Cat Parent stories, #6

Someone hisses.

“Hey! Be nice! And I don’t care who started it, sort it out like adults!”

… Five minutes later, no one has so much as moved.


Can you really never go home again?

Conventional wisdom holds that reading fanfiction you wrote six or seven years ago should be a cringe-worthily horrible experience. So… am I weird?

Because I’ve spent the past week reading through stuff I wrote in the last year or so of college and slightly after, and I don’t hate it. After all this time I’m basically my own, relatively unbiased beta reader and I’m polishing things up to post on Archive of Our Own.

Of course, I’m being selective. It’s only one specific fandom and only one specific pairing from it. Well… mostly. I have, like, three favorite characters that didn’t lead me to write things that make me want to dash my head against a wall and/or get a super-sized insulin shot from all that sugary sweetness crap.

That said, even some of the stuff I still like is pretty weird. Like, ‘oh my god why did I write this’ weird. But in a funny way.

Continue reading “Can you really never go home again?”

IWSG Post #13


FEBRUARY QUESTION: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Before I googled some stuff to help me write this post, I didn’t even realize that New Adult was a genre. That’s entirely, completely what I write, and I love that I now have a label I can put my finger on! According to Wikipedia this genre “focuses heavily on life after an individual has become of legal age, and how one deals with the new beginnings of adulthood.”

In college, my usual MO for research papers was to navigate course concepts through whatever I was writing. A psychology/physiology class on emotions resulted in a paper where I explored the science behind emotions by comparing Vulcans to humans. An art history paper turned into an investigation of color choice and medieval pigments as I recreated an unfinished page from an illuminated manuscript and attempted to explain my color choices based on historical precedent.

In the present, I’m turning thirty in May and still don’t feel like an adult yet. So. I’m exploring that in my writing too. I love being able to do that.

Continue reading “IWSG Post #13”

IWSG Post #12

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

When it comes to writing…

I could not be happier with my NaNoWriMo success this year. A lot of it was building on my momentum from last year, which is ultimately what I want to do. I need to just finish a project, and then I can go from there! And the way I want to get there is writing a little bit every day.

Planning ahead of time and getting a complete timeline worked out for the story really, really helped.

If I’d thought of it more ahead of time I might have spent more time researching baseball teams and all that. My main characters are happily bonding over things I know nothing about, haha.

#catsofinstagram #christmascookies #catmascookies

A post shared by Jean (@cat_in_the_ciderbarrel) on

When it comes to everything else…

I would go back in time and start actively balancing my checkbook earlier in the year. At least that would have felt like the sky was falling all at once when financial disaster finally hit.

Most everything I would do differently has to do with how I’ve been spending money.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was get more into yoga, and it happened relatively late in the year but it has happened! We made a friend who is now hosting a yoga group in the loft of her house. I finally have a reason to dig out my yoga mat. Success!

I’ve been baking and cooking more lately. The only thing I would change about that would be to start doing it sooner. It’s been very therapeutic, creativity inspiring, and also a lot of fun to share the recipes here.

And I’m not going to lie, the only way that could have happened is if I’d quit my job earlier. It had just become a place I didn’t want to be anymore, and was running me into the ground.

Stopping in the middle of NaNoWriMo to draw a floorplan

Thank you, Internet, for providing me with the means to look up a colonial house layouts with a specific square footage that I can base this on. The characters are going to spend a lot of time in here, pulling out carpet and replacing it with hardwood floors.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 4.16.08 PM
First floor
Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 4.16.19 PM
Second floor

Fun times when I realize I forgot to put in the door to the master suite. You enter by climbing in through the bathroom window!

Also, that unlabeled space across the hall from the master bath is a walk-in closet.

Research Help Needed!

I posted this on the NaNoWriMo forums as well (here), but…

I’ve decided to set my novel in New Hampshire despite never having set foot in the state. I also live in California and don’t really know what real weather is. Please help with the following!

  • What’s the weather like in July, August, October, November, and December?
  • What baseball team(s) do people follow?
  • What styles are most of the houses?
  • What is the LGBT scene/atmosphere  like?
  • Slang people use
  • Anything else I should probably know

NaNoWriMo 2017

I’ve finally made a few decisions about what I want to do this November.


I will definitely do NaNoWriMo. My novel is already announced on the site and I’ve come up with a working, if stupid, title that I got from googling “how to come up with a good book title.”

… It’s “Good Book Title.” Which probably won’t stick, although one of the main characters is a published author so maybe I can actually work that in.

The temporary cover image is one of the stock drawings from the how to come up with a good title wiki page.


It’s definitely going to be a second draft of the novel I was working on last year, which crept along so slowly that partway through I had to do an emergency retcon just so I could get anywhere near the end of the story by 50k. Despite that, I think there probably still are some bits I can still use, but a lot needs to be changed/rearranged and there will be a lot of new stuff to fill in the gaps.


I’m cheating a little and already writing. At the moment it’s mostly backstory shorts that wouldn’t necessarily be in the novel though.

… I say that, and yet it’s vital character building stuff for the main character’s later struggle with his sexuality as an adult. So I don’t know.


Boy howdy do I write better if I treat each scene like a short story. So for now I’m sticking with that, and filling in later. If I can spend November just getting down the most important bits, that would still be great progress.

So there’s that. Let me know if you’ve tried the each-scene-treated-like-short-story method and how it worked for you!

Tomorrow’s post will be about the fires in Sonoma County, where I happen to live.