Friday, July 3, 2020

June 2020 Doings!

Well. That was a month. And here we are! July! Normally this is one of my favorite months of the year because of Independence Day and some family events and Camp NaNoWriMo and general summertime. This year, despite the fact that all of that will still happen, it feels more like just another barely-defined block in the blurred stream of tiredness and uncertainty and worry. But be that as it may, stuff happened, and we're here to write it down for later.


  • Once again, in case you somehow missed it: I wrote a new book! And I'm publishing it at the end of August! The Midnight Show is a Jazz-Age-inspired retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I had a ton of fun writing it — even if it was kind of a frenzy at the beginning of the month, trying to get it written so I could send it off to beta readers in a timely fashion. But it's drafted, and I just started editing it on the first of the month (a solid week later than I intended, but it's fine), and I'm very excited to share it with y'all.
  • Here are a couple snippets, for those interested:
    • Dayo stood back up to speak into the mouthpiece, grimacing again. “You win,” she said, wearily. “I can’t let this go on any longer.”

      “Still the shoes, eh?”

      “Shoes and blisters and worse. My favorite pair’s destroyed and I can barely walk, let alone dance. It’ll be a miracle if I can perform tonight.” Dayo leaned her forehead against the telephone box. “So. You win. Find one of those private eye fellas you keep going on about. One who’ll keep his mouth shut and won’t tell my problems to the four winds and the politiet and news to boot. I’ll put up the funds, however much I have to. Can’t be more expensive than buying new shoes every few days.”

      “Not the kind of kicks you like, Dayo-doll.” Olvirsson laughed. “I have a fella in mind. Not a big name, but he’s done good work for some friends of mine. He’ll keep things quiet. I’ll have him meet you after one of your shows in a day or two, how’s that sound?"


    • Dayo nodded. “Now, Mr. Dennel, I do have a sort of missing-persons case for you. The trouble is, the missing person happens to be me.”

      Bastian frowned, raising an eyebrow. The cynical expression looked out-of-place on his soft-featured face. “Miss Temitrope, you appear to be sitting directly in front of me, and I don’t mess about with prophecies. If you’ve had some kind of vision where you vanish into thin air, notify the politiet. They have a whole division to deal with that.” He paused. “Unless you’ve seen in this vision that I’m the only one who has any success in the case, of course.”

  • (Also: signups for the blog tour and ARCs are open! Go check them out! And sign up!)
  • In addition, I'm also doing the Go Teen Writers 100-4-100 challenge again, using it to keep Blood in the Soil/Earth from stagnating again. I am having some concerns about the book and certain plotlines in the book, which I think are going to need some heavy reworking in light of some stuff I've learned in the past few months. There's a part of me that wants to just set the book aside for a month or two and then start afresh, and there's a part of me that says no, finish it so you have something more to work with and then rewrite it. I don't know which part will win. But those of you who are eagerly awaiting the book may have a longer wait than you expected, for which I apologize. I'm trying to make it good; that's all I can say.
  • On the D&D front, my group was only able to meet a couple times this month, but we've finished Season 2.5, and we're ready to jump into Season 3. People have given me some nice plot hooks to use, and I'm excited to put those into action. We'll see how they work out in practice (especially since I'm behind on writing sessions; I only have a buffer of one and three-quarter episodes), but I think it'll be fun.
  • All in all, my total for the month is 26,458 words. 3,324 of those words were on Blood in the Soil/Earth, 15,573 were on The Midnight Show, and the remaining 7,561 were in D&D episodes. Overall, not too shabby.


  • I read somewhat less this month: only 8 books rather than 20-some. That said, it was a very busy month and I didn't really have time for reading for about half of it.
  • I finished my Great Redwall Reread, so that's good. I still hope to do a post reflecting on the experience of rereading the series as an adult, though it'll be a few weeks before I do that. For now, I'll say that Rakkety Tam and High Rhulain remained excellent (which I'm glad of), and the other books were fine — they never were my favorites, and they still aren't, but they were good.
  • I also read two new releases. Echo of the Fae was an absolutely delightful original fairy tale from Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, and I cannot recommend it enough. I posted my full thoughts on it about a week ago, so go check that out (or just check the book out; that works too). Then I read Heaven Came Down, Bryan Davis's new book, which was definitely a change of tone and vibe from the rest of my month's reading — I jumped straight from Redwall and fairy tales to post-apocalyptic dystopian supernatural thriller. It was good, though a wild ride; I'll be posting my thoughts on it soon on at least one blog.


  • Most of my watching time this month has gone towards Critical Role; I started the month on Episode 2, and I just finished Episode 7. (There's a chance I also started Episode 8 by the time you watch this; it's hard to say.) I'm still very much enjoying it (despite the language and some of the occasional unnecessary humor). I'm not sure if I enjoy the actual story or the cast interactions more, since they're both pretty delightful, but I will say that Liam/Caleb is probably my favorite person in the show, both in and out of character. (I'm also trying to watch how people, mostly Matt, do things so I can steal techniques for my own campaigns. Hopefully the end result will be that I'm better as both a player and a gamemaster . . . though I don't think I'll ever be able to do voices anywhere near as well as I'd like.)
  • Other than Critical Role, I've watched a few movies with my family. One was To Catch a Thief, which was fairly good but would've been better if not for the entirely unnecessary romantic nonsense. (Which, by the way, I barely bought in the first place. I honestly thought both involved characters were playing each other for most of the movie.) But the mystery itself was good.
  • And we watched a few episodes of Doc Martin, which is a drama about a surgeon-turned-general-practitioner in some little coastal town in Great Britain. There is absolutely no reason I should like the show, given its periodic wanderings into secondhand embarrassment territory and lack of fantasy or action elements, but somehow I got attached? And now I'm kind of like "Well, I guess I'm watching this now." I think it's the accents.


  • This was actually a pretty exciting month! Obviously, the first two weeks were less so; I spent most of them working on stuff for The Midnight Show: writing the actual book, writing the tagline and blurb, creating the cover, all that jazz. So, exciting for me, but not a lot of unusual activity. Well, making the cover was unusual; it's the most drawing I've done in a while, and it took way longer than I thought. But yeah. It happened.
  • And pretty much as soon as that was sorted out, I turned my attention to the fact that two of the three weddings that were supposed to happen this month were still on, and I didn't want to miss either one.  And that meant I had to acquire gifts for one of the couples and an appropriate summer wedding outfit and figure out where I was staying. (That last one was the easiest; as soon as even mentioned to my roommate that I might need a place to stay, she said I could spend the week between the two weddings at her house. Because she is awesome.)
  • So, yes. On the 18th, my sister and I drove up from Virginia to Ohio, and on Friday, I attended the wedding of one of the cutest couples I know. It was a lovely ceremony, though I was mildly amused that the couple opted to do a "unity chemical reaction" instead of a unity candle or something like that. (It was very in character for them; I just thought it was funny.) And I got to see a fair number of my friends there and at the reception, so that was nice.
  • The day after the wedding, my sister and I jaunted over to Pennsylvania, where we met up with our parents at my grandpa's house to see him (and also to make sure we weren't lurking in someone else's house over Father's Day, 'cause that would've been awkward). It was a very nice weekend, and I was glad I got to see my grandpa for the first time in a while. That weekend also involved a lot of baking, since I made both crumpets and sourdough pretzels. (The sourdough pretzels turned out really well, which made me happy. I have decided that garlic-parmesan and cinnamon brown sugar are both far superior toppings as compared to plain salt.)
  • And then we returned to Ohio again on Monday to spend a week with my roommate before the next wedding. Said week involved a lot of Sentinels of the Multiverse, a good bit of D&D, and some baking — none of which is a surprise. I got to try out some new heroes and villains in Sentinels, and in general, it was just really nice to spend time with the roomie again, especially since our time together got cut so short.
  • The next wedding was Sunday evening, and it was very nice as well. It's interesting comparing different weddings and seeing what different couples seem to prioritize, so to speak, and how they approach different parts of the evening. And I'm very happy for the couple.
  • The day after the wedding, my sister and I loaded up and left early in the morning to head home, where I proceeded to be absolutely useless for the rest of the day due to tiredness and too much caffeine and sugar. And that pretty much finishes out the month. It was a busy time, but a good time.

July Plans

  • The question that we always must ask as July comes around: what about Camp NaNoWriMo? Unsurprisingly, I will be using the month to work on editing The Midnight Show to get it ready for publication in August. My goal is to do my Big Edit, where I fix any story- and scene-level issues, and at least a few rounds of minor (paragraph-, sentence-, and word-level) edits. Even that description is a little deceptive, because I am not an organized editor and will inevitably end up making minor-level changes during the Big Edit and will possibly end up reworking a scene or two after a round of minor edits, but whatever. That's the goal.
  • I'll also be working on other writing things. As I already mentioned, I'm working on Blood in the Soil/Earth for the 100-4-100 challenge, and I intend to keep doing that unless I decide I need to set it aside for a while. I'll keep working on my D&D campaign (which has definitely fallen by the wayside, but it's fine; we haven't been meeting as regularly as I hoped we would be), and if I take a break from BiTS/E, I'll use D&D for the 100-4-100 challenge. And I'm going to be pre-writing some guest posts and character spotlights for the Tattered Slippers blog tour.
  • Again, speaking of which, go sign up for the blog tour! Or even just sign up for an ARC of one of the books! It's going to be a great time, and I'd really appreciate your support!
  • Outside of writing, job searching will continue. I'll also be looking into some other potential money-making and career-investing options, though I'm not exactly sure if they're going to turn into Actual Things I Do or just things about which I say "I could do that!" and then don't pursue because of whatever reason.
  • And yeah. There's some family stuff happening as well, which will be fun. And Independence Day, which is going to be good? I hope? It'll be a thing that happens, and I will see people. So, yeah.
  • (I feel like, for the next long while, any time I go to a social event for which I have not been mentally preparing myself months in advance, I'm going to have this weird mix of "Oh, yay, I get to see people" excitement and "Please, no, not lots of people interaction" dread. I do not like not getting to see people, but I did like having everything be in smaller groups for a while. This mix of emotions is probably not helping the social front, or, for that matter, the job search front — I want a job, but I don't necessarily want to have to have people every day, but the internet still has not come through enough for me to confidently try for a full-time remote position. It's a mess.)

How was your June? Any exciting July plans? Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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