Aesthetics – Alcalá Project

I hope you liked my fourth aesthetics post, because I think it’s time to share another one.

This is the moodboard I made for the Alcalá project:

A collage with 9 different squares over a brown background.

First row, left to right:
A candle next to an open book.
A library of old books. 
The medieval city of Toledo, Spain.

Second row, left to right:
Some sorted cast metal types, with a few forming a sample paragraph.
The central square has "ALCALÁ. Sol Vera" written in a fancy teal font on top of a square that's a darker shade of brown than the one in the background.
A lamb lying on the grass.

Third row, left to right:
Several wheels of cheese.
A black and white photo of the historical Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso.
Two boys holding hands in a Castillian field.

As you have seen in my latest Word Count Update, this is still my fourth project in number of words among those in the list, but Feathers and Fireflies are about to overcome it. Chronologically, I think this was the second project I started writing, so that’s why it’s still part of the top half on my word count posts. As you know, the Academy project was created as a knock-off of this project because I’d had an idea for a story and I’d been wondering whether it would be better to tend towards fantasy or historical romance. In the end, I said “Why not both?”.

So yes, the Alcalá project was the original Historical Romance version, but it now has some Fantasy elements too. Still, it has very little to do with the other project, so I don’t think they’re going to overlap.

I already have the main characters, a very rough idea of what the story is going to cover, and some books and documents for my research, which I’ve already started. However, since it’s a Historical Romance, it needs an enormous amount of research, and I don’t think it’s going to be done any time soon. Well, as I said on another post, you never really finish doing research for your book, but I have many questions I need an answer to before I start writing, like “have I chosen the correct time period?” or “how will these fantasy elements affect the historical setting?”.

As you already know, this story will be set centuries ago in the Spanish city of Alcalá de Henares, so I hope that will be interesting. I first came up with the idea during one of my many visits to the city, specifically during a guided tour at one of the university’s historical buildings. I had to stop and take notes several times! Just so you know, the university will play a huge role in the story, so I guess that’s what the Academy and Alcalá projects still have in common. The atmosphere will be very different, though!


I’ve made all of these collages using free stock photos (and a couple of personal photos) on Canva, so to my knowledge all of them were free to use. Please let me know if that’s not the case for any of the photos.

All of these WIPs are still in progress, so everything is tentative. Things may change as the stories and the characters develop. Also, the images I’ve chosen might not be 100% accurate, but they have some elements that might be important within the story.

May 2022 Update

It’s been two months since my last update because April and May haven’t been very eventful, but I do have some news to tell you now. Nothing too exciting, but still worth an update.

So, April started well. I updated all my backups and really wanted to start writing… but then my laptop wouldn’t start. Good timing with the backups, right? Bad timing for everything else, since the warranty had just expired.

Anyway, after days of trial and error, I discovered the problem: the connection where I can charge the battery doesn’t work sometimes. Now I double-check every time, fearing the day in which it won’t work any more.

As you can imagine, I was exhausted after all of this, so I decided to rest, have some fun, and celebrate World Book Day with not one, but TWO giveaways. I also bought some books, commissioned an illustration for my Feathers project, and, when that one Twitter storm approached, created a Mastodon account.

Feel free to check it out! And let me know if you follow me so I can follow you back.

Anyway, May started and things were looking up, but then I got sick. And it was too hot. Having a fever in these record-breaking temperatures was terrible, so I couldn’t write or read at all.

Once I got better, I decided to update the first reference file I’d created. I fixed lots of mistakes, but also realized there was a LOT to update. It was encouraging to see how much my project has changed in half a year: new characters, more world-building… it took me quite a while to get everything right.

I also updated this blog with a new notebook entry! It was quite nice to be able to tell you about it at last. I’ve finished another notebook already, but I haven’t transcribed anything yet, so it might take some months because I’m already planning something else for June!

About my goals… I’m surprised to tell you that I did fulfil my April goals. And, well, I didn’t post about my new ones for May, but I managed to write and read a bit despite focusing on my health, so I’ll take that as a win.

My goals for June are ambitious, though: I want to read more and to make a thread for Pride on my Spanish account. It might be wishful thinking, but I really want to share some amazing books, so I hope my health allows it.

An open book lies on top of a bed of rose petals. A single white rose is on top of the pages.
Photo by Teona Swift on

Thirteenth Notebook

Hardcover notebook with a ribbon bookmark. The cover pictures the famous print "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" by Hokusai, except the image is mirrored to display the wave on the cover and Mount Fuji on the back cover.

The last notebook I posted about was finished last year, and this one as well, so I’ve been owing you this post for a while.

I bought this notebook at a museum where they had an exhibition with some Japanese art, and they even had one of the prints of this Hokusai masterpiece, “The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa”. I visited the exhibition with one of my best friends some years ago, but just started writing on this notebook last year.

As I’ve mentioned before, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since I usually prefer smaller notebooks I can take with me, but staying indoors due to the pandemic has allowed me to use bigger notebooks.

I really enjoyed using this hardback notebook by Tushita, so I can definitely recommend their products. Especially if you’re looking for a very solid notebook with blank pages.

But I’m sure you also want to know what I used it for, right?

Well, I’ve kept trying to focus on fewer projects, so I mainly filled it with notes for Academy, Feathers, Sanctuary, Fireflies, Oracle and research. But, in this case, a quarter of the notebook was filled with short scenes from all my projects for Taletober, a writing challenge that takes place in October. I’d participated in something similar (Escritober) a year earlier and enjoyed it, so I wanted to repeat the experience. This time was harder for me, but I might do it again this year if the prompts are good. I post these challenges on my Spanish Twitter account, so don’t worry if you’ve missed them. Because you haven’t!

Anyway, I hope you like this notebook and, believe it or not, I have another finished notebook waiting for its turn here. And I’ve already started a new one!

Art – Feathers Project by funkle420

I hope you liked my last art post, because I have a new one to share with you all. This time, the illustration belongs to the Feathers project:

This illustration has two characters against a starry sky. They seem to be resting, sitting down on something we can't see. They're at different heights.
The one on top looks younger, with darker skin, black curly hair and black eyes. He's looking down, his right arm and leg over the other man's shoulder, holding him in place. He's wearing some black leather armor.
The man below has sad eyes of a vibrant yellow, light skin and greyish hair. He has some grey fur over his shoulders that looks similar to his hair, and he's holding onto the other man's arm and staring at you.

As I said on the project’s moodboard post, this WIP started as a High Fantasy short story that got out of hand. The story of my life, I guess. At least, this time I still think I might manage to make it a novella.

The geography in this project is a bit weird, but there’s a reason for that. The magic is very strong and it shapes the world. Some people are really affected by it, too. Plus there are not many travellers, so the fact that these two could find each other is nothing short of a miracle.

Anyway, these are the lonely and touch-starved main characters of this weird story. In it, you’ll find magic, animals and very few characters, so I hope you like these two.

This compelling artwork was done by funkle420, whose style is very interesting and colorful. They have amazing portraits of humans and other animals, so please do check their art and commission information on the following sites:

March 2022 Update

Last month’s update wasn’t very cheerful, but that’s no surprise given how things have been going lately (lately here means “since 2020”, I guess).

I’ve been more active here, even if my posts are still a bit late. If you’ve seen my latest Word Count post, you might have noticed that my monthly word count has been plummeting ever since September 2021. And this year, January and February have been especially dreadful.

Well, let me tell you now: March was even worse. I guess if you count updating my blog and my two unfinished short stories, my numbers are not that bad, but I really want to focus a bit. Wish I could.

In fact, I even had to stop writing the newest short story because I had planned to make it fun, add some dark humour but make it a light sweet story, and I couldn’t keep it up. I was either lowering the tension because I couldn’t deal with it, or making all the lighter scenes depressing. I had to stop because I realized I wasn’t in the best mindset to approach that story, and I wanted to go back to its original idea. I hope I can revisit it once the war and/or the pandemic are over

At least I did the minimum I intended to do: I wrote four letters, several e-mails, and finished my latest notebook. I’ve already chosen the next one. I also created a Smashwords account and organised a giveaway on Twitter, discovered a couple of my favourite reads had been translated into Spanish, made some reference files, rested a bit, and started reading again.

Spring has been quite a relief, to be honest. A week afterwards, I started reading again, which is always a good sign. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I hope the longer days keep working their daylight charm on me so I can go back to writing my projects, especially the funny ones.

However, I don’t think that will happen any time soon, so my objectives during the month of April will be to write a bit during the spring holidays and to keep my blog updated. Oh, I also want to organise another giveaway for the World Book Day. I’m looking forward to it!

A field of sunflowers under a blue sky. With the horizon separating the blue and the yellow, it looks like Ukraine's flag.
Although I think the yellow in the flag is supposed to be wheat, the sunflower is Ukraine's national flower.
Photo by K Zoltan on

Word Count – February 2022

I haven’t posted another word count update since October because there were no changes during these months, but it’s now a new year, and knowing about the bad months is useful too.

So here you go, the last two updates together!

Line graph on a purple background that looks like someone used a paint roller on a lilac wall. On the x-axis, 8 different dates appear: November 2020, January 2021, March 2021, June 2021, August 2021, October 2021, December 2021 and February 2022. The number of words appears on the y-axis, which ranges from 0 to 150,000. There are 8 lines with different colors, and all of them but one overlap.
Blue: It's the highest by far, since it starts from the 100,000 line and keeps going up at the beginning.
Gray: Starts as the second highest, around 25,000 and goes up quite a bit from January to March, then stagnates, then goes up again.
Turquoise: Starts as the third line, but immediately stagnates and is overtaken by all of the rest except one.
Orange: Very stagnant. It overlaps with the turquoise at the beginning, then with the green one, and then becomes the last project according to the number of words.
Green: It overlaps with several at the beginning, with the orange one in the middle and with the yellow one before the end. It has a steep increase and goes from the last position to the fifth position.
Yellow: It overlaps with several at the beginning, then it stagnates, but it rises a lot later on and ends up together with the green one.
Brown: Overlapped at the beginning. It is not known where it comes from, but it ends up in fourth position.
Violet: Goes from the last position to the second position.
All of them have seen a very slight increase in the last two dates.

As you can see, the difference is not very noticeable. I thought I would be able to write more during the winter holidays, but I’ve been very busy, then sick, then busy again.

I need to be careful these days and not get burnt out again, so I’ve been writing a bit when I’m still able to. I guess I should take it as a win.

Another win would be one more project going over 40000 words. Now there’s only one project left under the 40000 line!

By the way, you can see more about my projects here.

Vertical bar graph on a purple background with flowers outlined in a darker shade of purple. On the left, one can see the names of the projects. Below, the number of words. The bars grow towards the right and have stripes with different shades of blue representing the different months.
The bars go from longest to shortest, and there haven't been any noticeable changes in the last four months.
Oracle: Either doubles or triples the length of the others, but it's because of the first stripe, which covers 2014-2020.
Sanctuary: Has managed to surpass 50,000 words. The first to achieve it after Oracle, even though it started recently.
Brothers and Alcalá: usually very evenly matched, but Alcalá has a very wide third stripe, while Brothers has a fifth stripe that helps it go a little further, managing to get third place.
Feathers: It does not have a second stripe, but it has a very visible fourth stripe because there was a month in which I only added words to this project. 
Fireflies: Used to be pretty even with the Heroes Project, but has a much wider fifth stripe that makes it more even with the Feathers Project now. 
Academy: Very narrow third and fifth stripes, while the fourth is nonexistent.
Heroes: has a wide first stripe, but not many more shades of blue afterwards.

In this second graph, you can see how many words got added to each project along the way. Please take into account that the first light stripe on the left covers everything I wrote from 2014 until November 2020.

Also, it would be unfair (to me) to ignore the fact that I started writing two short stories during these months. I wanted to participate in a couple of charity anthologies, but I couldn’t make it before the deadline. Still, I did get to write around 15000 words for one of them, and 10000 for the other one, so I might continue them in the future. Especially if they turn out to be suitable for another anthology.

As you know, I’m trying to make regular Word Count updates like this one so I can check which months are better or worse. You’ve seen the evolution is not going that well, but I hope I can turn things around this year.

Wish me luck!

February 2022 Update

My last monthly update was a bit late, so this one is too. February was a very difficult month for me, so I couldn’t fulfil all my goals. Again. I will keep trying, but we all know that the possibilities of March being a good month are rather low.

In any case, February started pretty well. I managed to rest, back my projects up, write a bit, update my blog, start a new short story for a charity anthology… and then life happened. And it hasn’t stopped happening, as you know.

I’ve tried to finish the short story anyway, even though it wasn’t on time, because I thought I could use it for another anthology or as a freebie. But then I realized that what had started as an amusing story was becoming more and more depressing. I did like the original idea, so I’ve decided to wait until things get better and I can reconcile with my own sense of humour.

And regarding my goals… Well, I did update my blog, even if I still have a few pending posts —the word count wasn’t that interesting, so I might wait until I have more info to share. But I haven’t finished the notebook I was in the middle of… I only have a quarter of the notebook left, so my goals for the month will be to finish the notebook and write some letters and e-mails I should have sent a while ago. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anything done during March, but I’ll do my best.

Take care, everyone. And be kind to yourselves.

A cemetery covered with green grass and old tombstones. It looks like a hill with some beautiful trees. It's a bit cold and misty, probably the end of winter, and the sun is setting, painting the cloudy sky with warm colours.
Photo by Anna-Louise on

Twelfth Notebook

A notebook with a beige cover and a plastic sleeve. The cover has pencil drawings of forest animals, like an owl, a deer, a fox and some rodent. There are also lots of plants and mushrooms. Some of them have splashes of colour. Among the plants and animals, there's a ribbon with the words "let's meander and wander and maybe get lost".

It’s been longer than a year since I last posted about my notebooks, and a few months since I finished this one, but at long last I had time to write about it.

I bought this notebook way back in 2016, when I visited London with a friend before Brexit would make it more difficult. I didn’t start it until Autumn 2020 because, as I’ve mentioned before, I used to be inclined to use smaller notebooks when I was away from home. Since the pandemic made me stay indoors, I decided to make the most of it and use the bigger notebooks instead.

I really enjoyed using this notebook by Paperchase. The pages have several illustrations as beautiful as the cover, so I was even more motivated to keep writing in order to see all the beautiful animals. And the plastic sleeve kept the notebook safe and clean while making it much lighter than a hardback.

In this notebook, I tried to focus on a few projects instead of sprinkling words all over the place, so I mainly filled it with notes for Academy, Sanctuary, Brothers, Oracle and research. In fact, a quarter of the notebook was just filled with notes I’d taken at an online conference for and by Spanish writers, which I count as research because they talked about structure, dialogue, fear, routines, revisions, action, characters, diversity, representation, psychology, historical fiction, sword-fighting, query letters, irreverent romance, smut, and magical realism. Yes, there were over 15 speakers and it lasted 10 hours, but it was amazing, I laughed and learnt a lot, and I would do it again.

If anyone is interested, the videos can be found in Spanish on YouTube, so just let me know which one you want and I’ll send you the link.