not-good-enough feelings and too-busy-doing-other-things mode. Things like work, life, and the writing of a TRILOGY. But the truth is—I miss my blog. I miss you. I miss our interactions, our conversations.

Julia Child committed to her cooking classes and to helping two friends write an American French-cookbook. She ended up with a best-selling (to this day) book of recipes, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julie Powell committed to creating Julia's 524 recipes in one year and to blogging about the experience daily. She netted a book deal, a movie, and a large fandom. To what am I willing to commit?

Umm...pssst...hell-oooo...a trilogy. Isn't that enough?

Well, of course it is. But I LOVE my blog. I love knowing you're reading That Rebel in now-time, not one day in the future when I finish the endless rounds of edits involved in bringing my books to market.

The other day while journal shopping, I ran across a Piccadilly journal with 3000 questions, each designed to know one's self better. As a journaler of 28 years, I had to buy it. Then in flipping through page after page of the probing questions, I thought of That Rebel.

Wouldn't it be fun (and enlightening) to answer the questions as blog posts? Some would likely be short and sweet, others longer and more thought-provoking. I could weave my writing ventures and progress into the posts, or include them as postscripts at the end.

YOU could make my self-pilgrimage your own by sharing your answers in the comments, or keep your AHA's private. Either way, we would embark upon parallel journeys together. Does this sound like something you would enjoy?

Any thoughts? Comments? Rebel yells?

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

P.S. Unless something changes (like an agent or publishing deal falling from the sky), I plan to go indie and release Awen Rising on October 1, 2019. Yep. You read that right. The first in the Awen trilogy will be hitting the shelves in less than a year!

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, an urban druid fantasy set in 2042 and steeped in current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, is complete. Book Two, Awen Storm, is in edits. And the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Progress, Not Perfection

I am happily entrenched in the first round of edits for Awen Storm, the second book in the Awen Trilogy. 

Wanna read a snippet?

In spite of his intentions to the contrary, Mitch called a limousine. If he drove, he couldn’t drink—and he planned on getting sloshed. He wouldn’t need to find a parking place or worry about having his Beemer stolen by some roving gang. When a text heralded the limo’s arrival, Mitch changed his mind. He had no desire to spend time listening to a born-again evangelist, even a sexy female one. But Iman, the driver, pulled up at his door and Mitch got in the sleek car.
“Fox Theater, please.”
These paragraphs begin a chapter nearing the halfway mark. Mitch is MC Emily's half-brother and firmly entrenched in the thick of things. He despises Emily and seeks to steal her position as Grand Druid. In this scene, he is about to get entangled with her witchy stalker. Look out Emily!

How is life treating you all? I miss you!

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

P.S. I'm still having issues with my left arm and lower back nearly a month post-accident. Wahh. 

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042CE steeped in current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, is complete and in query. Book Two, Awen Storm, is in early edits, and the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

JUNE 30, 2018:

Today is my birthday. Woe is me.

My body is older and out of shape, as is Starr Bella's, my sixteen year-old Mercedes C230. Yesterday on the way back to work after lunch, I proceeded through a four-way intersection. Out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a silver missile hurtling toward me. And slammed on my brakes.

Thank God and his holy angels.

The missile braked too, but didn't stop in time. Starr Bella took the impact in her left nostril—my driver's side bumper. Shocked and shaken, I backed up enough so the missile could proceed, then turned right (rather than straight as I'd been heading) and pulled to the side of the street behind her.

Rattled and not 100% sure it wasn't my fault—though I'm a defensive driver and usually know what's going on around me—I gingerly stepped from the car. A frantic woman rushed toward me.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" she gushed. "I ran right through that stop sign! I totally didn't see it! Are you okay?"

Relieved, I can now be magnanimous. "I'm okay. Are you?"

"Yes," she says.

And for the most part, I am.

We exchanged business cards (she's a realtor in a neighboring city), and I assured her that if the damage to either Starr Bella or I was more than it first appeared, I would let her know and we would file insurance. Otherwise, what's the point? Our fiberglass bumpers were scratched and scarred, my side reflector popped out of the socket and the edges cracked off. I popped it back in and it seems to be working fine.

As I drove toward the office, I realized my left arm was kind of numby and my head was starting to ache. So I took a right turn toward Dr Swaim's office, rather then a left toward mine. Luckily, they were also returning from lunch. I laid face down on the chiropractic bench and my sacral/pelvic area complained and my middle back tightened in a vice grip.

Instructed to put my left hand on my lower back, I barely could. My arm felt like a dead weight.

By the time he finished the adjustment, both I and my arm felt better. The headache subsided, as did the lower back pain and upper back tension. My left arm was moving again, but my forearm and wrist/hand were still numb. Back at my own office, I adjusted my elbow and wrist, and the numbness subsided. Thank God it was a quiet patient afternoon.

But daaaaamn. What a Friday. And what a crappy "Happy Birthday" from the Universe. Plus, my paycheck got hung up in LaLa Land, so no mad money to spend on yours truly. Nix that. Cash it is. I'm thinking I'll see a movie. Or two. Or three. Solo. Ocean's Eight. Incredibles 2?

And I'm hanging my shower curtain. And bedroom curtains. And thanking God I saw the missile and slammed on my brakes—otherwise she'd have crashed into my driver's door. And who knows how bad THAT would've been.

Did y'all know that I moved?

Happy July! And Happy Birthday to me!

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

P.S. For the last couple of days, my arm left has been sore and swollen. Both hands/wrists have ached periodically (from the death grip on the steering wheel), the left being worse. I was achy all over yesterday, but that seems better today. And I'm definitely looking forward to getting another adjustment today, this time at my office from Dr. Joe.

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042CE that combines current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, is complete and in query. Book Two, Awen Storm, is in early edits, and the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Commas, Periods, and Dashes—Oh My!

I have been writing "professionally" for ten years—and am just now learning about em dashes.

Those of you with creative writing degrees, published by traditional houses, or edited by someone in the know, are probably laughing and saying, "Whaaaat?!?!"


But after sharing on Twitter my discovery of Microsoft Word's em dash "key", other writers revealed that—like me they'd either been winging it—or had no clue.

Say you're one of those writers? Splendid!

How did we function without em dashes?

I used commas and periods. The commas are fine, being common writing practice. The periods? Well, let's just say they created a lot of trailing sentence fragments. With em dash—that extra long, hyphen-looking thingy—this no longer happens.

I must admit, though. I miss the choppy-sentence style.

In addition to em dashes, there are en dashes, used to denote sequences and such. This morning I got to replace several commas with en dashes in a listing of the items in a captain's log. Yeehaa!

No. Really. Who knew proper punctuation could be so exhilarating?


So how DO we type em and en dashes? (Hehehe save the blue ones for me.)

In MS Word, an em dash can be typed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Minus. That's the MINUS key on the side numeric keyboard, NOT the hyphen key at the top of the main keyboard. An en dash is Alt+Minus.


While Ctrl+Alt+Minus works like a charm in the MS Word program, it doesn't work in many other places. Like Blogger and Twitter to name two.

Luckily, a Twitter writer-friend relayed this in a comment:

For an em dash type Alt+0151
For an en dash type Alt+0150

You can also get an em dash by typing double hyphens OR going to the insert symbol menu. I'll leave you to your own on those.

Courtesy Connie J. Jasperson
For a discussion on the proper usage of em and en dashes—which is a subject unto itself—I found these links helpful:

Chicago Manual of Style-Em Dashes

Get It Write-Em Dashes

When To Use and Not Use an Em Dash

Em Dash: Why Should You Love It?

As a fledgling em- and en-dasher, I'm sure it will take me a while to master these lovely punctuation marks. But I'm game, and hopefully this discussion will help you too.

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

P.S. I am back from a short writing break, beginning  four weeks ago when my brother-in-law suffered a stroke. He is home now, and still numb on his right side, needing 24/7 care. But the scariest part is over and his rehab is going well. Well enough that I can focus and write again, hallelujah!

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042CE that combines current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, is complete and in query. Book Two, Awen Storm, is in early edits, and the first draft of Book Three, Awen Tide, is in process.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

On Endings

The first draft of AWEN STORM is finally finished, yeehaa! Truth told, it was done by November 31st, my self-imposed deadline.

I just didn’t know it at the time.

What took me so long to realize my draft was complete? And why did I dance around for the next eight weeks, forcing myself to keep writing?

Because I’m not all that good at endings.

I just don’t seem to have the knack—not at ending novels—or chapters in my life. My blog is littered with examples.

As an author who arrived at her craft in later years, I am still learning my writing process. Not your process. Not King’s or Hemingway’s. My process.

Yet even after uncovering my patterns and peculiarities, I tend to forget. Until one rears its head again.

My first effort happened to be a children’s book*. I loved writing Frank and Ernie Find Home, sitting at the PC for hours on end with a silly grin on my face. I had so much fun, I decided that book should be a series. Because—well—that ending thing.

My second was a women’s fiction (ye old chick-lit genre), which I abandoned before "The End". Why? Because to fit that mold, I believed Churches, Chickens & ChiChi's needed to be 80K words—I had bottomed out at 50K.

I missed that 50K is enough for a romance novel/la*. OUCH!

Book One of the Awen trilogy, Awen Rising, is 94K words. I initially wrote 15K past the natural ending. A year later, after beta readers groused about the cliffhanger, I finally understood I had gone too far. Luckily, Book Two begins where One ends, so the extra words/chapters were (mostly) recycled.

Now history repeats itself with Awen Storm.

In all fairness, my muse offered sign after sign that the first draft of Book Two was finished. But this writer misinterpreted, and so, missed them all.

For weeks.

I have since cut the extra chapters (9K words) from Book Two, typed "The End", and moved the chapters into Book Three, Awen Tide.

Two victories.

Even better—this time there was no duplication of effort, as in the transition from One to Two. Meaning, the glitches, the blocks, the walls, and the lessons I talked about last post, were shorter-lived.

Last time it took a whole year.

The takeaway?

After the Churches, Chickens & ChiChi's debacle, I learned that when it's time to type "The End", any new, shiny ideas I receive no longer fit. They are for a new novel—not the current one. It's just harder to discern in the middle of a trilogy or series. 

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

*P.S. Yes, I do plan to dust off both novels, give the romance an ending, and publish.

P.P.S. Thank you for stopping by That Rebel. Please take a moment to drop a line in the comments below. Your words and thoughts matter.

O.J. Barré is the author of the upcoming Awen trilogy, a rollicking science fantasy romance set in 2042CE that combines current, ancient, and future history. Book One, Awen Rising, will debut August 1, 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, will release in 2020, and Book Three, Awen Tide, in 2021.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Don’t Fight the Muse. She Knows What She’s Doing.

What do you do when your muse is silent? Throw a hissy fit? Sulk? Play the blame game? Me too. But instead of working, these anchor me deeper into the depths of despair.

Don’t you love it when your muse is singing? When she rises in the morning, and dances around the room, whispering sweet everythings in your ear? When she sits with you at the keyboard and pours her heart into your prose?

Me too.
But what about her silence? Those times when she delivers neither inspiration, nor words?

I am learning to love these too.


Because I have discovered my muse always has a reason.
She knows what she's doing.

When nothing flows - the words, the motivation, the ability to be still and write - it is time. Time to stop tormenting myself. To stop churning and surrender to the wide-open yonder. Let go of the need to push on, and through.

I dislike the term “writer’s block". Always have. Yet many a dry spell has shaped my writing experience, including a year-long "block" in the middle of AWEN RISING. Now I finally understand.

When I am unable to write, it's because I have nothing to say.


Because I haven't stopped to listen. Or I am headed down the wrong road. Or there's work to be done before proceeding.

Like researching new settings, names, legends. Or sitting in silence, watching the morning light play on the swift-moving clouds, allowing space for the next thread to appear.

I am learning to trust the muse - because she always knows.

What to do. Where to go. Who to bring along. When to humor wayward characters. How to distinguish the good gals from the bad.

On encountering a deadend while driving, what do you do? Stop, reassess, check the map. Maybe find a new station on the radio. Turn right, left, or flip a U-ey to backtrack.

When hitting a literary wall, we can do the same. Crank the radio. Dance a jig. Run errands. Take a drive. Let the mind wander. Move from the desk to a comfy chair. A cafe. A coffee shop.

I am down to the last scene of AWEN STORM, Book Two of the AWEN trilogy. The main characters are within spitting distance of the final hurrah. And while I’ve known for a long time how this leg will end, and had plans to polish it off this morning, I encountered a wall of resistance.

It sent me out for groceries, in the pre-dawn hour. To Walmart where I loaded up on sugary treats after a brief embargo. McDonald’s for a Egg McMuffin, oh yes I did. Then Winco, because I forgot the crackers.

Back home, I sorted a weeks' worth of clothes and lugged them downstairs. Loaded the washer. Took towels out of the dryer. And in the middle of the laundry room, my muse whispered.

"The ending is already written."

You  mean that cool scene we cut from the prologue of Book One?

"Yessss. That's the one. That's your ending."


My muse isn't being mean. She’s not punishing me. And there’s nothing I have done to offend her. She is calling me to listen. To be still and know.

In this case, extra words would be wasted effort.
The ending is done.

So lighten up. Surrender to the silence. Let your mind wander. Let it play. Your muse will whisper, and you will hear. And the silences will grow shorter and shorter. 

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the Awen trilogy, a genre-bending fantasy set in 2042. Steeped in current, ancient, and future history twists, the Awen series offers danger, adventure and romance for a cast of modern-day druids, dragons, reptilian beings, and magical animals. Book One, Awen Rising, will be released August 1, 2019. Book Two, Awen Storm, in 2020. And Book Three, Awen Tide, in 2021. A prequel set in Medieval France is also planned.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Woohoo! I just joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and guess what!

Many of the members are writers I know from my early blogging days. The IWSG is headed by Alex Cavanaugh. Hi Alex! I also see Roland Yeomans, Karen, Hart, Lynda, Julie, Heather, Stephen, Denise C., Arlee/Lee, Michael, Jemi, Angela, and Denise Y. And those are just the names I recognized at first glance.


So that's where all my "old" friends ended up.

I am ashiver with excitement, looking forward to getting reacquainted. AND meeting the other two hundred writers.

So what's it all about, Alfie? Are you a writer, thinking the IWSG might be right for you?

I borrowed this from the IWSG website:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional! 

February 7 question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

The awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia,Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

So. There you have it. I joined an online writer's group. And am mondo excited.

Happy Friday, y'all!

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming AWEN trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042CE that combines current, ancient, and future history. Book One, AWEN RISING, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, AWEN STORM, is nearing completion, and Book Three, AWEN TIDE, is swirling in the mists of creation.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Welcome 2018

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

Another year has rolled around, and the time has gotten away. I think often of you. Yet, seldom have I reached out to say so.

I miss you, my friend. From the depths of my being, and the bottom of my heart, I miss you.

2017 was intense at times, so-so at others. And now and again, spectacular.

FYI - The highlighted phrases are linked to blog posts on that particular topic, if you would like to read more.

Last winter was difficult, with piles of snow that began accumulating in early December, and never melted until mid-February. This winter has been oh-so-much better.

Then came the fires that ripped through the new growth, as summer stripped the moisture and life from everything, and fouled the air with smoke.

In May, I began using d­oTERRA essential oils. I love the physical, mental, and emotional medicinal properties of the oils. And doTERRA’s supplements, greens, and protein mix are game-changers, giving me the oomph I'd been needing.

In mid-June, I began working part-time for Healthy Family Chiropractic, a group of activator docs. It was odd in the beginning, working for someone else (it’d been 20 years). And while I get paid less than half the amount I would normally make, I show up for work, adjust patients, and the rest is taken care of by my employer.

At June’s end, I celebrated 60. Another decade mark. The hip is still an issue, but with regular chiropractic care, massage, stretching, CBD oil, and doTERRA’s Deep Blue, the pain is manageable.

In August, my sister, bro-in-law, their two Shitzus, and I, went to Livingston, Montana, for a fly show. We detoured through the northern section of Yellowstone on the way up, and through Craters of the Moon coming home.

Yes, I am still writing. Following my bliss. I completed Book One of the AWEN trilogy. And the first draft of Book Two is nearing completion. My self-imposed deadline has come and gone (December 31st) but I am writing the ending as we speak. Once this draft is a wrap, I will set the manuscript aside for a month or so, and start writing Book Three.

At the beginning of 2017, I sent queries to a few literary agents, seeking representation. As each rejection arrived, my inner-writer withered a little more. I got stuck in limbo. So I decided to stop actively pursuing an agent, at least until I am closer to the end of the trilogy. Assuming I don’t decide to self-publish.

In July 2017, the books' titles changed to: AWEN RISING, AWEN STORM, and AWEN TIDE. Shorter. Snappier. More descriptive. Easier to say. Easier to sell. Easier to remember.

My dual priorities for 2018, are writing Book Three and polishing Book Two. The remainder of the story is coalescing, and ideas are arriving for the finale grand.

By year-end 2018, I plan to have two completed fantasy manuscripts (totaling 220,000 words!), on my way to three.

I know, I know. You want to read them. Well, good news!

I am still in need of Beta Readers. To be a beta, you basically read the manuscript in either MS Word or PDF format, then tell me your thoughts. What worked for you? What didn’t? What would you change? What threads were left dangling? Were the resolutions too contrived? Any unbelievable characters, or events? That sort of thing.

If you would like to beta read, let me know by leaving a comment below, or email me at ojbarreauthor at gmail dot com. I will forward the file for your personal perusal. Book One is ready to send now. Book Two, later this year.

In 2018, we're planning a spring trip to Yachats, on the Oregon coast. A friend from SoCal is coming to Boise in mid-April. Depending on finances, and available time-off, maybe a trip to Ventura. Or Atlanta. Or Orange Beach. And definitely more time exploring the Idaho mountains.

I have also opened to the possibility of relationship. With a like-minded fellow. Time will tell.

Who knows what else 2018 will bring?

I am predicting good fortune, happiness, and joy. May you be blessed with an abundance of all you hold dear, including love, laughter, good health, and cheer. 

Happy 2018, my friends. Never forget that you are loved.

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell writing as O.J. Barré

P.S. The highlighted phrases are linked to blog posts on that particular topic, if you would like to read more.

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming AWEN trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042AD, that combines ancient, current, and future history. Book One, AWEN RISING, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, AWEN STORM, is nearing completion, and Book Three, AWEN TIDE, is swirling in the mists of creation.
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