In A Brown Study – 01

in a brown study – A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association.

The Free Dictionary

The previously titled Moon Femme Musings/Ten Things is now “In A Brown Study”.

Back in the day, the color brown was associated with being melancholy, much like the color blue is today. And while my list making posts aren’t always on the depressing side, I think “In A Brown Study” is a cheeky nod to this idiom and my Dark Academia aesthetic.

1. I have been obsessed with adding English Toffee syrup in my coffee. Also sugar, in addition to my honey. Craving sweet mornings to deal with Steadily Climbing Anxiety and Gently Sinking Depression.

2. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

3. Back in a reading slump. Ughsdhfeuahfeajkfhfh.

4. I don’t like the term “doomscrolling”. I think I keep scrolling because I’m trying to find the good, the joy, the Please Tell Me It’s Okay.

5. Writing fiction is so much more vulnerable than sharing personal non fiction. Because writing fiction is saying, “hi, this the world I live in sometimes, please tell me you like it too.”

6. Sweater vests.

7. 2021 was the year that I discovered that when I meet/get acquainted with new people, I will always assume they are queer until told otherwise. I now just assume that people can read me as queer and fellow queers are like “HELLO, let’s be queer together.”

8. Current obsessions: swans, fairy tales, Greek myths, Happy Color app, Alters Board on Pinterest, rereading old favorites, Merriam-Webster dictionary, the number seven.

9. Fan fics & flash fics.

10. I don’t think I’m going to end up doing a newsletter anytime soon. Just focus on where I am posting now (here, Instagram, and Twitter).

Moon Femme Musings: The Day After New Year’s

1. By the end of this post, I want to have figured out a new name for these Ten Things/Moon Femme Musings. Part of me thinks that I should wait to post this/write this until I have a new name, but if I do that, I might never get this writing done.

2. I spent part of the evening of NYE in the hot tub and finally got some relief for my back and hips. Alas, the pain is back from sitting down through the day, but yay our hot tub works again so I can use it as often as I need to.

3. Naming Selves and Identities and Personalities.

4. Sometimes I think that I should set a timer for writing these posts so that I writing without editing and just get some words out. But sometimes I think that the way I write them works just fine so why change it.

5. I really need to drink more water.

6. Nine minutes until my next alarm goes off.

7. Archiving, deleting, unfollowing, unsubscribing, rearranging.

8. Strength + The Lovers.

9. I’m going to be starting family dinners again next Saturday and I’m trying to think of something warm and nourishing. But I deleted my old Pinterest food board so now I have to start over. Oops.

10. I still haven’t thought of a new name for this Ten Things/Moon Femme Musing posts.

2021 Wrap Up

I am in denial that 2022 is almost here. I swear it’s still 2019. I may post a more serious note about how 2021 has been emotionally, but for now, I want to do a fun wrap up. With links galore! This wrap up entirely focuses on what I’ve written here and what I’ve read. I’ll also share new updated links for ways to continue connecting with me in 2022.

And now we dive in.

Top Three Most Viewed Posts

I’m pretty in awe of how popular my first flash fic was. I really want to continue doing these in 2022 with a bit more regularity. Also, it seems like birthday post are always a good thing. I want to pick some more personal days through the year and share more things. And lastly, y’all loved that couch hopping flash fic.

Top Three Personal Favorite Posts

These are my personal faves for many reasons, most of it to do with how proud I was posting them and showing some accomplishments. For instance, May was the month I read the most books, before November came swinging in. And my favorite flash fic I’ve written so far is one that has been percolating for years. I adapted it to become a flash fic, but the bones of that story have been in my archived writings for years.

Fun Reading Stats

  • I read 59 (as of 12/23) books this year…that’s 16,338 pages total, y’all
  • Shortest book was 12 pages (love me some short novelettes/novellas)
  • Longest book was 535 pages (hello, Jane Eyre)
  • I read 22,445,198 words of FanFic (thank you to Good Omens)
  • I read 17 books in one week (thank you, E. M. Lindsey)

I don’t know how I’m going to beat my fanfics stats next year, or if I want to focus more on writing fanfic. Let’s be honest, I’ll do both. Not sure if I want to share my AO3 yet, we shall see.

Also, I want to read more novellas, more short stories collections, and set my reading goal at 150 books. Mostly because I bought a cute reading journal and it’s set for 150 books. I may include novel length fanfics as part of my book reading goal as well, because seriously. The amount of fics I read this year were between 40K and 150K words.

More Fun Reading Stats

  • 71% books written by queer authors
  • 80% books had queer characters
  • Most read genres were: LGBTQ, Romance, and Fantasy
  • Least read genres were: Manga, Memoir, and Sci-fi
  • Average star rating: 4.3 out of 5

I made it a priority to read queer books and will continue to do so. I want to branch out more in my genres and read more sci-fi. The tracking system on StoryGraph is lovely, but also, some of the books are mislabeled in my opinion. I know I read more mysteries this year than the tracker showed.

Staying Connected

At the end of the year, I tend to go through my newsletters and social medias and delete/unfollow when I know I am not feeling inspiration. So, if this is not a space you want to continue following, no hard feelings at all.

If you do want to stay connected, here are the best ways:

This blog has an integrated WordPress email every time I post something new and can go right to your inbox. (Scroll down the home page to sign up.) There is a lot I want to do here for the coming year and would love y’all to see it.

Instagram is my favorite social media (even if I dislike much of the direction and algorithm issues). I tend to post most often in the IG Stories and try to post on the general feed once or twice a week.

Twitter is another space I’m trying to use more. I use it mostly for book and writing related things. And also to follow my favorite authors.

Tumblr is mostly for my dark academia and fandom loves. I am planning on using it more next year and making book aesthetic post/reviews and such

And lastly, for folks who just want to creep my book habits, GoodReads and The StoryGraph are my favorite.

And this is it for my last post for 2021. See y’all in the New Year!

November Wrap Up

My toes are cold as I write out this intro, the Texas sun is super glaring through my mom’s window, and my Texas Pecan coffee is lukewarm, yet perfect.

I’m still grappling with the idea of it being one month until the end of 2021, I feel behind in many ways and yet exactly at the right place, right time. Please tell me I’m not alone in these weird contradictory feelings.

Now, please clap for me as we wrap up this month and my readings!

Books I Read

My November TBR didn’t go exactly as planned, but holy fuck, I have read the most this month than any other month this year. I read 19 books this month. *insert squealing and flailing limbs*

I read three novellas as I was trying to stick to my Novella November Theme: A Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers, Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, and Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca. All three were so damn good.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a new comfort read for me, it had me in tears in the best way. Nothing But Blackened Teeth was so damn good and so much was packed into it in a way I didn’t expect. Things Have Gotten Worse was difficult but brilliant. I love queer horror that doesn’t require “good queers”, and I won’t lie, I started to dissociate a bit when reading it, so do check out content and trigger warnings. Body Gore/Horror is the biggest one that got me that I wish I would have been more prepared for.

I read exactly ONE holiday romance, wished I would have read more, but that’s what December is for. I was so glad to have been introduced to The Geek Who Saved Christmas by Annabeth Albert on Book Twitter! Christmas romance! The Grumpy One falls in love with the Sunshine One! It’s so dang cute, even if most of the time I was like “Please communicate you disaster queers.”

All of the above were exactly my type of books and then, I don’t know what happened, but I waaaay read out of my normal zone and fell in love with a lot of M/M angsty romance by E.M. Lindsey and read 12 of their books in ONE WEEK.

Books 1-4 of the Broken Chains series and Books 1-7 of the Irons and Works series. The characters were all so damn lovable. My faves were: Backfire and Broken Wings from Broken Chains series; Bio-Mechanical, Stick and Poke, and Scarification from Irons and Works.

I also started Lindsey’s Baum Boxing series, just the first one Below the Belt. All of their books feature gay/bisexual disabled men and FOUND FAMILY. Also, guaranteed happy endings which is why I kept reading.

I’m so ready for summer 2022 as the last book in each series will be out! *squeeeeal*

December TBR

I do really want to read some winter holiday romances for December and found a couple on Kindle Unlimited to read so far. And I promised my friend Rachel that I would read The Winternight Trilogy.

Feel free to leave some recs of holiday books, bonus points if they’re queer!

Writings This Month

I really love the couple of posts that I was able to make and am surprised I even made any. This month is always chaotic, with traveling and just the general vibe of rushing to get things together for the winter. And let’s not even talk about NaNoWriMo…

Coming Soon…I Hope

For those who were interested, I am still planning on getting together a newsletter.

I’m also working on the idea of creating a writing prompt challenge for Instagram that will encourage me to post something every day. Not sure if I want to to do that for January or a different month yet. We shall see.

I will also be sharing more of my WIP on Instagram more, so if you aren’t following me there, now is a good time to do so.

Hope y’all had a lovely November, and I hope we all have an even better December.

Those Kind of Smells – Flash Fic

The house smells like dirty diapers, weak air fresheners, and something burnt. It’s all I can do from using my scarf to cover my nose. But I don’t think that would help sell the image I’m supposed to be giving off. A retired social worker turned private investigator who could handle her shit, not to mention her gag reflex.

Not that there was anyone watching me but the old landlord standing outside waiting to close the room back up. But damn, there were some smells that just got me. Dirty diapers were one of them. There was a reason I told my ex-girlfriend, that kids were not for me. Diapers and endless time to dedicate to their well being. When I honestly didn’t do a bang up job of taking care of myself.

I poured myself into work from an already empty cup…fuck, my therapist’s metaphors were starting to work it’s way into my daily thoughts. Fucking great….and I know I didn’t have much left to give anyone else. I was working on it, but it was going to take some time. Twenty five years of playing savior doesn’t just disappear over night.

And if my therapist was to be believed, being a PI wasn’t going to help matters. But when there’s a kid missing, well, she knows better than to argue with me now.

Thirty One Random Things

1. A former friend of mine told me in her culture, it is considered rude to give leftovers to friends, that if you want to share with your food, it means more to offer them your plate before you dig in. I don’t always remember to do this, but when I share coffee or tea, I always pour into my friends cups first and then my own.

2. The last album I listened to from beginning to end was Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. The one before that was Lil Nas X’s MONTERO. So excited to see what my Spotify Wrapped looks like this year.

3. The first story I ever wrote was in sixth grade, called The Royal Spies. Think of it as a mashup of Spy Kids and Robin Hood. All four main characters were siblings and were based off of me, my sister, and two of our cousins. I so wish I still had it.

4. My top comfort shows are Murder, She Wrote Good Omens, and What We Do In the Shadow. My top comfort movies are Hot Fuzz, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and The Emperor’s New Groove.

5. I drink my coffee with honey because one of my favorite former co-workers/friend drank his coffee that way and said it was the best. He was not wrong. Pro-tip: if you get local honey, drinking your morning coffee or tea with a spoonful of honey keeps your allergies more manageable.

6. My freshman year of high school debate class, our teacher told me that I had a wonderful voice for radio and ever since then have dreamed of having a radio show or podcast. One day, I hope.

7. Nicknames I have had in the past with no context – Ash, Little Beth, Mac, Squared, Smash, Smashley, Shley, Red.

8. One year (can’t remember which), I read over 150 books. The year after I had to sell all of my books in order to afford rent.

9. My top three tropes are found family, enemies to lovers, and the grumpy one falls in love with the sunshine one.

10. My most memorable birthday was when my auntie recreated the menu from Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. I can’t remember what age I was, but she had the large table set up banquet style and dimmed the lights so we could have candles, and found a festive soundtrack to go with it.

11. I went to college for a General Social Studies degree with a focus in Anthropology and Psychology, transferred to an English degree a year later, and then dropped out of a college and year and half later. Most days I do regret not having a degree to show for my $45K student debt.

12. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was the first Sherlock Holmes story I read in fourth grade. Thus began my love of Sherlock Holmes and I checked out the massive collection from my school over and over. I will watch any movie adaptation of that story. I’ve seen many of them.

13. One day I will buy an aloe vera plant. My great grandma used to have them and when I scraped my knee or got sunburned, she would take a leaf off and apply the gel. No cold lotion from the fridge! Although, yes, that is nice too.

14. Some of my favorite fairy tales as a kid that still stick with me are the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Swan Princess, The Six Swans/The Wild Swans, Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel, the Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid, and Little Red Riding Hood.

15. I once got very drunk at a Ren faire and flirted (or rather tried to, my flirt game when drunk, not good) with a performer named Jacque the Whipper. Apparently he has a TikTok!

16. If it has the Moon or stars on it, there is a 99% chance I will buy it. If it has the Moon AND stars on it, I will cry thinking about Wolfstar and then buy it.

17. I did theater in high school. My favorites musicals we did were CATS and Sweeney Todd. There are times that I wish I would have continued theater but I truly think it was the (majority of the) people I was with for four years that I loved doing theater with.

18. One day I would like to own a coffee shop/book shop. But also drive a traveling library. But also live in a lighthouse. But also run a B&B in Ireland. But also live in a small seaside town that is really queer learn how to ride a bike.

19. I am moderately terrified of the deep ocean. Specifically large things with tentacles. But growing up I wanted to be a pirate and read books about mermaids and selkies too. My fear and awe of the ocean is so contradictory and I hate it.

20. More often than not, my social media bios always say Queer. That is because I shift and grow so much in my sexuality and gender and it’s so much easier to say queer. I do repost and share relatable content to all the identities I experience (asexual, bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, and even more). I am sure that is confusing for people, but at this point in my life, I do not care.

21. Vampires will never go out of style. I don’t care what anyone says.

22. I started collecting enamel pins this year and am not sure which way I want to display them! I don’t have a cool jacket or one of those fun transparent panel purses. I’ll figure it out.

23. Sometimes I read old journals and cringe so hard, but then remind myself that I have grown since then. One day I will do a bonfire and toss all my old journals in. Some things just should never be found.

24. One of my favorite therapists was a laughter therapist. It’s a real thing. He was very real and my absolute favorite. Do I remember his name? No. But I remember my homework was to stop watching crime dramas and watch Parks & Rec. I needed to laugh more. We used to open our sessions with silly baby YouTube videos. Also, he appreciated my dark humor and self awareness more than any other therapist.

25. There are days that I wish I was a gamer. Because I love storylines in games. I used to watch my ex-husband play, I used to watch my cousin play, I used to watch so many of my friends play, because the music, the dialogue, the storylines. Ugh. So good. But I don’t have the skills to do so.

26. If I were to talk to my 21 year old self, I would want to shake her. Not reading romance because it’s not realistic is a not cute, being one of the guys is not all that great, HI HELLO YOU ARE VERY QUEER.

27. My first public blog (that I remember) was a comparative religion blog that I wrote as a way to keep up with my classwork my freshman year of college.

28. I only have one tattoo, which surprises most people because when you get one, they are addicting and most people tend to get more. It’s a three heart leave clover that I got with my mom and my sister. I do want about a dozen more tattoos though. Just need the right artist and money.

29. Having lived in Michigan for almost two years, a place with real distinct seasons, I’m not sure I can ever live anywhere without real seasons. Having the external seasons mimic my internal clock is a special kind of magic.

30. No matter how thick my socks are, my toes are always cold.

31. Birthdays are personal new years. I am excited to see what this new year brings.

October Wrap Up

It’s November and I still don’t know how we got here. Something something time is wibbly wobbly.

Last night was a lovely night with a sacred fire, official welcome to the family ceremony, and all the Chinese food. My legs and arms are sore from stacking firewood, but it feels good to work my muscles again. I have a large pile of laundry I need to finally fold and hang up, but I also have books that want to be read today. So, we all know which I will prioritize.

And now, let’s wrap up all the things from October.

Books Read This Month

The Lighthouse Keeper by Alan K. Baker – 4/5 stars.
This book pulled me out of my reading slump. I always forget to go back to settings and tropes that I love when I get stuck. This book had just the right amount of thrill, isolation tropes, and historical flashbacks. It’s based on a true story of the unsolved disappearances of three lighthouse keepers in Scotland 1900.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin – 5/5 stars.
How many times did I cry reading this? I don’t know, I lost count after five. There is just something about watching Clara move through the seasons, embracing her magic, and navigating what it means to be an Ever Witch. I loved Griffin’s portrayal of each season’s magic and how they manifest. It made me want to start journaling again about my magic and the seasons moods. (This was October’s book for the Litulla Book Club.)

November TBR

All the novellas! Sometimes it helps me to have themes for the month and I’ve been craving some shorter reads. Feel free to leave me some recs in the comments! So far on my list:

Writings This Month

I am really proud of the amount of posts this month. That being said, I’m going to try not to hold myself to this amount every month, but I do want to be writing more here as I am becoming frustrated with social media and it’s algorithms and shifts that prioritize videos.

Newsletter – Coming Soon

In other news, I am going to create a newsletter soon. Still not sure whether to use Tiny Letter or Substack, I have mixed feelings on Substack. But sometime this month or December, I will have a newsletter set up.

And now I am going to warm up my coffee for the fourth time and settle in for some reading.

Passing Through – Flash Fic

Mara quieted her travel alarm clock and tossed it into her small duffle bag below her on the floor. She slipped out from under the covers and dressed as quietly as she could. Her second alarm on her old diving watch went off, signaling she had four minutes left. Quickly, but carefully, she folded the blankets she had borrowed and put it back in the linen closet. 

She was a pro at this by now — couch hopping. If it were a sport, she was sure to win a medal. Mara had several years of practice minimizing her presence, erasing any evidence she had been through, condensing her life into a small duffle bag and a sturdy vintage medicine bag.

With a minute and a half to spare, Mara grabbed her bags and stepped outside. Pressing the alarm button behind her. She rolled her shoulders, cracking her neck in the process and heaved a deep sigh. As she took a step toward the street ahead, she heard the alarm reactivate on the Michelson’s winter townhome behind her. 

Who needs B&B’s when Mara was a professional at B&E’s?

Moon Femme Musings: Mental Health, Coffee, & Novellas

1. Thinking about taking a social media break soon. I’m not sure for how long, but it feels like something I should do for my mental health. Also debating deleting my Facebook entirely.

2. I emailed a few therapists the other day, already had one phone consultation and have another lined up for Monday morning. I am cautiously optimistic. I have a greater sense of what I want to work on and what patterns I want to stop repeating, so hopefully with those things in mind I will get more out of therapy.

3. *add all the things to cart* Ugh, do I really need these? *closes laptop immediately* I just want to treat myself damn it! *gets email* did you forget something in your cart? NO I DID NOT!

4. Homemade gyros and tzatziki sauce.

5. Fourteen tabs open with different novellas I would like to buy. Lolsob. Maybe I should read the books I have first? Except for I really wanted to theme my November to be Novella November, soooo?

6. The Chocolat soundtrack is always a good idea.

7. I poured my coffee mug way to full. Oops. Now I have to do the awkward lean over the table to slurp it out before picking it up. But somehow have to time it right so I don’t burn my lips.

8. Woke up to 53 degree weather. It’s happening, people! Autumn is happening! Now I have to dig out my long fleece pajamas. And am determined to buy flannel sheets this season for real.

9. Decisions need to be made. And they are really difficult ones. But rather make the decision for myself than have it be made for me.

10. Will I write today?

Never Ending – Flash Fic

“What will it take? What will it finally take for your ridiculous revenge plot to be satiated?” 

My head was heavy, and I didn’t want to get into this again. I was already past the point of exhausted, well into delirious at this point. And I knew Aria wouldn’t understand. 

“You know what I hate the most about these funerals?”

An exasperated sigh. “What?”

“The cloying sentiments, the conjured tears. As if these aren’t war criminals and genocidal villains that we’re burying.”

A heavy silence. “Then why are you still doing this, Emera?” 

“Because someone has to,” I muttered tiredly.

Flash Fiction Weekly Challenge. This week’s words are from my dear Quinn: delirious, cloying, satiated.

Photo by Jr Korpa via Unsplash