Tag Archives: TLW


The Gloaming

Gloaming: Evening twilight; shade or dusky light; or even as an adjective as in: gloaming-sky, gloaming-hour, etc.

If you are of Scots heritage, you may recognize this word. I first heard it at one of my husband’s family gatherings. It was part of a poem: ‘roamin’ in the gloamin’. At the time, I’d no idea what it meant, but it sounded cool.

Our wonderful Old English Dictionary has ‘gloaming’ blossoming into written usage sometime in the eleventh century, possibly even before, which means it’s quite possible the characters in Avelynn, set in 869, might have looked up and admired the gloaming-sky. Or perhaps they took a walk in the dimming of the gloaming-hour.

Here’s a wee excerpt from Book #2 in the Avelynn series (still untitled because coming up with titles is hard! 🙂

Alrik laughed, seemingly amused at her antics, and let her perch on his lap for most of the evening. Gil tried valiantly to engage me in conversation, but as the candles burned lower, my discord grew. Incensed by Marared’s grating laughter and the deep rumble of Alrik’s voice, I pulled Alrik aside, feigning a need for fresh air.

We walked side by side under the weak light of a waning gibbous moon. The wind was sharp, and the damp chill from the sea sent shivers down my spine.

“What is it, Hjartað?”

“Marared desires you.”

“I have known her for several years. We are good friends.”

Friends my ass. I scowled at him, the force of my displeasure obscured by the gloaming around us. “I’d just as soon you not fawn over her so much.”

He roared with laughter. “The vixen is threatened by the mouse!” He reached out and played with a lock of my hair, his fingers brushing the skin above the kirtle’s neckline.

To be continued … ;D

In gratitude,

Marissa xo



A Farrago of flowers from my garden :D
A Farrago of flowers from my garden 😀

Farrago: A confused group; a medley, mixture, hotchpotch.

The OED dates common usage about 1637. Old enough for me to include in my Avelynn novels, which are a farrago of different story elements.

An author takes a farrago of plot, characterization, setting, and theme, mixes them all together, waves a magic wand, and viola, they have a novel! I am often fascinated with the ‘method’ of writing a good story. There are a lot of books on the subject, and in truth, I have just bought four more. However, in saying that, I’m terrible at figuring that ‘method’ out. I write intuitively, which is a fancy way of saying, I have no clue what I’m doing as I do it. As I write out the farrago of ideas rampaging around in my head, they weave their magical way into scenes and chapters complete with tension in the right places, pacing that ramps up to a climax, and character motivation that drives the action … all without knowing how I’m doing it. The story just comes out that way.

This is all fine and dandy in a first draft but quickly becomes a problem when it comes time to edit and I realize something somewhere is off. Without a guide or a detailed treasure map outlining the elements of story and how and where to use them, during the editing process, I’m not always able to figure out what the issue is that just isn’t working. It’s like an Easter egg hunt in a mansion. They could be anywhere!

This is where wonderful people called beta readers come in. These hardy souls are a farrago of readers from all walks of life—friends, editors, agents, friends, people you beg and cajole off the street—who critique your manuscript. You hand them your words, and they return with feedback that will help you zero in on those mistakes, those rapid misfires, those ‘what the hell was I thinking’ passages. They help turn a farrago of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs into something someone somewhere might actually enjoy reading one day.

Writing is a process, but I love what I do, and I love the people who support me every step of the way in this wild process… including you dear reader… whoever you are… reading these words… right here… right now. I do this crazy gig because of you. Thanks for being here.  🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo



Embrangle The Latest Word is: Embrangle: To entangle, confuse, perplex.

The Oxford English Dictionary has embrangle coming into common usage in the 1600s but its etymology dates back to the early 1500s with brangle, which, I’ve decided, is a cool word all on its own and may have to write a post on it, too—when we come back around to B. 😀

Here’s how we use it:

They were embrangled in the nets.

I am embrangled and torn between conflicting difficulties.

I like this word. So similar to the physical act of entanglement but with the added definition of a mental struggle. This is a word that even upon first glance, the reader should be able to determine its meaning based on its use in the sentence, even if they’d never happened upon the word before in their life (which I hadn’t until I read the entry).

Characters are often embrangled within their plot lines, and as an author, I am often embrangled in the plot itself. I have a rough outline, but as I write the story, it fleshes itself out and twists and turns and takes new and unexpected forks in the road—some of which are entirely pointless and must be deleted. And far too often, half way through the story, in the murky, messy middle, all the plot holes and character motivational misfires start to rear their ugly heads. This is because I am a pantser—someone who basically flies by the seat of their pants when writing—as opposed to a plotter who meticulously plots out every scene, every arc, every development BEFORE they add a single word to the story. There is something to be said about plotting, and I’m going to try and write my next book with this approach because I am convinced, after Avelynn #2, that pantsing is NOT an efficient way to write a book!

In the murky, messy, pantser middle, I am often embrangled. Big time. The second book in the Avelynn series was very difficult to fix. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (a monthly writing challenge that takes place every November whereby we write 50,000 words in 30 days) most of which steered me off coarse and embrangled me in plot snares and character black holes that were almost impossible to recover from. The novel followed so many divergent threads, that I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what the premise was, or even what the main point was anymore!

With characters, to embrangle them in messy plot choices and make them clamber out of the carnage is what makes a story great. We can’t have characters riding along on sunshine and roses, we have to make the struggle, we need to throw story curves and plot bombs in their path and make them dodge or take a hit and recover. That’s what’s so fun about writing books. Creating conflict and fascinating surprises and developments that seem to come out of the blue, or that have been building for chapters and acts. To embrangle is to drive the story forward, and there’s a satisfying almost sadistic glee to the whole thing. ;D

I’ve finished the first draft of Avelynn #2 and am currently working on fixing up the wayward threads as I work my way through my round of edits. Hopefully, the embranglement from this point forward will be limited to what I’ve created for my characters and the rest of the edits flow smoothly. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo