Now, where was I?

Ok, so I blinked and 2 months went by.

I almost wish I could say I’d been sitting around eating bon bons and just “forgot” to be blogging, writing, and getting on with things because I was having too darn much fun.

And if wishes were pages, I’d have written a whole library by now.

The reality is that my “real job” doing desktop publishing got crazy for a while. Plus I was off the grid for a bit visiting family. Add to that some stress over how I was going to wrap up my work in progress, and you’ve got the trifecta that is the bane of every writer’s existence: unplanned busyness, personal obligations, and writers’ block.

*insert a heavy sigh here*

I do want to say, though, that I was, in fact, having fun. I mean, come on. Creative play on my laptop and a trip to California? How much more fun could I have? It’s just that those sorts of activities tend to sap all my creative energy and there’s not enough left for writing. Especially when I’m trying to figure out some piece of my story. :-/

But that, as they say, was then. This is now. And today I’m here on my blog. Today I have a finished draft for my short story. FINALLY!!! Today I’m really happy with my world. (My story world, that is. Actually, I guess I’m pretty happy with the actual, real world too.)

So yeah. Today. Today was a good day. And very soon, I will have a free story available for you to download, if you so choose. Hopefully that means today is a good day for you, too. 🙂


Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be the first to know when my story is finally going to be available.

Watch Night

moongirlI’m super excited about how my current writing project is coming.

I’ve been working on a short story tentatively titled Watch Night which is a fantasy story about a young girl apprenticed to the Temple of the Light. This child will have decisions to make that will affect her entire culture, her entire world. But her day starts in simple contemplation with other apprentices.

It goes to show… you never know what the day is going to bring!

When I’m done, this story will be available ONLY to those subscribed to my mailing list. Make sure you don’t miss out! Join now by clicking here.

Ramping up for the new year

I’ll admit it – I stalled out more than a bit during the final weeks of 2013.

Basically, I gave up. True fact.

But now I’m getting back on track and already making progress for what is going to be a banner year!

To help regain my focus, I decided to join Jeff Goins’ new years’ writing challenge. He’s calling it My 500 Words, and it’s simply about writing a minimum of 500 words every day for 31 days.

It’s NOT about writing 500 perfect words.

It’s NOT about putting up 31 new blog posts or writing 31 fully-developed chapters.

This is a challenge to simply re-train writers to do what writers do. Write.

A big part of why I failed at reaching my goals last year? I didn’t have my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. I just wasn’t writing. I could go into all kinds of reasons why that was the case. I could make all kinds of excuses. But whatever those things were–reasonable or flaky, good or bad–they don’t matter. Not anymore.

That was then. This is now. The only thing that matters today is what I am going to do today.

And today I’m going to write at least 500 words.

This week I’m going to flesh out what is turning into a very interesting story.

This month I’m going to finish that story and have it ready for people to read. (If you want to be one of the people who reads it, be sure to sign up for my mailing list!)

What I’m NOT going to do is stress out over what I haven’t done. What’s the point? Until someone invents a time machine that works and that I can afford, I can’t change the past.

I can only change today. I can only change what I want to do with this moment.

And today? I’m going to write.

It’s what I do.

Advent Calendar 2013

Rosa Pomar / / CC BY-NC-ND

I couldn’t be more excited! I am part of a group of authors offering an Advent Calendar this Christmas season!

For those who may not know, an Advent Calendar, at it’s most basic, is a means of counting down the days from December 1st until Christmas. It started as a German tradition, but has taken hold almost everyplace where Christmas is celebrated. Many such calendars hold daily surprises for the children they are intended to instruct. I’ve seen them with tiny pictures behind the numbered doors, or tiny books with stories to read. Many people have Advent Calendars with candy or other goodies awaiting each day of the countdown.

Our calendar is being sponsored by Katherina Gerlach, a wonderful fantasy and folk-tale author who publishes in both German and English. She and 5 of her writing friends (yours truly included) will be sharing original stories, character sketches, recipes, and even a few songs. Each of us writes in the fantasy genre, so some of what you receive will be fantasy. But much of it will also be seasonal fare.

I sincerely hope you’ll join the fun and sign up for the calendar. Our commitment is that you’ll receive 25 daily emails, and then a reminder next year to sign up for Advent Calendar 2014. No spam. (Of course, you’ll also have the opportunity to follow any of the participating authors on their own lists, should you choose to do so.)

To sign up, go here. ==>>

Allow me to introduce myself…

Hi. I’m Elizabeth McCleary and I am an author.

You probably haven’t heard of me yet. That’s because I’m really not published yet. But I’m hoping that will be changing very soon.

First, I’ll be participating with some other writers in an Advent Calendar this Christmas. You’ll be able to sign up to receive free stories and other goodies from the first of December through Christmas. I should have a link for that by next week.

Next, I am working on a collection of flash fiction that I’m hoping to have out within the next couple of weeks. It’s not coming together as smoothly as I hoped, but it IS coming together. I will update as I go, and let you know AS SOON as it’s available.

In the mean while, I’d like to invite you to sign up for my mailing list. It will give you the opportunity to learn more about me, to keep up with what I’m doing, and to get some cool freebies that won’t be available anywhere else.

Thundercats are go!

It’s alive!

We have liftoff!

Soup’s on!

Time to rock-n-roll!

Whatever euphemism you care to use, they all mean the same thing. The HTTS Student Anthology, The Adventure of Creation, is now available for sale!

You can find it on either as a paperback or as a Kindle ebook. Buy early and buy often!

And, of course, I’d love to hear your feedback on my debut publication. My story is entitled, Finding Light. You’ll find me on page 186. It is published under the name Amy Padgett.

Anthology stories have arrived – I’m excited!

HTTS Student Anthology

Photo By: Moyan BrennCC BY 2.0

HTTS student Anthology

About 4 months ago, one of the other moderators at How To Think Sideways had a fantastic idea. She suggested a student anthology to celebrate 5 years of Sideways thinking. What a fantastic idea! Since Holly’s classes are all about improving fiction writing, collecting well-written stories from her students is a great way of proving that her system works. It also has the added bonus of showcasing some talented up-and-coming writers.

As one of the moderators on the forum, I have the privilege of also being one of the judges for the anthology. With 60 stories having been submitted, this is no small undertaking. We have to pare down the selections by about half. Yikes!

We will be reading each story and compiling our scores based on 10 different criteria. I’ll admit it… I feel a tiny bit overwhelmed. I’ve always been a reader. I know what I like and I think I can tell good writing when I see it. But I’ve never done something quite like this before and I really don’t want to screw it up! I’m sure it will be fine though… it’s just the adrenaline talking.

Working on my own anthology

Not only am I a judge in the contest, I’m a contestant. (Don’t roll your eyes at me that way – I have recused myself from judging that particular entry.)

But I just wanted to mention that I had a fun time writing my story for this anthology, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I have no doubt that I could have improved it further, but word-count limitations (2500 max), time limitations (I was up against the deadline), and a need to let go of the need to be PERFECT meant that I had to be satisfied with what I had.

But this is just one story, and I fully intend to do more. So I’ve decided that I want to write at least 5 or 6 more short stories (possibly up to 10 or 12… we’ll see how it goes) and put out my own collection. I have no idea how long that will take me, but I’m setting a tentative goal for the end of October. That would make it a Birthday present to myself. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


THIS is my year!!! I will write a book.

Photo by: Amy Padgett

I’ve mentioned it to a few people, almost in passing.

I’ve posted about it on the How To Think Sideways bootcamp forums.

I’ve thought about it quite a bit.

But I think, maybe, this is my first public declaration (such as it is with my very limited readership on this blog).


  • I will develop an idea to completion
  • I will write consistently to expand my idea
  • I will create a completed manuscript
  • I will revise and edit judiciously
  • I will release my book into the wild, probably by self-publishing (although traditional publishing has not been ruled out)

I feel a little nervous about the prospect. I feel a little excited.

I’ll admit to being somewhat worried that I can’t/won’t meet my goals. Goals are hard for me and I have often been one to find convenient excuses to avoid them in the past. But NOT THIS YEAR. This year, I will achieve my goals!

Before 2013 is over, I will have written and published a book.

Work In Progress!

El cinco invertido


For the first time in quite a while, I have a work in progress! I am working on a piece of fiction that is actually keeping me interested. It’s only a short story, but even as I’m writing it, I am intrigued by it. I can’t wait to find out what’s next! Is that weird coming from the author?

This particular piece is meant for the HTTS student anthology that is coming out later this year. If you are a member of any of Holly’s classes , you are eligible to submit a short story of up to 2500 words for consideration. The theme of the anthology is, “The Adventure of Creating.”

All the story rules and submission guidelines are on the forum, and you must be a verifiable member of her classes to participate, which means if you’re buying the standalone lessons from Amazon, B&N, iBooks, or in her online store, you’ll need a minimum of a general (free) membership on the forum and you’ll have to indicate which class(es) you’re taking. But if you aren’t already working on something, please note that the deadline for submission is in less than 2 weeks. If you’re going to write something, you better write fast!

And since I’m talking about it, I may as well offer a brief taste of what I’m doing. This is the freewriting snippet that came out of some mind mapping and sucked me in to the story I’m working on…

It all started in a cave, in the dark. Really, really dark. You know how the sun can make your eyes hurt on a bright day? That’s what this darkness was like. It just closed in and my eyes hurt from the strain of trying to see… something… anything….

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing right now.

What are you doing? Any works in progress? Any huge eureka moments in your writing? Inquiring minds want to know!


Writers Write

I was reading from Jeff Goins’ book “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)” last night. In the first chapter he talks extensively about being a blogger and how he didn’t feel like a writer. In fact, when a friend asked him what his dream was, he said he didn’t have one. It was his friend who responded, “I thought you wanted to be a writer.”

That changed something for him. And even though he didn’t feel like a writer, it changed something in his writing. He got back to writing for himself – writing about his passions. He stopped writing what he thought he should write, and got back to writing what he wanted to write. For Mr. Goins, it made all the difference.

I should be a writer too. I WANT to be a writer. Many people have told me that they like the things I write … when I write.

And there’s the rub.

To be a writer – I’m not saying author, which implies publication (at least to me) – to be a WRITER requires one simple task.

You have to write.

So… if I want to be a writer, writing can’t just be the occasional blog post. It can’t be limited to being a member of a couple of writing forums where I encourage other people in their writing. It’s more than just taking a few online classes. I can’t only talk about the ideas I have and the books I want to produce. I have to actually put the words on the paper (err… the screen). I have to start telling my stories.

I have to write.

And you know what? The thought kinda terrifies me. That seems crazy, I know. But what if I put down the words and discover I hate them all? What if I find that I’m no good? What if people laugh at me? What if…. What if whatever?

And the answer to all of that is this… So what? All the what ifs don’t amount to anything. The simple fact is, if I want to be a writer I have to write. Nothing says it has to be good. Nowhere is there a rule that says you’re not a writer until somebody likes you. A writer, by definition, is a person engaged in writing. It’s time for me to start doing that again. And I know from hearing lots of testimonies from writers, and even my own experience, that the process of writing makes you a better writer. That effectively kills that excuse.

So… in the immortal words of Captain Picard…


If you want to join me, I invite you to take part in Jeff Goins’ challenge to writers. Let’s do this thing!