NaNoWriMo Update: An Excerpt

Let’s meet Dazh!

Dazh Qorin (pronounced “Dazz”) is the brother of my main character (Dranna). In the part of the book I’m currently writing, Dazh and Dranna are getting ready to meet up after not having seen each other for six years. In fact, Dazh’s disappearance is what caused Dranna to go on walkabout in the first place. It turns out that he has been held captive by the Queens of Galithnia, the floating kingdom far, far to the south.

In this excerpt, Dazh thinks about the dangerous monsters that have been spotted around the castle and the Queens’ attempts to stop the attacks. He also stops to consider one of the Queens in particular, who has been acting oddly of late, and the Roots themselves, the elemental energies that make up the universe…

Dazh breathed in. The aroma of musty old books pervaded his senses, and he suppressed the smile trying to creep across his face.

Finally. The Library at the Academy. The Queens had finally lifted their restriction on his being allowed through the gates. Well, it had been mostly Thideren’s convincing of Yentruoc not to block his access. He had been released from the castle cell weeks ago, and had been helping with the Fol’noc, even researching how better to kill the demons – yet the queens still had been hesitant to grant him his wish of seeing the Library. The “why” had something to do with tradition, with outsiders not being allowed to breach the hallowed halls . . . After all, the entire reason he had been imprisoned in the first place was his own cursed curiosity, which had pushed him to trespass in this sacred archive. No outsiders in here, not even visitors, he had been told.

But tradition could only go so far, when the entire country was in shambles.
The attacks had grown more frequent. The Fol’noc that had killed the king and queen of Galithnia had apparently been only one of several – or a hundred – or fewer than four. It had grown impossible to tell. And Rerun Grin – another interesting specimen! – still claimed that the original Fol’noc hadn’t been eliminated yet. How did the man know this? He couldn’t say. Just grumbled shuffled his boots angrily and tried to hide the fact that he brimmed with Fire Root energy constantly.

It couldn’t be healthy. It just plain couldn’t. No one else Dazh had ever met – save maybe his sister – could hold that much of any Root for long periods of time.

. . . And even Dranna shouldn’t. It was part of why he had come to Galithnia, to research why her headaches were getting worse.

Dazh frowned as he stepped into the main stacks, considering his circumtances as he peered at the spines of the tomes around him. He had at last been able to impress upon Thideren Relleum the importance of his research – or at least, a very basic understanding of it anyway – and she had, although reluctantly, given him her royal blessing to go forth and read “whatever you think you need to read,” as she had said. Yentruoc had basically agreed to give him access to the library to get Thideren out of her hair. The twins seemed more at odds than ever, lately, and he couldn’t blame them. The stress of dealing with their country falling apart – the country which they had only recently become rulers of – must have been excruciating. Yentruoc had taken to her quarters more often than not of late, and Thideren had been left to do the governing by herself.

The times Dazh did see the quieter sister, she had seemed . . . different. In an unknown way. Each time, she seemed more drawn in on herself. It was to be expected in someone who had just been thrust into a leadership role unprepared – and especially of someone who had lost loved ones in order to have that come to pass. But Yen still seemed . . . odd. Almost as though she grew brighter. It really seemed like the only appropriate descriptor. Dazh had never been good at manipulating Roots – that was Dranna’s wheelhouse, not his – but he could still sense all six elemental energies, and Yentruoc Relleum nearly bled Light from her very skin. Dazh couldn’t be completely sure without creating and running at least one research experiment (or maybe several) on the woman, and that perhaps would not go over particularly well for anyone involved. He had just gained access to the library. He didn’t want to jeopardize his progress by accusing the highest authority in the land of . . . well, he wasn’t sure what.

It still bothered him.

Well, that was a problem he needed to research further, that was sure. The books beckoned, however, and he put the thought out of his head. Or tried. Before his too-long sojourn in the castle brig, he had written Dranna about his findings. Such as they were. Something about the Line seemed . . . different . . . in Galithnia, and it made him curious. The Roots usually twinkled just out of the corner of his eye, a presence he couldn’t touch but felt as though it breathed on the back of his neck. Here, in the kingdom of dragons, the Roots felt stronger, but also odd. He couldn’t shake the certainty that the Roots danced counter-clockwise here . . .

Whatever that actually means, he thought.

It starts: NaNoWriMo

Well, today is the day.

I say this every November. I realize that. And I’ve never finished a novel during this month given to novels. But every November, I prioritize writing and work on my craft. I have always said that that is a good enough reason to do this every year, and this year is no different.

National Novel Writing Month is an event celebrated by many. I’m one of the many! I will be gunning not for the 50,000 words, but for an end to the novel I started when I was 15 and that has been through a thousand iterations since.

I have been feeling that once this novel is complete, I can move on. I completed this novel when I was 17 years old. And then, throughout the years, once I had abandoned this (bad) first draft, it was like nothing I wrote was good enough. I needed to return to the Illusions and their ilk, and finish what I had started. So that’s what I’m doing here. I just need to finish it. And then after this month, maybe I will work on something that I want to do, and work on getting the novel I’m proud of up on Kindle.

Stay tuned!

Got costumes? Let’s see ’em!

On October 15, the Cool Gamers Retirement Home (my Twitch collective!) is hosting a “Hallowstream” — bingo, Gartic phone, prizes, fun! You know about that already.

The important part to know today, though, is that all this week, we are hosting a costume contest over on our Discord server! If you need an invite to the server, get at me here or on Twitter.

All this week, put your photos of your most ghoulish costumes up on the server. Winners will be announced Friday during the stream!

Elizabeth Parsons, a white woman with glasses, wears a top hat with goggles and sits on a couch.
Let’s get lit.

Task list: NaNoWriMo

It’s getting closer! Here are the things that are currently on my to-do list for getting to and through November with my dignity intact (and a novel, although that is secondary):

  • Reread the novel. I am fairly certain I know where I’m going and what I need to do, but there are some fuzzies in my brain and I need to make sure I’m still headed in the right direction.
  • Go over the plan for the rest of the book. I am, I would say, comfortably 2/3 of the way through, but I only have vague hand-waving for what I want the end to look like. I can pants some of it, but not all.
  • Stock up on good coffee, dark chocolate, and bourbon. (Ol’ Uncle Hemingway would be proud, I guess?)

I am also going to start getting up early and writing or reading in the mornings… hoping to make it a routine. Notwithstanding that I got up at 9:30am this morning. But it’s going to be a journey that I take with myself again. I spent a lot of time a few years ago getting up at 5am every day to write before heading to the office.

This is going to be fun! I am actually looking forward to prioritizing my creativity again. Here’s to Dranna and the rest of the gang. We’re finally going to find that keystone.

White woman wearing glasses smiles and holds a cup of coffee while sitting on a couch. The throw pillow next to her says "Just One More Chapter."
Live-action photo of me being extremely excited about the book. Thanks to Soph for the photo!!

You’re invited: CGRH Hallowstream!

Get ready, folks! We have an official date for the Hallowstream, hosted by the Cool Gamers Retirement Home.

Date: October 15, 2021 (Friday)
Time: 7pm EST

Join us for fun, games, costumes, and bingo! We are going to have a costume contest and I have been making perler crafts for bingo prizes. Tune in to the stream of RedriaPlays at 7pm EST for the festivities!

Hallowstream 10.15.21, 7pm EST

-free to play browser bingo
-hosted by RedriaPlays on Twitch
-come play with the CGRH crew
-win special prizes if RNG is in your favor, some handmade
-grand prize for blackout bingo
-enter a costume contest and judge streamers on their costumes

Be there, be square, we’re going to have a great time.

KATRYAM: Fall Stream Schedule

It’s official, folks. It’s A U T U M N.

Thus, I want to play some spoopy games. Let’s get lit and get fit. It’s spoopy time. Stay tuned for more news about a HALLOWSTREAM coming up on October 15, too! Tune in at

Katryam Fall Stream Schedule:

Zelda: Skyward Sword
6pm EST

Spoops and poops
6pm EST

Multiplayer with CGRH
10am EST

Stardew Valley Sunday
11am EST

Coming up on Tuesday, September 28: We are gonna get back into Home Sweet Home and it’s going to be scary and I’m probably going to pee my pants.

Some thoughts on identity

I announced this on Twitter earlier this week, but I have officially rebranded as “LizCultivates” on Twitter and Instagram as an extension of the “Liz Makes” branding that I’m now using here on this site.

I’ve been waffling on changing it for a while. The “LizWrites” has been part of my identity for so long that it’s difficult to imagine what my online persona would look like without it. But now I’m doing it!

The tweet thread (linked above) explains my feelings on “LizCultivates.” In essence, as I create new things and grow as an individual and person who “makes stuff,” I am cultivating myself. I’m finding my identity and growing into it. Which, if I think about it, is really all I’ve been trying to do here with this blog anyway.

I don’t say anything groundbreaking here. It’s really just a space for me to be. I have projects to tout and cat photos to share. But it’s in service to how I want to live my life and how I want to be seen as a human: that loopy poet type who loves cats and knits shawls and gets poetry-inspired tattoos.

I’m getting there. And this change to @lizcultivates is more than just a social media branding thing. It’s a change in how I am looking at myself and what I want out of the things I create.

And really? All I’ve ever wanted is to find myself.

You’re Invited: JoD4HAP Release Party

Don’t forget!

Mark your calendars: Monday, September 13, 2021, 7 pm EST

Instead of my regular Monday Zelda stream, we are going to host a release party for the second issue of The Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals. Shit’s getting real, folks. The issue is amazing and I can’t believe I get to to share all this awesome work with you.

Follow me on Twitch to be notified when the party starts!

It’s finally here: JoD4HAP Issue 2

I’m proud of this issue, maybe even more than the last. It’s nearly twice as long. It has two interviews with prominent names in the Pathfinder space. It has fiction. It has homebrew ideas.

We are doing this dang thing, fam, and I am floored at the hype we’ve gotten so far. Alex and I envisioned this journal two years ago in a different world. A different universe. The fact that we have been able to carve this thing out of ourselves — with the help and support of our lovely contributors — not once but twice this year is a testament to our dedication and a testament to how well we work as a team.

It’s nice to have creative friends. It’s even nicer to have a space where you feel at home in your creativity. Alex has been both of these for me for a long time, and I’m proud of how far both of us have come.

That is to say…

Get hype, nerds. JoD4HAP is here to stay.

The Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals, Issue 2

Bottom left, Cora the cat holds a toy mouse.

Middle, Soph sits at a laptop in front of a game board. She is dressed as a rogue in cape, bracers, knife. She sits in a forest. 

Right, a lego character holding a red lego staff sits on a DND gaming map.
Click the image to visit the site for download.

Liz Writes: You know what month it’s gonna be?

I know you know.

It’s that time of year again.

Yes, I am talking about National Novel Writing Month.

This coming November, I am once again going to participate in my revised capacity — that is, I won’t be starting any new projects, just working toward finishing the things currently on my plate. I haven’t worked much on my novel from last year in a while, so I’ll need to do a full re-read before November starts. But I’ll have the same goal as last time: finish this dang thing.

It might seem kind of pointless to participate in NaNo when the major tenets of the month (50k words on a new project) aren’t really my goal. But as I explained to someone recently, it’s not really about the bragging rights of being able to say I wrote 50,000 words or anything like that. The community is nice. There are Twitter accounts that host word sprints and groups of affirming people to share excerpts with. The energy around NaNoWriMo is what draws me to it. It gives me a good excuse to drop everything and plug away on my novel.

And damn it, my current project is 72k words and probably 2/3 of the way done — another 50k will put it over the edge and I will be finished with this draft. So I’m going to do it. This year, it’s going to happen.

Be on the lookout for excerpts, updates, and more as November approaches.