Magical Readathon: Christmas at Hogwarts

What’s this? Two posts in one day? It must be holiday craziness. 🙂

I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I’m thinking about jumping into the “Christmas at Hogwarts” Magical Readathon, going on now. It started on the 17th and goes through the 26th.

I’ve decided that, since we’ll have family in town for the holidays, and since I deserve a bit of a break after yesterday’s book launch, I’m going to take some time off from writing to enjoy the holidays and some good books!

The task sheet for this readathon is part of what hooked me. It’s super creative and modeled after the Marauder’s Map. Honestly, how can I resist? She’s even made versions in different colors (check out the video linked above for those), but I like the parchment style best.

The readathon tasks are decoded as follows:

  • Finish your coursework = finish your current read
  • Help Hagrid decorate the trees = book with a golden detail
  • Have a snowball fight with the Weasley twins = a book you think will be humorous
  • Visit 3 Broomsticks for muller pixie wine = a read that should only take you a day/evening
  • Exchange presents at your Common Room = read featuring/about friendship
  • Sneak into the kitchen to gift Dobby odd socks = read that has an item of clothing on the cover
  • Attend a Yule Ball = book you’ve been preparing yourself for
  • Fly around snowy Hogwarts grounds = building on the cover
  • Put on your knitted sweater from Molly Weasley = read with present parents or a focus on family
  • Use your Invisibility Cloak to get to the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library = read a banned book
  • Bring a festive treat to Hedwig at the Owlery = animal on the cover/title/series name
  • Attend the Christmas Feast = watch a Harry Potter movie (optional)

I am currently (and have been since the 17th) working on finishing Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. So, that’s going to be my “finish your coursework” book. 37864158

Then, I think I’m going to “help Hagrid decorate the trees” by reading a book with gold on the cover. I think there’s enough golden hair on the cover of this one to make it count, right?

Jane Doe

Can we agree that Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone counts? Please? Because I really want to read this next… I have more planned, but I’ll keep those to myself for the moment and post when/if I manage to finish these two.

Are any of you participating in this Magical Readathon? If you need a “help Hagrid decorate the trees” book, might I recommend my novella, Vivian’s Promise? It’s a short, fast read and has a lot of gold on the cover…

Definitely let me know if you’re participating, and tell me what you’re reading in the comments. Happy holidays and happy reading!

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Anticipated 2019 Releases (#T5W)

It’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday blog post! This week’s topic is “most anticipated 2019 releases.” There are so many good books coming out in 2019!

These are the books coming out in 2019 that I am most excited to read right now (listed in increasing order of excitement, with #5 = most excited!):

  1. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee — Release scheduled for January 2019. This is a middle grade book, but it’s written by the author of the Ninefox Gambit series and is part of this new, expanded Rick Riordan multi-cultural universe. I really liked Ninefox Gambit and have been trying to get to the rest of the series for months now. But this book looks so damn good, I’m willing to try yet another middle grade, even though we’ve already determined that rarely ends well because I’m no longer in touch with my pre-teen self.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi — Release scheduled for January 2019. I’ve yet to land on a favorite book by Roshani. I like her writing, but my absolute favorite story of hers isn’t one of her books. It’s a short story she wrote called The Vishakanya’s Choice that I read in volume one of the Booksmugglers’ Quarterly Almanac. I think it’s because she leans more poetic in her writing, and I love a good plot. This one is a treasure hunt with a secret society and being comped to National Treasure. So, it sounds like something I’m going to love.
  3. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells — Release scheduled for July 2019. I was lucky enough to read an early version of this manuscript because I met Rebecca at a writing workshop (Madcap) and offered to be a beta reader for her. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book so I can see the final version and get back to this world. If you like dragons, you have definitely got to add this to your TBR.
  4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern — Release scheduled for November 2019. It’s no secret that I LOVE The Night Circus and that I’ve been patiently waiting for another book by this author. I barely read the book blurb before adding this to my TBR on Goodreads. I have a feeling this is going to be #1 on my Christmas wish list next year.
  5. The Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner — Release scheduled for March 2019). Another author and series that I LOVE is The Queen’s Thief series. I still haven’t had a chance to read book five (released last year) because I’ve been meaning to do a full re-read of the series. I guess that means that re-read will be happening starting in January. Who’s with me?

I’ve created a spread in my bullet journal to keep track of all the awesome new releases… as well as the 2019 Book Riot Read Harder tasks.

Yep. That’s right. I’m thinking of participating in #ReadHarder again this year… Stay tuned for a future post on my 2019 reading goals. I’ve been thinking about what I want next year to look like in terms of reading and everything else. At some point between now and the end of the year, I’ll formulate my thoughts into a blog post.

Let me know in the comments if you know of any new releases that you think I’d love and that I should add to my 2019 new release BuJo spread. And let me know if you’re up for a Queen’s Thief series re-read (or if you plan to read it for the first time to get caught up before March).

Happy reading!

Top Five Wednesday: Books to give my husband as gifts (#T5W)

It’s Wednesday! Time for another Top Five Wednesday post! This week the topic is “Books to Give _____ as Gifts.” I’m filling in the blank with my husband. I feel pretty safe doing this because 1) I’m not actually getting him any books for Christmas, and 2) should I decide to change my mind about that, he probably won’t read this blog post anyway.

Doing a top five list on books I would buy for my husband may seem incredibly specific. But, this list would also work for any incredibly difficult people to buy for on your shopping list. Particularly, ones that prefer to read only non-fiction or hard sci-fi. If the person you’re trying to find the perfect book for is really into learning new things and following their curiosity, but prefers all the world-building in the novels they read to be grounded in reality, this list may give you some gift-giving ideas.

And, as an added bonus for anyone who knows my husband and is inclined to buy him a present for Christmas, you are free to take any of these ideas. I know he’s particularly difficult to buy things for. So, consider this my gift to you. You’re welcome. 🙂

To give you a sense of my husband’s taste in books, most recently, he read and enjoyed the first two books in the Expanse series (Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War), as well as Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill. He also reads a lot of non-fiction, but I’m keeping this list focused on sci-fi novels that I think he would enjoy, based on ones I know he’s read and liked (recent and past), plus his favorite sci-fi authors (like Neal Stephenson).

Here are my selections for the top five books I think my husband (or anyone who loves hard sci-fi) would enjoy:

  1. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers — Technically, this is the third book in a series of loosely connected books. I’ve read the first two in this series, and I think my husband would enjoy both of those books (the second maybe more than the first). But, I already have those books. So, I’d recommend this one for him, especially because I’ve heard this one is slightly different and possibly the best, yet. One of the things I love about these books is how they wrestle with tough questions and meaty themes, but are ultimately optimistic about humanity. He really likes meaty themes, and sometimes he could use a dose of optimism in light of the state of “general world suck.”
  2. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice — I love finding new takes (especially from under-represented authors) on “the same old” sci-fi and fantasy novels. In this case, a crumbling post-apocalyptic society. My husband is a fan of post-apocalyptic books, especially when they have plausible apocalypses and deal with the gritty reality of survival. For example, he really liked The Dog Stars and also The Water Knife. This one sounds like another that he would enjoy.
  3. Walkaway by Cory Doctorow — My husband has read, and really enjoyed, several other books by Cory Doctorow, and I’ve been hearing that this one, Cory’s latest, is maybe his best yet. This is another spin on the post-apocalyptic novel, but likely to be unique because Cory Doctorow is kind of known for spending a lot of time thinking about the intersection between the future of technology and society. And since he knows a thing or two about technology, and the culture surrounding technology, he usually comes up with some pretty plausible stuff.
  4. I Still Dream by James Smythe — I found this on The Guardian’s best of 2018 list. Their lists have, in the past, been a good source for finding books that my husband might like. This one is about artificial intelligence, which is something I know he’s interested in. I also got a lot of Diamond Age (by Neal Stephenson) vibes from the blurb. It may be because of the young and brilliant, female protagonist. I’m not sure how available this book is in the U.S., but I think there is a high probability that he would like it.
  5. Gnomon by Nick Harkaway — I wonder if this one isn’t a little too “on the nose” to be a hit with my husband, but I’m including it anyway because it’s got all the markers of being a book he would really enjoy. It sounds like it’s kind of a 1984 -type story of government surveillance, but the blurb also reminds me of The Circle (another book my husband liked), and it appears to maybe have a sort of code for the reader to uncover along with the main character. So, while it appears to have a lot of themes that I feel are maybe getting a bit overdone at this point, I think it has unique enough aspects to be something he’d find interesting.

If you have other suggestions that you think he might like, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what else might be a good choice, just in case I do decide to buy him a book or two for Christmas. 🙂

Top Five Wednesday: Book Wish List (#T5W)

I think we’ve established that I have more than enough books on my Kindle, on my bedside table, and on my TBR shelf. I probably have enough to keep me reading for years without ever buying another book. Yet somehow that does not seem to stop me from buying more, or putting more on my wish list.

This week’s “Top 5 Wednesday” topic, inspired by the holiday season, is asking about the top five books on your wish list. Narrowing my list down to just five was challenging. Luckily, a lot of the books on my list don’t release until 2019. So, I excluded those (for now…they’ll probably show up in a future T5W post…). Since the spirit of this list is about gift giving, and giving print books is usually more fun than giving/receiving ebooks, I decided to keep my top five focused on the books I wouldn’t mind having in print.

Given that, right now the top five books on my wish list this year are (in no particular order):

  1. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson — I’m super curious about this book. It sounds like something I would love. But I’m skeptical. No offense to an author who is clearly a beloved fantasy writer, but I’ve been a little unsure about white male writers writing young female main characters of late. I’ve been burned before. So, I’m hesitant to spend money on this when I might not like it. Also, I don’t love the cover, which is kind of a maker or break it print buy thing for me. My solution to this is that I’m waiting for it to come out in paperback, be available at the library, or for someone to get it for me.
  2. The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi — I loved the first book in this series and am really excited to find out what happens next, just not $13.99 on Kindle worth of excited. Especially not when I have a pile of other great stuff to read. So, like Skyward, I’m waiting for it to be available in paperback, or at my library, or to go on sale, or for someone to get it for me.
  3. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle — Somehow I never read this book. I was reading a blog post recently on Tor’s website talking about how it’s the 50 year anniversary of this book and how well it’s held up. The article really made me want to read this book. Unfortunately, because it’s an older book, it appears you can only get it in print. No digital options are available. So, I added this to my wish list.
  4. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The rise and reign of the unruly woman by Anne Helen Petersen — I recently listened to a Smart Bitches podcast interview with the author of this book and immediately added it to my wish list. Non-fiction is an automatic print read for me, unless I can get it on audiobook from the library. Reading non-fiction in a digital format annoys me. I think it’s because I’m a very visual reader who can flip back to find a passage in print a book super fast because I remember where it was physically on the page and in the text. I can’t do that as well in digital, and its something that I find useful when reading (or referencing) non-fiction.
  5. The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll — I’m a bullet journal nerd and this book looks great. I’m always looking for inspiration and ideas for how to organize and track things better. This would make an excellent present for any paper-planner person in your life. I put it on the wish list I sent to my “The Broke and The Bookish” secret Santa. But, if I don’t get it from them, I may just have to buy myself a copy.

If you happen to be someone I exchange gifts with, and you don’t know what to buy me, you can always check what books are on my “want to read” list over on Goodreads. Those are the books I don’t own yet, but that I’ve marked as ones I want to read. Some more than others. Conversely, if you’re looking to rule out something I may already own, just have a look at my tbr-Kindle or tbr-paper shelves. If it’s on one of those, then I already own it.

What books are on your wish list? Definitely let me know, especially if we exchange presents. Also, let me know if you’ve added Eve of the Fae or Vivian’s Promise to your wish list this year, or if you’re planning to give a copy as a gift, because that would be awesome, and I would love to know about it! 🙂

November reading summary and NaNoWriMo recap

Well, it’s taken me all weekend to (mostly) recover from NaNoWriMo. I made achieved the 50k words in 30 days goal, but the first draft of book two isn’t done yet. Right now it’s looking like I’ll need to write a total of around 70-75k words to get to “the end” in this first draft. But still… Winner!!! 🙂

NaNoWriMo is always a challenge for me. The “writing with abandon” mantra is not always a good fit with how I write. That’s partly why I enjoy participating. It pushes me a bit because it favors the pantser, and I like that it brings an infusion of serendipity and whimsy into my writing, because I’m a planner. I write really lean and organized first drafts. I don’t like writing words I’m just going to have to cut later. And I don’t write super fast, because I tend to edit as I go. Even though I tried not to edit during NaNoWriMo, it was pretty much impossible. So, I just wrote the way I write and took extra time to make sure I got to 50k words before the end of the month. It worked, but it took a lot out of me, as it does every year.

Based on the past few months of writing, I think a target of about 25k (new) words per month is probably about right for me in a non-NaNo month. I like to write every day, when I can, but I don’t like to feel like I have to write 1700 words every day. That’s about three hours of writing for me, when you factor in breaks. And I have other things I need to do in a day, even if I’m not “working” at a “real job.”

The other thing I figured out this month is that every single time I got stuck it was because I didn’t do a good enough job planning where I was going next or because I forgot to research something or figure out how I wanted it to work ahead of time. For example, I did a great job thinking through character names in October, because I know that always slows me down. But, I forgot to spend time working out the details around the magic system, and I didn’t do nearly enough prep around the capabilities and characteristics of my antagonist and her crew. So, some of those scenes were much slower to write then they needed to be. I may spend some time working out those details this week, now that the big push for words is over.

Since NaNoWriMo kept me busy in November, I didn’t have much time for reading. This is so unusual for me, but I only finished one book in November. I did get about halfway through Muse of Nightmares during Tome Topple, but the writing came first. So, as much as I’m loving that book, I didn’t allow myself much time to keep reading and finish it.

Seafire by Natalie Parker was the one book I finished in November, and it was pretty great. My only gripe was that it ended on a cliff-hanger. I wasn’t expecting that. For some reason, I hadn’t grasped that this was supposed to be a series. Even if I had, I still don’t think I would have anticipated that the book would end where it does. So, if cliff-hangers bug you, maybe wait until the next book is out to read this one. But, definitely add it to your TBR. I love the female pirate crew in this book. The characters are great, the friendships are so well done, the world-building for lives primarily lived on the sea or near the sea is thoughtful and logical. It’s listed as “fantasy,” but I’m not sure I would classify this as fantasy. It could be fantasy if you assume that the setting is meant to be secondary-world, but that world operates under laws of science like our own, so that’s why I think of it as more futuristic, possibly even post-apocalyptic, sci-fi. So, if you like your speculative fiction more on the plausibly realistic side, and if you like found family and female friendships, you definitely need to check this book out.

The first few weeks of December are going to continue to be busy as I finish this first draft, edit a novella, and prep different novella for release later this month. My goal is to have everything wrapped up by launch day (12/18), and then spend the rest of the year reading, hanging out with family, and having a little reflection and goal setting time in my bullet journal. But, don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting for “Top Five Wednesday” and other fun stuff throughout the month.

Until then…Happy last month of the year! Happy reading! And happy holidays!

New Modern Fae book coming soon!

I’ve been so busy with NaNoWriMo and writing book two in the Modern Fae series that I *almost* forgot to tell you about the Modern Fae prequel novella that’s coming out in three weeks! Yikes!

Here are the top five reasons you want to go pre-order this book right now:

  1. Vivian’s Promise can be read as stand-alone novella. That’s right, you don’t have to read Eve of the Fae to get what’s going on here. The two books are definitely connected, but if you haven’t read book one, yet, or if you aren’t sure you’ll like it, the prequel novella is another perfectly acceptable place to start with my series.
  2. Do you like your Fae on the creepy side? My world has both creepy Fae and more friendly Fae, but this book happens to feature a trickster Fae who is definitely on the creepy side.
  3. How about fake relationships? The two main characters in this novella (Vivian and Oscar, both humans) are strangers at the start of the story, but have to pretend to be engaged in order to survive an encounter with the Wild Hunt.
  4. Are you a fan of gruff heroes who are sensitive but not necessarily forthcoming with their emotions? If so, you’re probably going to fall in love with Oscar.
  5. How about short and spunky heroines who aren’t afraid of speaking up? Regardless of whether she’s facing off with the leader of a gang of ghosts or standing up to her parents, Vivian may be the sweet auntie in Eve of the Fae, but she’s definitely got a salty side.

Bonus reasons to grab a copy of Vivian’s Promise: it’s a short, fast, fun read, and it’s only $1.99.

Vivian’s Promise will be released on 18 December in ebook format, only (because it’s a novella). Pre-orders are up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Google Play and iBooks links are coming soon. You can also add it to Goodreads. And, please feel free to request the ebook from your local library.

Thanks for your support! I can’t wait to share this new release with you!

Top 5 books I almost forgot I want to finish before the end of 2018 (#Top5Wednesday)

It’s Wednesday again and time for another Top 5 Wednesday post. This week, we’re supposed to be talking about books we want to read before the end of the year.

I was going to skip this one because I sort of already did this with my end of year TBR. Then I sort of did it again with my Tome Topple TBR. But several other books have popped back up on my radar due to podcasts, end of year best of lists, Goodreads choice awards, etc. So, in an effort to not repeat myself, and because my TBR is insane right now, I thought I’d make this list about five books that I almost forgot about, but really want to read before the end of the year.

Here are the top five books I almost forgot that I want to read this year:

I’ve been really enjoying the “Lady Sherlock” series by Sherry Thomas. So, when I realized that I had the first book in her YA fantasy, The Burning Sky, on my Kindle, I boosted it to the top of my TBR. That was sometime earlier this year, and I haven’t had a chance to read it, yet. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze this in before the end of the year.

I’d almost forgotten about Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I bought this when it was on sale because I try to read any YA sci-fi that sounds like it might be a space opera. Recently, I’ve been watching Alexa’s YouTube videos on writing and publishing, and now I’m even more curious about how I’ll like her book. I have to say, based on her writing advice and how she talks about her books, I’m sure it will be romantic and melodramatic, but I’m skeptical about her world building skills. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised?

In contrast, the YA sci-fi that I’m most excited about right now is Light Years by Kass Morgan. I’m a big fan of the TV show The 100, but never read the books. So, when I saw that the author had a new series coming out, also sci-fi, I was all over it. I’ve got this book queued up on my hold list at the library, just waiting for me to release it so it can land on my Kindle.

Then, I just saw the trailer for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, and it looks amazing. I happen to have a signed copy of this book sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me to dive into it. Maybe I’ll grab that today after I finish Seafire. Seems like a good pairing because I know Natalie and Julie are friends.

Another book that I was recently reminded of is Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone. This book is not like anything that normally makes it onto my TBR. However, I’ve been hearing so many people gush about this book that I snatched up a copy months ago, when it was on sale. Then, over the weekend, I listened to an interview with the author on one of my favorite podcasts, and that conversation bounced this back up to the top of my TBR. Or at least to the top five, anyway.

Now, I better get back to finishing my NaNoWriMo novel, or I’m never going to have time to read all these books! Which reminds me… If you’re looking for a fun, fast, winter-themed fantasy read to add to your end of year TBR, you should check out Eve of the Fae. 🙂

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Largest Books on my TBR

It’s Wednesday! Time for a Top 5 Wednesday List! This week’s topic is “Longest books on your TBR” because there’s going to be a #TomeToppleReadathon later this month. Yay!

For this list, I’m only counting books that I actually own, and I’m excluding any multi-book compilations (like The Inheritance Trilogy, or the Southern Reach Trilogy) that I purchased in one ebook bundle or bound set. The individual books within these multi-book bundles may or may not all be over 500 pages.

That leaves these as the top five longest books on my TBR:

The funny thing is, I have no plans to read any of these anytime soon. It’s not that I don’t want to read them…well, most of them, anyway. I just don’t want to read them right now. I’m still excited about the Neal Stephenson books (Reamde and Anathem), but I’m just not in the mood for his writing style right now.

I really want to read The Wise Man’s Fear, but what’s the point when I don’t even know when book three will be available? I’m just going to have to re-read the entire series, anyway. So, I’m saving that.

I also really want to read Kushiel’s Dart, but not enough to bump it ahead of the rest of my end-of-year TBR. I’m going to save it for a different Tome Topple event.

And then there’s City on Fire… I got this in my Indiespensible subscription box. Unlike the others, this one I actually have on paper, and not just paper, but hardcover special edition in a sleeve and everything. It may even be signed. I really should just un-haul this or give it as a gift. I’m probably never going to read this book. But, who knows.

Sad to say, but none of these would make it onto my Tome Topple TBR. Not that I really have time to participate… This month’s Tome Topple Readathon starts at midnight (in your time zone) on November 16th and ends at 11:59pm (in your time zone) on the 29th of November.

If you read my blog, you know my November is already pretty booked up with NaNoWriMo. I think I’m going to participate by reading at least one of the “tomes” on my end-of-year TBR (see previous post), specifically Our Dark Duet and/or Muse of Nightmares. I probably won’t finish one, let alone both, of these 500+ page books during Tome Topple. But, I thought I’d make a Tome Topple TBR anyway…

If I had more time to read, this would be my full Tome Topple TBR:

As you can see, I’m a little bit behind on the Throne of Glass series. Looking through the books over 500 pages on my Kindle reminded me of that. So I added Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. At this point, I really need a refresher on what happened in the first four books, because I’m not sure I remember where things left off. How sad is that? This was once one of my favorite series… Since the last book in the series (Kingdom of Ash) just came out, it’s probably time to get caught up.

I also added Jade City to my pretend Tome Topple TBR because I’ve been meaning to read this book all year and haven’t gotten around to it. This was one of the Hugo/Nebula nominees that I wanted to try to read before the awards were announced. At this point, it’s not likely I’ll get around to reading it until next year. But, it would definitely be in my top five for Tome Topple.

Are you planning on participating in Tome Topple this month or are you too busy with NaNoWriMo? Are any of these books on your TBR? Let me know in the comments…

October reading recap and end of year TBR

It’s officially NaNoWriMo time, and I should be writing my novel right now. So, I’m going to try to keep this post short. But I wanted to get my October reading recap out there and share my end of year TBR. Yep. That’s right. I’m doing a TBR. Because there are still two more months to go in this year, but I’ve already hit 2018 my reading goal! Whoohoo!

First, what I read this month:

I started the month already in the middle of reading Obsidio and Aru Shah and the End of Time. These two took me a little longer than normal to read. The first (Obsidio) because of the format. I don’t like to carry paper books around with me, and I especially don’t like carrying around large hardcovers. Plus, I couldn’t read it in bed at night without a light on. So, it limited my reading opportunities. But, ultimately, I thought this was a great end to a really fun series. These are some of the best YA sci-fi that I’ve read recently. I highly recommend them. But I also highly recommend you get paper copies because the interior layout takes the form of a compiled file of documents (hence the series title: The Illuminae Files).

Aru Shah took me even longer to finish reading, but not for the same reasons. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but middle grade books are getting increasingly harder for me to read. No matter how good they are, they just don’t hold my attention. Which should be expected. I’m an adult. But, it’s kind of a bummer because most of the kids in my life are just getting to chapter books and breaking into middle grade books, and I like to be able to read whatever I recommend to them so we can talk about it and share favorite bits of the story. I enjoyed Aru Shah and the End of Time, and if you have a kid in your life that loves the Percy Jackson books, but you maybe want to expand their world-view and toss some heroines their way, you should definitely get them a copy of this book.

Somewhere in there, while I was finishing up those books, I read the third book in the Three Dark Crowns series, Two Dark Reigns. I’ve been gushing about this series for a while now, and I also really enjoyed this book. But…the plot has taken a couple of turns that I’m not fully into, and I’m reserving judgement until I see what happens in the next (final?) book. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I feel like at this point in the series we should be reducing the number of contenders for the crown instead of adding more to the mix. If you’ve read this series, let’s discuss in the comments.

In preparation for NaNoWriMo, and because I’m still learning how to do this whole “indie author” thing, I also read a few writing books in October. The only one that I read cover to cover was Marketing Steamy Romance. My books aren’t super steamy. The potentially super steamy scenes fade to black, and I like to try to find a 50/50 balance between romance and fantasy plot in my stories. But, I still found this book super helpful. Finding your readers is really hard. I write what I like to read. But the world is full of great books. Every time I consider my TBR, I’m reminded of that. So, you really have to work to convince readers that they want to try your book next. This book offers a lot of great options that I hadn’t necessarily considered. Plus the author offers pros and cons for all the things she discusses, so you can sort of “choose your own adventure” based on what you’re willing and able to do from a time, talent, and/or budget perspective. If you’re an author, I highly recommend you check out her book, even if you don’t write “steamy romance.”

Now, about that TBR…

I’ve suspended all my library holds for the rest of the year so that I can focus on writing book two in the Modern Fae series. November is going to be mostly writing, and I have a feeling that may bleed into December as well. But, there are a handful of 2018 and 2017 releases that I bought (or received as a gift) that I haven’t had a chance to read, yet. I was (and still am) really excited about these books, and I’d really like to try to finish at least a few of these before the end of the year.

So, when I need a break from writing, this is my end of year TBR:

I’m also starting to think about my reading goals for 2019, because tracking my reading the way that I’ve been doing it is starting to feel like a chore, and it’s sucking some of the joy out of reading. I really love keeping track of what I’m reading and various other related stats (book lengths, genres, diversity of authors and main characters, etc.). But, managing a spreadsheet, plus my Goodreads shelves, plus tracking in my bullet journal is getting to be way too much. Also, library hold availability has started to drive when I’m reading books instead of me just reading what I want to, when I want to.

Now that I’m writing full time, reading has definitely become part of my job, but it’s still also something I do for fun and pleasure. So, I want to try to find a better balance next year. I may do a post on that as we get closer to the end of the year, or once I decide on my 2019 reading goals.

As for what I’m writing for NaNoWriMo this year…If you like Pride and Prejudice, and if you liked the magic competition in book two of V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, you are probably going to love book two in my Modern Fae series. I highly recommend that you read book one now because there are two novellas coming out very soon, and book two will be out in Spring 2019. Click on the image below to read the first chapter and get links to buy at all retailers.

That’s it from me, for now. This post turned out to be much longer than I’d planned. Time to get back to writing. Talk with you more in the comments!