My lovely friend Sarah recently tagged me in a Facebook post. She does this every so often, when she sees something that makes her think of me. Sometimes, it's about friendship, sometimes about wine. Sometimes it's about the 80s or 90s (ah, those were the days). Sometimes, it's something that will simply make me laugh. This time, it was about writing. 

Sarah's not a writer herself - at least, as far as I know - although I'm sure she could be. She probably even should be. This girl is super funny, wickedly smart, and creative, to boot, She helped me work through this paralyzing writers' block when I was working on Dragonfly a few years ago. She also reads like crazy (she is responsible for both my favourite reads and those I have most loathed). And she gets me, like few people ever do.

Anyway, so she tagged me in this posted photograph that said "30-Day Writing Challenge". She commented, "Alyssa - sound like a fun activity?"  I looked at it, and thought - why yes, yes it does. 
Then added, realistically, "but let's just do 10, shall we?"

Without further ado, here is the "10" day writing challenge list:

"10" Day Writing Challenge
  1. Five problems with social media
  2. Your earliest memory
  3. Your first love and first kiss
  4. Ten interesting facts about yourself
  5. A place where you would live, but have never visited
  6. Someone who fascinates you, and why
  7. A book you love and one you didn't
  8. A quote you try to live by
  9. Your current relationship status
  10. One thing you're excited for

So, that's the challenge. I'm pretty happy Sarah thought to tag me - she's a great motivator. And I'm definitely up for this modified challenge, although, I'm sure we all know, life will likely slow me down. Like it is for pretty much everyone, life is busy. There's the writing stuff, the marketing stuff, the riding stuff, the - most important - family stuff.  My oldest has started pondering life's great mysteries, my middle is working on establishing himself as a "big boy" and not mommy's baby (NEVER!) and my youngest has just started eating solids (woot!) and creeping (ahhh!)). 

But I think I have enough moments here and there that together, can add up to a little daily writing time. I think I'm up for the challenge. And if not... well, fire me. :) 

I can't wait to get out on my bike. Either of my bikes, actually. 

My beautiful Giant Revel, a hardtail, is waiting impatiently for me.I can tell, looking at her, that she's missing the crunch of dirt beneath her tires, the trees whipping past her sturdy frame, the wind swirling around our bodies as we tear up the trails. 

My time with my Revel, especially on the trails in Birds Hill Park, is actually what inspired the last two things I've written (both in various stages of editing) - one a post-apocalyptic novel and one a contemporary teen romance/drama. But both pieces feature cycling in a very prominent way. Both reflect the joy of the activity as well, I think.

Anyway, she's a great bike. We had a blast a few summers ago, and I felt bad when I had to shelve her this past summer due to the fact that I was quite pregnant and not at all up for riding. But now that my son has arrived, I'm itching to get out there again. 

It's been a long, admittedly mild, winter, but the snow and freezing Winnipeg winds reinforced my decision to be a seasonal rider. The husband, of course, spent the winter with frozen eyelashes and icy toes as he continued his riding on his Norco Fatty and Giant cross bike. Not I - I'm no winter warrior. But as the temperature creeps to zero and even above, as small stretches of road become ice-free, as mud and dirt begin to appear around the edges of the lawn where the snow is fading, I can feel the spring returning. And I can't wait! 

As an early birthday present, the husband bought me my first ever cross bike - a Liv Brava SLR - for our city rides. I've always taken my hardtail in the past, and he thought, since I love the city rides best of all, we should get something with a better roll than my mountain bike, but more stable and versatile than a road bike. Something we could take on-road and off-road. Liv Brava was it. And she's a sleek beauty, if I do say so myself. I want our first time out together to be perfect, so I'm waiting to ride her until the conditions are just right. I've also never ridden a cross bike (nor a road bike, in case you were thinking one experience was similar to the other), so I'm a little nervous to go out on my own. I'd like the husband to come with me, but that will mean arranging for a sitter, which is a whole other hurdle to clear before getting on my bike. 

So, I watch the snow melt and I pine and I plan and I wait. How about you? Any cyclists out there itching to get done with winter and give the roads or trails what-for?

Oh, and if you're a Manitoba bike enthusiast, feel free to check out the amazing riding club that I'm part of. I haven't actually ridden with them yet, since they formed while I was a non-riding pregnant person, but I have the jersey already and it's sliiiiick. You can find them at www.prairiepedalpirates.com. 

Coffee and I, we be tight.

The thing about coffee is that it's a low calorie, any-time drink. It's a wake-up-early, up-too-late beverage, from the time honoured "black the way God made it" variation to the classic latte to the "would you like some coffee with all that cream-and-sugar" cup, there is no shortage of wonderful ways to indulge. Hot or cold, on hot days or cold ones, coffee is there.

It's also a particularly social drink. I find people will invite one another out for "coffee", even if the person doing the inviting isn't really into the Java themselves. It's just what people do.

And I'm so glad they do it, too. I'm a big fan of coffee, obviously. Besides the fact that it just tastes good, I like being highly caffeinated whenever possible. And the smell of a fresh cup brewing... so good.

Every so often I'll get the coffee abstainer cocking an eyebrow. "Blah-blah addicted... blah-blah health risks... blah-blah tastes bad..." and so on. Let me just say, first of all, you can't really call it an addiction. I mean, would you say you're addicted to breathing? Of course not! You need it for survival! Coffee is kind of the same thing.

Secondly, there are a number of studies that suggest coffee actually has health benefits! Now, I'm no scientist, but who am I to argue with those finding? Especially when they support my decision to drink coffee on a regular basis.

Finally, maybe it tastes bad to some people because they've never actually experienced a well-made cup of coffee. I mean, there's coffee and then there's coffee. I'm no coffee snob, don't get me wrong. I mean, I can drink all kinds of coffee. I guess there are a few exceptions - like the coffee at our local Smitty's - ugh. And the free stuff at my work - shudder - the smell alone is enough to put me off coffee for a week! But, for the most part, I'm okay with a mediocre cup of coffee. That said, some are simply better than others. Nothing quite beats fresh ground coffee from freshly roasted beans, made with an Aeropress or, as a close second, a V60 pour-over. Mmmm, mmmm, mmm. 

For me, there are few common experiences as fabulous as waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee brewing, or sitting down to work with a hot cup of Joe at my desk, or curling up on the couch with a book and a mug.

So here's to that magical, beautiful brew. I'm off to enjoy another. Join me, won't you?  

Yes, here we are. A brand new site, a brand new blog, a brand new day. I suppose I'll kick things off here with a little update. My novel, Dragonfly, is heading towards its first blog-tour in April. I'll post more info about that as we get closer to the date, but today, I'm mailing four copies of my book out for review, plus emailing an e-pub version. It makes me a little nervous, but I suppose if I wrote it, I should be willing to have people read it. Especially since it's already for sale. :) 

My other contracted novel, which has yet to have a concrete release date, has recently been sent to me from my publisher with the final edits for my approval. Honestly, this editing process has been absolutely fantastic. The editor I've been working with is just so spot-on, and as I read the changes and see the way my story is being polished and perfected, I'm getting so excited to see its release. I hope readers love the characters and the world I created for them. Or maybe it's the world the characters created for themselves. After all, it often felt like my characters had plans of their own, that they only let me in on as I was writing. Anyway, I'm looking forward to its release date and to seeing how that one does. Just so you know what to look for, it's entitled Infusion. It's a YA Science Fiction.

Then, I have a novel which is in the pre-editing stage. I've had one rough copy-edit done, and now I recently hired an editor to do an actual edit on it. This is the first time I've worked with this particular editor, but he comes highly recommended, is from my home-town, and is reasonably priced, to boot. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go. There's no title, as of yet... at least not one I love so far. This one's a YA post-apocalyptic novel. It's a little grittier than the others I've written, but might be my favourite yet.

Finally, I have another piece I've written which isn't speculative fiction at all (gasp!). It's in the very early stages though. I wrote it last year, but have yet to actually re-read it. I'm afraid it will be terrible, and I'll hate it, and I'll have wasted all that time writing, and I'll abandon all hope of ever writing something mainstream. It's a sweet YA romance, or maybe a drama... I'm not entirely sure, since it's been so long since I wrote it and it kind of took on a life of its own as I wrote. But after I have the post--apocalyptic one done, I'm going to open up this one and take a look. 

So, that's where we are today, at this moment. Heading out to the post-office to mail my books. Wish me luck! Or, even better, stop by Amazon and check out books by Alyssa Thiessen - and maybe, if one seems interesting, give the sample a read. And if it seems like you might enjoy it, download it. And, if you read it and do enjoy it, please leave a review. Reviews help books get seen, which help them get read, which help them get reviews... you get the picture :)  

Happy reading!