The Most Popular Posts of 2015

Welcome to the very last Paper Beats World post of 2015. I have had such an awesome year, watching this little corner of the internet grow. I can’t wait to see what sort of community we’ll build here in the next year.

2015 was full of surprises for me. I wasn’t expecting to get promoted at the day job. I wasn’t expecting to move. I sure wasn’t expecting to get a dog, which was on my Bucket List, by the way. All of these were good surprises, but still.

I was also surprised by the posts here that you all loved the most.  Really, I guess I shouldn’t be, but I was.  Just in case you missed them, here are the top ten most popular posts of 2015.

10. Writing 101, Day 15. That’s actually kind of misleading, because the fifteenth day of writing 101 I didn’t do the prompt at all. That was the day I finished the rough draft for Starting Chains. The title of the post was Done! I am really surprised and touched that this announcement made the top ten.

9. Writing 101, Day 17. The writing 101 event was awesome. This day the prompt was about fear.

8. Writing 101, Day 14. This was a writing prompt that led me to write a comical (I think) short piece in the form of a letter.  Again I am so thrilled to see some of my personal fiction work on the top ten list. If you missed the ‘Open Letter’ feel free to give it a read.

7. Write a Sapphic poem. I think Google search engine had something to do with this. Sapphic isn’t a common word, after all. I love the form, and I love the word. So, if you found my site by searching for sapphic poetry, welcome!

6. Market, Betwixt. The first but not the last market to make it to the top ten, Betwixt was an anthology that I did not enter. Again, I think search engines played a part here.

5. Write a burlesque poem. I really hope someone found this when searching for something naughty.

4. Writing 101, Day 6. This was a writing prompt that led me to talk about my day job. At least, more than I usually do. It also led to some of the nicest comments I have literally ever had on this site. I actually cried.

3. Markets, Second Hand Smoke. Again, search engines. But this was one of those markets that I was really happy to see. I am so glad that we’re becoming more aware of the impact smoking has not only on the health of the smoker, but on the people they smoke around. I wrote a piece that I might post here sometime, about growing up the daughter of a smoker.

2. Get Your Free World Building Printable. Alright, I guess this one doesn’t surprise me at all. It was free, it was pretty cool, and I talked it up on Social Media a lot. But I’m really glad people liked it. I hope you click on the link and get it, if you haven’t already.

1.The Best Gift For Writers. I guess I underestimated the ‘gifts for’ theme. I was so happy to see that this one was so popular.

Thanks again for reading. I can’t wait to see what tops the charts next year.

Don’t forget, I’m on Patreon now. If you want to support me, and help me keep doing what I do, please check me out. You also get stories that won’t appear on Paper Beats World, and some other goodies.  Click here to see my page.


Taking a Writing Hiatus and How to Come Back

Christmas is over.  The wrapping paper is in the trash, and the cookies are all eaten.  Today is Sunday, and I’m getting ready to go see Transiberian Orchestra this evening.  Exciting!

Tomorrow marks the start of what I call “Hangover Week.”  It’s the four to five day span between Christmas and New Years that are a horrible purgatory of still in vacation mindset but you’ve still got to go to work.  The kids aren’t in school and your relatives might still be in town.  if you’re an introvert like me that’s a nightmare all by it’s damn self.  With all of that crazy going on, the thought of adding writing into your day can very well seem like a baseball sized crater crashing into your eggnog soaked brain.

So take the week off.

I’m serious.  There are times in our lives when all of the ‘Can do, pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality in the world will not help you.  Having a baby, the holidays, family emergencies, just being sick.  Any of these can toss your life on it’s ear.  This year, for instance, I took time off when we moved.  I also took from the 23rd to tomorrow off.

This is important.  Our brains need to rest, just like everything else.  Otherwise we suffer from burnout.  So take some time and take care of yourself.

Eventually, though, it’s going to be time to get back to work.  Like tomorrow for instance.  The next time you find yourself trying to come back from an extended writing break, here’s some things that might help.

Planning and preparations beforehand

  • If at all possible, schedule your return to the writing world. I know this isn’t always going to be possible.  If you’re sick it’s a crazy thing to even consider.  But if you schedule a hiatus on purpose, which I highly advise, plan your return date.  Put it on your calendar, in pen.  Because if you wait to get back to work when you ‘feel like it’ it might never happen.  If you know it’s coming, you’ll be more mentally prepared.
  • Have something waiting for you that you are pumped about.  Trust me, if I go back to a desk full of editing I’ll be less than enthusiastic.  If I have nothing, I’ll fear my desk. (Though I have two sure fire ways to avoid a blank page.  One is the fact that I’m working on a series.  The other is my 30 Days, 30 Ideas Challenge every August.)  But, if I left off on a great chapter, and I know what I want to do with the next one, I’m ready to get back to work.

The First Day Back

  • I try to plan my writing day back for a day I don’t have to work at the day job.  Coming back to work is going to take more time than you think.  If I try to start again with just my normal two hours, I’ll spend the whole time trying to collect my thoughts.
  • I don’t have a huge to do list the first day, because I know damn well I won’t get it all done.
  • I like to plan a special treat for the morning I get back to work.  A special creamer, a unique coffee.  Maybe even doughnuts.
  • I don’t ask a lot of myself, that first day.  It’s more about getting back into the grove than actually producing anything decent.

Here’s hoping this helps you get back in the swing this week.  I am going to spend the week trying to figure out my five year business plan and trying to get all of the stray wrapping paper out from under the furniture.  Oh yes, the indie writers life is just rock star.

If you’d like to support us here at Paper Beats World, and get access to more of my writing than I share here, please check out my Pateron page.  You’ll also get a copy of Days before anyone else! 



Markets, Glittership

Merry Christmas!  Actually, you’re probably reading this a few days after Christmas.  I know I’m not even looking at my computer today.

So, whenever you read this, the market this week is Glittership.

Glittership is a podcast that is devoted Science Fiction and Fantasy with an LGBTQ theme.

Genre- Science fiction and fantasy

Word Count-100 to 6,000

Submission date- Any time

Payout- 3 cents a word

Wait Time- Not listed

Rights- Also not listed

Here, then, is your link to full submission guidelines.

Don’t forget that I’m on Pateron now.  If you want to check out my page, get access to more of my fiction work and even get a copy of Days before anyone else, click here.

Holiday Printable Post

Merry Christmas Eve!  So, here’s your present, are you ready?  I collected all of the printables I made this year, (All two, but I’m hoping to create more next year.) and put them together in one post for you.

I hope you have an awesome holiday, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for all of us!

This one is for a printable to bring list when planning a writing trip with your kids.

This one is the far more popular World Building printable.

If you guys like this, I’ll make it a yearly thing to collect the printables I (hopefully) make throughout the year.  Let me know!

Also, don’t forget that I’m on Paetron now, so if you want to show your love and get access to my stories before anyone else, check it out.

Thirty Days, Thirty Ideas, The Book

Remember how one of my big goals for 2015 was to publish my first e-book?  Remember how I’ve been working on Days like crazy?  Well, I’m still working on it. Cover artists and such.

That’s why I made this book instead.

Thirty Days, Thirty Ideas

For those of you who were around in August, the name is likely familiar.  I hosted a Thirty Days, Thirty Ideas challenge, hoping to inspire people to come up with a brand new idea every day for a month.  This book is a collection of all the email prompts I sent out to participants, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

This is my first experience putting together my own e-book.  I did it more to learn than anything.  That’s why I want to give you the chance to pre order it for free.

Click on this link here, and use the coupon code 30one, and you will get the pre order for free.  The release date is January 21, at which time the book will be available for $1.00.

Thank you all for helping me reach this milestone, publishing my very first e-book.  I hope you get a chance to check it out, and I hope it inspires you to come up with some new ideas to start 2016 off right!

What Made My Life Rock in 2015

Wow, so Christmas is in three days.  My house smells nice, there are wrapped gifts under the tree, and I’m focusing the next few days on reading JR Tolkin’s Letters From St. Nicholas.  Also, coffee.  My monsters have one day of school left before vacation, and then we’re going to do all the awesome Christmas stuff we can in a three day span.  I’m trying really hard to focus on savoring the last hurrah of 2015 and not look forward toward 2016 just yet.

Because 2015 was an amazing year for me!  I am ending this year feeling so blessed and thankful.  I made a lot of strides, and a lot of healthy choices.  A lot of things that were totally out of my control went well, too.  So, instead of talking about what rocked this week, I want to share with you what rocked this year.

  • I finally started taking vitamins every day like we’re all supposed to.  I take a D and a B12 with my dinner break at the day job.  My seasonal depression isn’t knocking me out so hard, and I have more energy.  Also, I’m not getting colds as often!
  • Getting Sticky Fingers published was a huge thing for me.  Not only is it great to see my work in print, I got a chance to talk about Woven on Stephanie‘s amazing website.  I cannot tell you how rockstar it made me feel to be interviewed!
  • I am blown away by how much Buffer has helped me.  I have no time to drop everything and tweet four times a day, but with this I can take ten minutes a day and schedule tweets.  For any of you awesome people finding me because of that, thank you.
  • I finished two books this year, Broken Patterns and Days.  Broken Patterns is seeking an agent, and Days just needs to be illustrated and it’s going to be available!  Can’t tell you how amazed I feel that I actually finished both of them.
  • I finally got an Erin Condron planner, and it has totally been worth every penny! (Not an affiliate, I just love them.)
  • For those of you who don’t know, I got married last January!  And I’ve had a ton of fun (not really) teaching people how to pronounce my new last name.  (It’s Luttrell.  Pronounced Lu-trull.  It’s German, not French, and we have otters on our family crest.)  But I love being married to my amazing partner and best friend.
  • We moved into our first house.  It’s an actual house with a yard and a basement and a washing machine!
  • I’ve been using the bullet journal method all year, and it helps me so much!  Nothing gets done if I don’t write it in my journal, but it goes so far beyond productivity.  I am actually journaling my days, keeping track of my life while it’s going a thousand miles an hour.  This is a habit I have tried to form since I was 13, and am just now mastering.
  • Finally, if you’re reading this, you’re on my list, too!  I am still blown away, every day, by the fact that people come here and read the things I write.  Thank you so much, because you are a big part of what made 2015 one of the best years of my life.

I hope you all have a great holiday.


Yes and No

So far this month we’ve talked about two big things that help me keep my life in balance.  Having a good day job helps, and trying to get a little bit done every day is huge.  But there’s one more big secret.


Yes and No are the most important words in your vocabulary.  But you’re probably using them wrong.


I want you to do a little experiment with me.  Grab your bullet journal, flip to the next two empty pages, write yes on one page and no on the other.  Now, for the next week, write down the things you said yes and no to.  No judging, just detailing your habits.


If you’re like me, you’re probably saying yes to a lot of things.  To working overtime, to helping with chores you shouldn’t be responsible for, to taking on more responsibilities, to a boring meal you aren’t excited about because it’s easy.  We say yes because we feel like we should, or because we don’t want to offend people.  And it’s not just things that others ask of us.  Sometimes it’s things that we ask of ourselves.  One big thing I’ve asked of myself is to enter a ton of writing contests.  I love them, and they’re fun.  But I said yes to too many.  I said yes to way too many sweets, and too much gaming, and a lot of things that I just didn’t need in my life.  I said yes to reading books I had no interest in, because I felt like I should read them.


I am trying to stop that.  Instead, I’m trying to say yes to things I really want to do.  Sometimes that is helping out my friends, and even picking up some hours at the day job.  But more often it’s yes to new foods, new books, new experiences, new music.  I am saying yes to reading as much as I want and good coffee instead of junk food.  I am saying yes to playing with my monsters more.  I am saying yes to watching scary movies on the weekends.


Now, about no.  I have a fun story about the day I learned to use no.


My mother was getting a new couch.  There was nothing wrong with her old couch, she just wanted a new one.  Such is my mother.  But she didn’t want to have the old couch, which belonged to my great grandmother before she passed, hauled away.  So she wanted me to take it.


Now, I already had a couch.  It was blue, and huge, and comfortable.  It was broken in all the right places.  But, being the people pleaser that I was, I agreed to get rid of my awesome couch and take the one that she wanted to get rid of in it’s place.


The night before my uncle was going to come and swap the furniture, I started to cry.  Just bawl, at the thought of losing my couch.  I thought, what the hell is the point of saying yes when it makes me this miserable?  My mom’s happy, but I’m sure not.  Did I really want to replace a couch that was worn with love for one that was itchy and uncomfortable?  No, I don’t want it.  So I called my mom and told her I had no intention of taking the couch.


I still remember that sick feeling when I was going to have to give up something I wanted for something I didn’t want.  And I listen for it.  If someone asks me to do something, and I feel that sick feeling, I say no.  And I don’t explain.


This is the secret behind Yes and No.  Don’t explain to anyone but yourself why you used one or the other.  When someone asks something of you, or when an opportunity introduces itself, think about it, then say yes or no.  Because it’s a sad fact that for everything you say yes to, you must say no to something else.


Now, let’s go back to your list.  At the end of the week, take a look at your yeses.  Are there any on there you wish you’d said no to?  What about your nos?  Any disappointments there?


Oh, and as a final thought, I have something to say about ‘I’m Sorry.’  Only say it of you mean it, say it fast when you should, and never say it over what you decide to say yes and no to.

Markets, Thinking Horror

I love talking about horror, and why people want to read and write horror stories.  Stephen King is probably the master of that, but I don’t mind tossing my humble hat into the ring.  If you like it, then Thinking Horror is a great magazine for you.  It’s all about non fiction essays about horror stories.

Genre- Non fiction concerning the horror genre.

Word Count- 1,000 words or more

Wait time- Not listed

Payout- $20 per article.

As always, here is your link to the full submission guidelines.

Want to support Paper Beats World?  Check out our Patreon page!

Busy Day

Hey, guys.  This story is going to be in Days, and Other Stories.  Hope you like it.


Busy Day

    There was a line at the check out desk. Rosemary was there alone, and from what Morgan could see from the library office she looked near tears.
She sighed. She would have to finish her lunch at the counter, even though someone was sure to complain about the vinegar smell from her fries.
She reached the counter at the same time as Michael. “You can go back to your lunch, I was just coming to help,” he said.
“Three will be faster than two,” Morgan said. She gestured for the first patron, and started stamping their selections.
“You guys do seem really busy,” a woman on the other side of the counter said. “What’s going on?”
“Tax aid,” Morgan replied.
“That and the school being closed,” Rosemary said.
The woman’s face turned somber. She took her books, and left without saying goodbye.
“Could you maybe not bring that up?” Michael hissed. “It’s not like an elementary school being bombed is something people want to be reminded of.”
They both glanced toward Morgan. She didn’t have any kids, so she assumed their sympathetic looks were because she lived just a block from the school and could have been killed that day.
The next woman in line made all three of them fall silent. She had the dark skin that spoke of her Middle Eastern heritage. She wore a hijab over her hair, as did the older of the two girls with her. Morgan thought she must not be used to it, because she was tugging at the hem.
“Is the taxes class still here today, please?” the woman asked.
“It is, yes,” Morgan said, “downstairs.”
“Thank you,” the woman said, and led the girls away.
Rosemary leaned in to Morgan. “I don’t know why the police haven’t arrested her and her husband. The school’s bombed a month after those Muslims move in? No one thinks that’s a coincidence.”
Morgan’s purse was in the alcove at her feet, full again of explosive putty. She nearly laughed out loud, but did her best to look somber. “The carpenter was there yesterday,” she said. “Hopefully we can get the building fixed soon, and start forgetting about this whole mess.”

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