What I’ve Been Reading Lately (January, 2023)

I seem to be kicking-off the new year with a pretty good amount of reading, which is a nice way to start things!

First, to wrap up a few books read at the end of last month…I mentioned The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North in my end of year round-up, with the fascinating premise of a main character everyone forgets within a minute of looking away.  I think I might have liked this even more if it had focused more on how she lived her life with that circumstance, rather than turning into a heist (although…I guess she lives her life by becoming a jewel thief!) but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also read two nonfiction books near the end of the year – which is funny, because I read much less nonfiction in 2022 overall.  I liked Who’s Raising the Kids? by Susan Linn, which unpacks the influence of marketing and consumerism targeting kids.  Very insightful, very relevant when I have an almost two-year-old! Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (January, 2023)”

Writing Update (January, 2023)

Happy New Year! I’ve been continuing along with my writing projects as we start into 2023. I wrote the last (final written, not final in order!) chapter of Thorns 1, and am doing my final-final-I-really-mean-it pass through. I printed it to read out loud to my husband, and am jotting the stray notes as I go.  It’s almost entirely things like fixing a repeated word or cutting an unnecessary sentence, so this really is very close to done now!

Meanwhile, I’m also revising Thorns 2, which was originally written way back for NaNoWriMo 2019 (!)  I’m keeping most of what I have but adding in a few chapters in the first third, and I may do some more substantive changes to the end, which I think needed a little more excitement.  Right now I’m building in some threads in the first part that should add some extra danger and tension…but I don’t want to be too specific because, you know – spoilers!

Revision is going a little slowly but it’s moving along so I’m feeling good about that.  Maybe I’ll finally get this published four years after I originally wrote it!

So nothing too monumental to report – just rolling along with the current projects.  But hopefully I’ll have some bigger announcements (like publishing dates!) coming soon.

2022 Reading Round-Up

The start of a new year means it’s time to look back at the past year of reading.  I read 96 books this year, a drop from the days before I had a toddler, but not bad, considering!  And if you factor in picture books, I’m sure the number is at least double…!  Here’s a look at the details.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – Hope is the main character of this one, and no one remembers her.  Within a minute of seeing her, everyone forgets.  Basically like the Silence in Doctor Who, for my geek readers!  Fascinating to see how this plays out and how she lives her life.  The book turned into something of a heist/thriller, but I was mostly fascinated by the idea.

1B) Best World Building: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers – I loved this peaceful, philosophical book set in a future utopia where everyone looks out for each other and for nature. Robots achieved sentience a couple centuries before the book opens and, instead of conquering humanity, basically said “good luck, guys, we’re leaving” and disappeared into the wilds. This is the story of the first robot who comes back, and the tea monk looking for purpose who meets it.  Honorable mention also goes to Finder by Suzanne Palmer, for a very weird and interesting sci fi story set mostly on a web of asteroids and space stations.

1C) Best Romance: I loved Grace and Stephen in Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher.  I also loved…pretty much every romantic couple in Kingfisher’s books that I read this year.  I give the edge to Grace and Stephen though because I love that Grace is a perfumer who can’t quite remember what he looks like after they first meet, but vividly remembers how he smells (like gingerbread!)  Kingfisher’s thing in romances seems to be powerful men who are very, very conscious about things like consent and not intimidating the women they’re attracted to, and I am so there for that.

1D) Best Characters: I’m giving this one to Kingfisher too, for her cast of misfits in The Clockwork Boys and its sequel, Wonder Engine.  Slate the cranky forger, Caliban the angsty paladin, Brenner the assassin, and the Learned Edmund are all just wonderful.  Another good romance as well, which winds up with “well, I suppose, if only for the handkerchiefs” and it’s perfect. Continue reading “2022 Reading Round-Up”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (December, 2022)

Happy almost Christmas!  I’ll be doing a round-up of reading for the past year soon, but for today, time to look at recent reads for the last month of the year.

I’ve read a couple of very interesting nonfiction books.  First, Deep Work by Cal Newport, about boosting concentration and focusing on priorities.  It had some interesting insights, though the focus was a little narrow towards either academia or office work.  Second, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Future by Dr. Steven Novella (what a name for an author!), a look at what the future might hold in science and technology.  The book mostly looks at current science and scientific theories and tries to extrapolate forward, with some glances at science fiction ideas too. I liked that it was predominantly hopeful about the future – although I have to wonder if Dr. Novella doesn’t worry about mad scientists destroying us because he is one…!

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (December, 2022)”

Writing Update (December, 2022)

After a very busy November, writing has slowed down a bit in December.  However, I did finish the first draft of my NaNoWriMo project, otherwise known as Thorns Saga #3!  I did 50,000 words during November, and finished out the project with only another 5,000 words.  I plan to expand significantly in the revision process, so after I finished drafting I read back through it and made notes on additions and new details.  Not sure when I’ll actually do the revisions, but at least I have the plans for them.

After that, I turned back to Thorns #1, to hopefully finally get this finished.  I have one chapter to write still – my most recent revision pass involved moving things around and I need a new chapter to fill a hole, and it gives me the chance to intro some characters who will be more important in later books.  So that’s what I’m working on right now.  Then one more complete review and we should be about there!  I’m hoping to get this one out into the world in the first half of next year.

With that in mind, I’ve been working on a different project that’s not strictly writing, but is related – I’ve been doing cover designs for all five planned books in the series.  So far they’re turning out very nice, so I’ve been enjoying that!  Can’t share them for a while though… 😉

I’m aiming to finish the new chapter in Thorns #1 plus a few other edits by the end of the year, then plan to primarily work on Thorns #2.  Lots of drafts in process!  Hopefully I can get some complete soon. 🙂