Tuesday, December 29, 2020

December 2020 Doings!

Hello, everyone! Yeah, this Doings post is not coming to you on the usual day. But since this is such a posting-heavy week (with Doings!, my 2020 reading wrap-up, 2021 goals, and hopefully a short story for New Year's Eve), I decided to mess with the schedule a bit. So, yes. This will likely be the first of many posts this week. Enjoy?


  • No, the Midnight Show sequel is not done. Yes, it is behind schedule. I continue to blame research. Also, y'know, Christmas prep.
  • On the upside, I've written some every day this month, so I feel good about that. And I think we're close to being finished; nearly all the pieces are in place for the mystery to be solved and the conflicts resolved. I'd feel better if I'd written more every day and if a few more pieces were in place, but I will take the victories I can and try again next month for the losses.
  • I also didn't work at all on my D&D campaigns, but we're still working through the current module, and I expect to be in this module for another couple of weeks, so we should be ok.
  • I'm finishing out the month with 17956 words (plus probably another couple thousand over the next few days) written in December and 53698 total on The Midnight Show sequel. Some of those words will be cut in edits, but this book will definitely be longer than its predecessor.


  • This month's reading was about 50% Christmas stuff, which is more Christmas reading than I've done in quite a while. I started off with Hogfather, which I liked better on the reread — It helped that I'd been seeing posts about the story a lot on the socials, so I was pretty hyped. I followed it up with some short stories: The Sixth Christmas, which was an interesting take on a Christmas Carol/Wonderful Life-type situation, and the Christmas in Talesend anthology, which is always fun. And we finished up on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with The Enchanted Sonata, which was also absolutely delightful on the reread.
  • Outside of Christmas reads, I finished the published Magus of the Library books with volume 3, which was about as good as the first two. And I read some short stories: an anthology by Patricia C. Wrede, the highlight of which was an Enchanted Forest Chronicles short story about an enchanted frying pan, and H.L. Burke's "Spider Spell", which was fun but did not make me more favorably inclined towards spiders as a whole.
  • I also read Allie Brosh's recently-published second book, Solutions and Other Problems. It wasn't bad, but I didn't love it. I was glad I'd read it once, but I don't think I'll reread it.
  • The non-Christmas highlight of the month was rereading Little Women, which honestly gets better every time I read it. It truly is an excellent book, and it was nice to revisit all my favorite parts and all the bits I'd forgotten.
  • And I'm finishing out the month with 10 Blind Dates, which is not my usual genre (it's contemporary YA romance, of all things), but it was recommended to me by a friend and I'm actually enjoying it more than I would expect. It has a lot of emphasis on family relationships as well as romance, which is nice.


  • Obviously, we watched a lot of Christmas movies this month. Some of them were the usuals (Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy, White Christmas, Peanuts, etc.) Others were new to me; we watched Shop Around the Corner and The Bishop's Wife the week before Christmas. Both were . . . I wouldn't choose to watch them again, but I wouldn't refuse if other people wanted to watch them unless I had a compelling something else that I needed to do. (I do want to watch You've Got Mail now, though, since people have told me that it changes most of the reasons I wasn't excited about Shop Around the Corner.)
  • We also watched the 2019 version of Little Women, and I was actually impressed. They did better with peoples' character arcs than I feared, and while I have mixed feelings about how they handled the back-and-forth between different parts of the timeline, I think the movie was well-done overall. (I also feel like this movie clarified a lot for me why so many people disliked a particular part of The Penderwicks At Last that I was genuinely happy about. So there's that.)
  • Also, Overly Sarcastic Productions posted the next part of Journey to the West, and therefore I am IMMENSELY happy. It was a very fun episode, and my desire to read the actual book has been renewed. (Tragically, no libraries near me have the better English translations. I might suggest the libraries acquire them, though . . .)
  • And, of course, I'm still working my way through Critical Role. I'm halfway through Episode 42, and the Avantika arc is still not my favorite, but it's getting better! And I think I only have about eight episodes left before we get to the arc I'm really excited about, which is the trip to Xhorhas.


  • Most of the month, of course, was occupied by Christmas stuff: making and acquiring gifts, sending Christmas cards, baking cookies, and so forth. I am very happy with this year's Christmas baking. I made molasses cookies and gingersnaps (because we were running out of molasses cookies), both of which I've made previously. I did about 60% of making cut-out cinnamon sugar cookies — my mom and I mixed the dough up in a joint effort, and I did the cutting and baking. And, arguably the one I'm most excited about, I made mint chocolate chessboard cookies, which are a variation on cut-and-bake sugar cookies, but with strips of chocolate and mint dough formed into a checkerboard pattern. They turned out very well, and I hope to make the Neapolitan variation sometime in the future.
  • In addition to the writing and the Christmas prep, I spent a lot of the month working on the second half of the freelance design project I was working on last month. This month was less of a learning curve, but it still took a lot more out of me than I'd hoped. On the upside, I'm almost done, and what's left should be less frustrating. Hopefully, anyway.
  • On a happier note, I did have a second interview with one of the places I applied for back in November, and it went very, very well. And the interview led to a very exciting phone call about a week before Christmas . . . but more on that in the next section.
  • And now, back to Christmas! Christmas Eve was . . . not really what I was hoping for? We ended up with the noon Christmas Eve service, which I wasn't super happy about (the service was very nice; it just made for an extraordinarily awkward flow for the day), and we didn't do as much driving around and looking for lights as we normally would because it was raining. (And there weren't as many lights on for the same reason.) But it was ok.
  • Christmas Day was very nice, though. We ended up having ham instead of the lasagna we originally planned, and that was very tasty. My family seemed to like the gifts I got them, which I'm glad of. (One highlight: I got my sister her first set of D&D dice!) I also got some very nice gifts, including some expansion sets for Sentinels of the Multiverse (I now have all my favorite heroes, villains, and environments, along with some new environments I'm super excited to try), the most recent Invisible Library book and Randall Munroe's What If?, and two new tumblers to replace the one that has a bunch of cracks in the outer wall from when it got knocked onto the ground in a parking lot back in September. (They change color in response to temperature! I am more excited about this than I have any right to be! Also, they're a little larger than my old one but not so much that they don't fit in cupholders.)
  • After Christmas, we took a short trip up to visit my grandpa, since we haven't seen him in quite a while. So that was very nice.
  • And throughout the month, my sister and I had several opportunities to play Sentinels of the Multiverse with our roommates over Zoom. It works surprisingly well — it's better when all parties have both the villain and the environment we're using, but we can manage even when only one person has the deck. About half the games we played were against a surprisingly deadly combination: Omnitron (think: murderbot with control of a robotics factory) in the Ruins of Atlantis (exactly what it sounds like). Omintron is a Level 1 villain, so he's usually not hard to beat, but somehow this villain/environment grouping killed very capable hero teams three times (three!) before we finally managed to beat it.

 January Plans

  • So, the most exciting thing that's happening this coming month: barring calamity, I am officially starting a new full-time job in the first couple weeks of January! I'll be doing print and web design work for a church about thirty minutes from where I live. I'm looking forward to it, though I'm also a bit nervous (more about changes in general than about anything specific). I think it'll be a good place to start out with professional work: it seems like it'll be less stressful than some other places I applied to, and the people I'll be working with most seem very nice.
  • That means I'll have to work out how to balance writing with full-time work and not ignoring my family, as I fully intend to finish the TMS sequel in January so I can send it to Kendra in February. I will have a four-day workweek instead of a five-day one, so that'll help. But it'll still be a challenge.
  • I'll also be finishing up the freelance project in the beginning of the month, but, again, I should be just about done with it. Fingers crossed that I'm not wrong . . .
  • And in whatever time I have left over, I have a lot of reading to do so I can get in Return of the Thief and Rhymth of War before I have to return them to the library. Because let me tell you, I'm super tired of trying to dodge spoilers, especially since people are starting to leak stuff about RoW. Queen's Thief fans seem pretty good about tagging spoilers even months after the release. Not so much Cosmere people.

How was your December? Any exciting plans for January? Are you as behind on your TBR as I am? What were the highlights of your Christmas season?  Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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