I’m so excited for our book club this month! Partly because I missed last month and I hate it when I miss, partly because it’s our Christmas book exchange, and partly because I picked the book this time! I loved it too. We’re doing Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. If you haven’t tried this one, you’ve got to give it a read. Alosa is not your average pirate. She’s fierce and in charge. She’s got serious skills and a deadly wit. She definitely meets her match in Riden, first mate on his brother’s ship. The only question is will they both survive to give romance a shot? The ending is a great cliffhanger and I can’t wait for February’s release of the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen.
December is here and I’m back to routine. I survived writing all November and now it’s time for the holidays. Like I said yesterday, my mental health is a bit weak just now, but I’m trying to keep up with the blog as much as I can. I worked some more on my book yesterday – it still needs an ending – and got to research how to escape a car trunk!
I’m currently listening to two audiobooks, one at home when I’m sewing and one in the car. At home I have The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson. It’s the second of his series about World War II and it may be contributing to my grim mood. This book is about the war in Italy. I knew nothing about it at all before starting the book, but like I said, it’s pretty depressing. The allies have learned a bit since the fighting in Africa, but they are still not working together very well. Atkinson’s writing is great, but I don’t know why I always get books like this on audio when one of the things I enjoy is looking at the maps and photographs. Ah, well. I’m still recommending it, but read with discretion.
Then in the car I’m listening to A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King. This is book three in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series. I’ve definitely been on a Sherlock streak lately; I just can’t seem to get enough. This one seems like it will be set in the Middle East, but it’s largely set in academic and upper class England. I’m not enjoying it as much as I remember the last time, it just seems too slow. I think I like them on location better, although the first book in the series is really extraordinary. If the premise intrigues you, I really encourage picking it up. I love the way the writer pulls Sherlock into the modern age. Just don’t start with this one.
I’m also working on a collection of short stories from Net Galley, The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen. Many of the stories take familiar fairy tales or folk tales and give them a new spin, like the title story about Dorothy Gale of Kansas. There’s one about Wendy and the Lost Boys, one about Hans Christian Andersen, and one about Wonderland. But there are other stories too, about witches and parents and children and legends of old. I’m about halfway done and it’s been great to have something I’m really enjoying. I think I’ve read one or two of these stories before. I didn’t know this, but Yolen has written 300 books! Can you even believe that? I’m struggling to finish one!
My depression is really bad right now so I’m taking a day off. I may have a do nothing but read day. Or I may just sleep. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
My husband and I went out for a Christmas date! We’re both bad about taking pictures of us, so you’ll have to settle for some other pictures of our fun night out.
First we went to Provo for Waffles!
We went to Bruges Waffles & Frites for authentic Liege style waffles. I got mine just like the picture, but with chocolate added. Because if I can add chocolate, I will!
I haven’t figured out how to make creme fraiche yet, but I want to because it’s sooooo good.
Then we went to see one of our favorite local bands, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. They were doing a special Christmas show.
The concert was so much fun! They played their own arrangements of familiar Christmas songs plus a few original songs. I think they have some new band members as I didn’t recognize the drummer. But the concert was a lot of fun.
We even went to an art exhibit before the concert started, Life is Sweeter in Candy Color by Katrina Berg. I don’t have great pictures of the art, but she had some fun commercial art that I totally would have bought.
All in all, it was a very fun start to December with my very favorite person!
Still working on your book? I am! I still need an ending. Here’s a few exercises to try based on Christmas songs.
Jingle Bells – music, movement, this song has a lot of sensory details. What can your character see, touch, hear, smell, feel? It is a good sensation or a bad one? Describe it without overwhelming your reader.
All I Want for Christmas is You – Who does your character want and why? Make that wanting drive the story. It could be romantic, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe they want revenge! Maybe they want a parent or a friend.
Let it Snow – How does the weather affect your story? It can add a great element. Is it summer or winter? That will determine what your character is wearing and whether they’re comfortable outside.
Deck the Halls – How is the room decorated? Have you described the setting? You don’t have to give us every detail, but your readers want to know something. Is it messy, neat, does it smell inviting? Is there a comfy chair or a broken table? Give us the details.
Blue Christmas – This could be all about color, but it could also be about emotions. What is your character feeling? Show us, don’t just tell. And if you want to use some metaphors, that’s great.
Sleigh Ride – Get that character moving! Don’t leave them stuck in one location. New settings offer us a perspective on the story, a chance to encounter new types of characters and challenges.
I hope this list was helpful. Good luck with the writing!
November is over, which to me means time to gear up for the Christmas holiday, take a break from NaNoWriMo and enjoy a little more balance in my life. Oh, who am I kidding. It means time to stress about presents!
But first, let me go over what I read this month!
Top Read of the Month!
I’m so excited about this one I can’t even hide it. I was trying to find something for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge – more about that another day – and I found this one at my library.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray by Walter Mosley. It was AMAZING. It’s about an old man living alone who meets someone who changes the end of his life. This is the first book I’ve read by Mosley, who’s mostly known for his mysteries featuring sleuth Easy Rawlins. This is not a mystery, just fiction and I’m giving it 5 stars, no questions.
Title: The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger (Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural #2)
Author: Lucy Banks
It’s only been a couple of months since his mother died and he discovered that ghosts and spirits are real, but Kester is part of a whole new life now. One with friends, sort of, and a father, albeit an odd one, and maybe even a girlfriend. He’s got a purpose too, working at a supernatural agency that deals with ghosts. Kester can open a door into the spirit world that lets the departed pass over. At least, he did it once. Now he’ll have to do it again – before anyone else is killed.
A malicious spirit is hunting down the residents of Lyme Regis and killing them in their homes. Kester and his friends will have to move fast and overcome some personal rivalries if they want to succeed.
I really liked this series when I discovered it last year and I was so excited to win an ARC from NetGalley for the second book. If you like funny mysteries or mysteries with a little supernatural aspect thrown in, you will totally love these!
Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read this one for free. My opinions are all my own.
I finished! I know I posted this a couple of days ago, but it was worth posting again.
This was my third year of participating in NaNo, and my first win. The first year I didn’t come as close as I would have liked, about 38k. I tried planning that time. I had an enormous epic fantasy planned and found myself drowning in details as I kept going back and trying to get everything just right before moving on. Rookie mistake, I think.
Last year I got right up till the last day and ran out of story ideas with 5,000 words left to go. I think if I had met my daily goals I would have been OK, but trying to catch up at the end was just too hard.
This year I “cheated” by rewriting last year’s book. I made sure to get my daily goals and I realized that I needed an entirely new ending. In fact, I still haven’t finished the ending, but I’m thinking it over and I feel like I’m close to getting it.
My book is tentatively called The Second Killer and I finished with 50,168 words. Yay!
How about you? How did you do? What did you learn? What are you planning to do next?
This is Tina’s favorite thing all year. Christmas brings the tree, good food, and you know, boxes.