Tag Archives: writing

Reflections on A to Z Challenge

What was it like to post an article everyday (except most Sundays) for an entire month? For me, this year was much easier than when I attempted this in 2018 and 2019 on my writing website, KJScrim.com. I feel this year it was easier mostly because I kept the doors wide open when it came to my theme.

In 2018 I did a series of posts talking about every aspect of a book I was writing at the time, titled The Manx (I still haven’t finished it). It takes place on the Isle of Man located in the middle of the Irish Sea. What a fun place to research! Now, all I have to do is actually go there. It sounds like an amazing place to spend a few weeks, along with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

In 2019 I covered everything about short stories. At the time I was just starting to write short stories so by writing 26 articles on the subject I felt I would finish as the number one story teller of the century. Dreams are fantastic. I only completed through the letter R, but I was still stoked that I got as far as I did. That’s what great about this challenge, you can go as far as you want. You want to get all the way through Z, right? This year I did. Yay to me!

I still haven’t gone to the Isle of Man (it’s on my bucket list), nor have I finished the book. My short story library has grown and they are just waiting for that acceptance letter. I’m not sure if my stories are too weird for most publications or if I need an editor. Either way, I’ve had a blast writing them.

So, what happened this year with A to Z? I covered a wide variety of subjects. Did you like them? Want more? Did you hate them? If you said yes, they were awful, you absolutely must explain why. If you don’t all your socks will soon have holes in the big toe. I love comments, and my favorites from the month were from everyone who left them. Thank you. I give you all the blessing of never having an odd sock, ever.

I hope you all stick around and keep reading ArbitraryDustBunnies. You never know what might pop up!

This post brought to you by:

#AtoZChallenge 2023 Reflections

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Welcome to day 2 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today is the letter B and it is all about Books.

To say that I read a lot is a bit of an understatement. I read a LOT. I consume books like they are the next best thing to chocolate. Wait…I think they are the next best thing to chocolate. Last year I read 99 books. One short of my annual goal of 100 books. I thought I had hit 100, but after reviewing the titles it was only 99. Well, crap. That’s the way the pages fall (yes, I said that). (If you are interested in my 2022 reading list I will be writing about it this month with the letter R for Reading.)

My favorite books usually have witchcraft, fairies, or magic, and I love a book series of at least 3 books, but no more than 12. If they are a long series (Wicked Witches of the Midwest is a good example) they better be short(ish) and fun. Speaking of the Wicked Witches of the Midwest…have your read them? What a great series. It hit my funny bone just right and I’ll tell ya, Aunt Tilly is a hoot.

Do I have an all time favorite book? Sorry to disappoint you, but there are just too many great books (and some stinkers too) out there to be able to pin just one down. I can only say that, right at the moment, I’m reading Threadneedle by Cari Thomas.

What about writing a book? I have written several books – to an extent. One of the books actually had “The End” written on it. It needs a lot of work. Like having about 35,000 words added, at least 6 edits, and then a hope and a prayer it might find a publisher. Will they get finished? Who knows. To those of you who have finished writing your book. I bow to your very existence. To write a book is a labor that can only be understood by the truly dedicated writer. I am in awe of the passion you have for the craft of writing.

There are three books out there that I did have the privilege to oversee through to publication. I felt strongly that the writing organization I volunteer for (Pikes Peak Writers) desperately needed to publish an anthology. They just needed someone to spearhead the project. Yes, you guessed it, I raised my hand. Five years later there are now three fantastic anthologies added to the world of books.

Now it’s your turn.
Have you written a book?
Are you reading a book?
Do you edit books?
Please leave a comment about how you and books live together. Do you have links you want to share? I’m always open to reading suggestions.

Come back on Tuesday and we’ll venture into the letter C for Cactus.

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A to Z Blogging Challenge

It has been a few years since I joined in on this challenge and I’m looking forward to entertaining you with a month of Arbitrary things. We’re going to have fun!

So…what’s the deal with this A to Z thing you might ask? Well, it is an opportunity for a bunch of bloggers to gather through the month of April and are each challenged to publish one post per day through the month of April (skipping Sundays). In some way, each post is to be relevant to the letter of the day; April 1 = A, April 2 = B, April 3 = C, and so on all the way to the last day of April which = Z. A to Z.

Are you ready?? Enjoy the posts that will come to you in April. Like I said, my theme is Arbitrary, meaning I could post just about anything: a short story, hiking adventures, some tips for your garden, and so forth. We recently moved to Tucson so I have tons to share about life in the Sonoran desert.

Stay tuned. The fun starts on Saturday!

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The Universe

I believe in the idea that there are powers greater than ourselves keeping tabs on the ebb and flow of our existence. This energy could be called Karma, God, Allah, or, as I like to refer to it, the Universe. I can’t really say if our lives are drawn out for us beginning at conception, or if it is decided as we go along, but I do believe that when we need something, truly need something, we are graced with the gift from the Fates.

It is these small things that are given that have convinced me that there is something more out there than meets the eye and we are given what we need, when we need them in order to get through life. Some of the gifts are small, and some might be hard, but each and every challenge we face brings us to exactly where we need to be for the  next step in our lives.

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Goodbye 2017

What many people may not realize about being a writer is that it can be nerve wracking. We writers pour our hearts and souls into what we do, and if there is a single misspelled word we feel failure. It is not an easy job, but one that we all feel crazily compelled to do. We can be an insecure bunch of people, but we are not in it alone.

I am a member of The Insecure Writers Support Group, and every month we are given a question that we can answer in our IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. This month, the last in a very long year, our question is:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

The only thing I would do differently is to wrap my entire family in bubble wrap. Without going into detail, let me just say that seeing the inside of nine emergency rooms in twelve months is more than anyone should have to go through. (No one died this year, so there’s that). To say the least, this put a huge crimp on my writing progress. Getting a story out has been the last thing on my to-do list.

It wasn’t all bad though. I did manage to complete a couple of short stories, several blog posts, and I wrote everyday for NaNoWriMo. My debut novel, The Manx, is shaping up with characters that are living and breathing entities in a brilliant world. I also attended two writing conferences (PPWC and RMFW) where I reconnected with writers across the country and re-energized my creative battery. I also had the pleasure to meet one of my favorite authors, Diane Gabaldon.

At book signing during RMFW2017

My advice to anyone who is in the thick of life’s challenges? Get through it anyway you can. Writing does not have to be at the top of your to-do list, but sometimes it should surface to the top just so you can have a few moments of sanity. It is okay to let the words fall by the side of the road while you are trying to maintain a straight direction with four flat tires.

Say goodbye to 2017 because 2018 will be a better year. It has to be.

Thanks to our awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG, Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!


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NaNoWriMo – 2017

It is that time of the month again where I join with other writers to discuss the “dark side” of being a writer. Actually, that might be a bit of a strong term, but it will do for now. On the first Wednesday of every month Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) posts one or two subject questions so we can talk about our doubts and the fears that we have conquered as writers. We can discuss our struggles and triumphs then offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling with their own writing.

This month’s question:

  • Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Let me explain NaNo for the readers who are not familiar. The full term is NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. During November of every year, writers around the globe sit down to write a novel in thirty days. Sound easy? NOT! The goal is to crank out 50,000 words in a mere thirty days, and if you want one day a week off you have to manage 2,000 everyday of the month. It is, to say the least, an insane challenge.

On to the questions. Do I finish NaNo? I have only participated once before and it kicked my butt out the door by day 10. November is just plain HARD. It is a month when my job intensifies and life just pulls in too many directions. I am trying again this year so I’ll let you know the results. Needless to say, nothing has been published ——


Thanks to the awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG, Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

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Arbitrarily on Facebook

Social media is one of those formats that I have a hard time keeping up with. Not because I have an aversion to them, but it is more an issue of time. Between writing for blogs plus writing a novel I find my time is thin so I have resisted expanding this  out to a broader social media presence.

That is changing as of today.

I now have expanded to:
Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/arbitrarydustbunnies/
Jump over and like Arbitrarydustbunnies….I really need a few “followers”.

I’ll be on twitter soon.


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#IWSG – For Writers of All Ages

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. I just learned about this fun group from Shannon Lawrence, who is a fellow writer and blogger. Just the title of the group screamed that I needed to check it out. This group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh so writers could virtually gather to express their thoughts about writing. It looks intriguing so I have joined in.

Our co-hosts today are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

The question for this month is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing? Let’s take a look at these one at a time because each one raises a different set of Pet Peeves for me.

READING: When I read a book that has gone through all of the gyrations to reach publication I have high expectations. My number one issue is misspelled words. I can accept a couple, especially in a manuscript of 100,000 words, but when I see multiple instances of spelling errors my hackles start to raise.

A manuscript goes through the mill before publication, and if an author has done due diligence it would have been seen by the author, spell check, critique groups, beta readers, editors (line and content), publishers, early prints, and then reprints. By the time a book is into the mainstream it should not have spelling errors.

Editing: When I’m editing my own work my pet peeve is that I’m too hard on myself. I do endless comparisons of my work to great writers I aspire to write as well as. I remind myself that they have their creative greatness and I have mine. If I find myself being too hard on me, I set it aside and come back later when I’m not thinking of a Jane Austin novel.

WRITING: In this area I tend to not be too hard on myself. The entire process of writing is, in of itself, a process. Like all writers, I start with an idea then progresses through a vast journey of discovery. When I first started to write I thought, “This will be easy. I just put words to paper and, voila, a book appears.” I laugh at myself. Just getting started was a huge learning curve, and today I continue to learn my craft. If I had to name one thing that is difficult for me it would be to write everyday. Getting in a few days a week is a thrill, and I hope one day life will allow me to write daily.

As a reader, what are your Pet Peeves?




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The Yampa*

The wagon train had left her station hours ago. She had worked through the rest of the day cleaning the horse dung and the human stench from the walls. Once a month they came through, sometimes twice in a month, and Margo never got used to it. The humans had a smell about them that reminded her of the dead rats she found in the barn sometimes.

Satisfied, she went back upstairs then out the window to sit on the roof. This is where she spent most of her time staring into the sky wishing for home. In the years spent in the southern hemisphere she could see her home cluster in the night sky, but here in the north she could only see the local sun. Only ten more years and she could go back south. Ten more years of being in this dust bowl serving the wagon trains that kept pushing to the west carrying those petty humans into the frontier.

Stirring out of her own mind she turned to go back inside. Mid-stride Margo met the blunt end of a shotgun in the gut. “Hello Margo. Been a long time wouldn’t you say?”

“Kate. What in tarnation are you doing here? How did you find me?”

“You are a slippery one Margo. I’ve been hunting you for the past couple of centuries. I have to admit you found yourself one hell of a place to hide. How did you find this dump anyway?”

Pushing past her, Margo went back through the window. “Believe it or not, I crashed here. Been stranded for at least a couple hundred years.”

“Come on Margo. You can’t expect me to believe that you, our top pilot, crashed on this rock. You’ll need a better excuse than that.”

“You know me Kate. Weird shit happens.”

“Weird shit my ass. Is that your excuse for the string of dead bodies you left all over the home cluster? Is that your excuse for decimating Corkerelle? Give me a break.”

Margo couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. “You have no idea do you Kate? You have spent all this time looking for me and never stopped to wonder if it was really me? Wake up Kate. Look around you. What do you see?”

“What are you talking about Margo?”

“I’ve been here for eons watching these humans scrape across their globe. They drag their sorry souls over the land and darken every corner of it. Right now, they drive their wagon trains out west in a thirst for riches and in their wake; they leave only a stench and rot. Did you smell the trash heap on your way in? Did you see what they do? Doesn’t it look even a little familiar? How long ago did Corkerelle happen? Think about it Kate, could I, one solitary being really destroy an entire planet? Think back, Kate. Remember what it smelled like?”

The shotgun began to weigh more than Kate remembered when she first pointed it at Margo. “They came here, didn’t they? They came here to do it all over again didn’t they?”

“Oh, they’ll try alright, but there will be bloody hell to pay before they can cross the Yampa.”


They had celebrated that night once they arrived at the edge of the Yampa. It had been a long trek across the eastern plains and everyone was ready for fresh water and time to dance. They had made it. Living to see the Yampa River was all they had prayed for and here they were. Smiles were served all around and the music played late into the night.

The warmth of the rising sun pushed the gentle breeze through the camp. The air licked at the canvas capes that draped each wagon ruffling the bare threads. The horses had long left the area along with the cattle. A few stray dogs were all that remained behind. Silence filled the morning breeze. The celebrations from the night before were just echoes fading into the distance. Crawling out of the red masses, the tiny machines had done their job and marched back toward the water. The next wagon train was due in just a week and they needed time to recharge.

*The Yampa originally appeared on the blog: KJ Scrim, Writer and is used here with permission from the author.

© KJ Scrim 2015 – All rights reserved – No part of this story may be used or reproduced, graphic, electronic,or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or my any information storage retrieval system without written permission from the Author.

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A Word Game

Words, words, words, words, words, words,

more words, words, words,

her words,

my words.

She fed me my words on a platter then dropped it.

The platter cracked and my words spilled on the floor.

~©K.J. Scrim 2014

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