Friday, July 30, 2021

July 2021 Doings!


Hey'a, friends! It's the end of the month, which means it's time for another Doings! post! On a side note, I'm going to officially make a slight adjustment to the Doings! schedule: going forward, Doings! will be posted on the Friday closest to the last day of the month. I've been using this schedule for a fair bit already, but I wanted to make it official because I had gotten a few questions about why I was posting a week early.

Now, with that out of the way, let's get on with the post!


  • The official cover reveal for Gilded in Ice occurred earlier this month, along with the announcement of its upcoming release on September 24 as part of the Frosted Roses Arista Challenge Group, and the preorder launch. If you want to preorder the ebook, it's available via Amazon; for a paperback copy, you'll have to wait until the release proper.
  • Speaking of the release, you can now both sign up for the blog tour and request ARCs. If you want to help support the release of Gilded in Ice or any of the Frosted Roses books, this is a great way to do that! You can find all the book and tour details on this post.
  • Aside from the Gilded in Ice cover reveal, this month has been very quiet on the writing front. I've laid my plans for the next few adventures in my D&D campaign, though I've made less progress writing them than intended. And I did most of the work on the paperback cover for Gilded in Ice, which isn't writing, but is writing-adjacent. Otherwise, though, I've been taking it easy and spending time catching up on reading, gaming, and spending time with family and friends.


  • Despite the fact that I said I was taking this month off to catch up on reading, I didn't actually read that many books in July — only six. Of course, of those six, one was fairly long . . .
  • Most of this month's reading was dedicated to finishing the Green Ember series and its two spinoff short-story series, which I really enjoyed. There's such a beautiful message and promise of hope that runs through the narrative to the very end. Pair that with a lot of emphasis on friendships and family relationships and you've got a story I'm very likely to love. I'll probably post more thoughts later this month, so keep your eye out for that!
  • I also finished rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy this month with Return of the King! So that was fun. I have concluded in the process of rereading it that, of all the minor characters in LOTR (not counting The Silimarillion), Beregond and Bergil are the most underrated. (For those who forgot or don't know: Beregond is a guard of Minas Tirith who befriends Pippin; Bergil is Beregond's son.)
  • Theoretically, this should be the bit where I reread The Silimarillion . . . but I'm still kinda intimidated by that. We'll see.
  • And, yeah. Five Green Ember books, the Return of the King, and I'm done. (Well, I did reread some Fellowship of Fantasy short stories throughout the month when I wanted something short and contained before bed. But I don't count that.)


  • We did not watch any LOTR this month, but we were kind of too busy. I did watch quite a few other movies, though!
  • We started out the month with An American Tail for Independence Day, which was . . . darker than I remembered. In all fairness, I hadn't watched it since I was . . . eight or nine, at the oldest. It sparked a lengthy conversation about movies that are theoretically made for kids but which would probably traumatize small children and what movies some of my friends were and weren't allowed to watch and why they weren't allowed to watch them and so on. It was a good movie, though!
  • The next weekend, we re-watched The Music Man, which is always a favorite. I've said this before, but Harold Hill's character and arc is basically one of my favorite archetypes/tropes, and I will never get tired of it in any form.
  • I did manage to mark another movie off my to-watch list, though, by finally watching The Emperor's New Groove (which I voted for when we were picking a Disney movie because it gets referenced SO MUCH and I wanted to understand the references). I actually enjoyed it a lot more than you woud expect, given that it's a movie very reliant on the humiliation of a central character and I suffer from intense secondhand embarassment. I think the fact that you aren't supposed to like Kuzco until a fair way through the movie helped. The story overall was rather different from what I expected, but it was fun.
  • And, as per the usual, I'm still watching Critical Role. Slowly. I'm only partway through Episode 72, but, again, I've been busy. The Clay backstory was cool, though. Also, I think this is the episode where Stuff Happens With Fjord, but as of the writing of this post, I haven't quite gotten there yet. (By the time you read this, I probably will have watched it, and if I've watched it, I suspect I'll have Opinions.)


Almost everyone died in this game of Sentinels . . . but we still won!

  • Storms and stars and satellites, was this a busy month or what? (Spoiler alert: it was a busy month.)
  • 4th of July weekend was probably one of the two quietest weekends of the month. We didn't go see fireworks, but we got together with some Bible study friends for s'mores and mountain pies, which was fun, and my dad, sister, and I went to the shooting range.
  • The following weekend, my grandpa came down to visit. He hasn't been down in . . . probably two years, honestly, though we've gone up to visit him at his house, so that was nice. That weekend also featured a chocolate raspberry mousse cake, which was so good. Utterly delicious.
  • (I also ended up working Saturday morning that weekend, filling in for the usual slides-and-sound person at a funeral at the church where I work. It was a very nice funeral, and it was clear that the deceased was well-loved by many, many people. It did go kind of long, though, which was, y'know, fine other than the fact that I needed to get home and make rolls to go with dinner.)
  • We had about a week of quiet after my grandpa left, and then our next visitor arrived: my college roommate! So that was SUPER fun. She stayed for just under a week, and we spent most of that time playing board games, and by "board games" I mostly mean Sentinels of the Multiverse. Her visit was also when I watched The Emperor's New Groove for the first time.
  • Probably the highlight of her visit was Friday, when we got together with my sister's roommate (who lives in the area) for a full day of fun. We visited an escape room, which we solved with just ten minutes to spare. Then, after stops at the board game store and an ice cream parlor, we returned to my house . . . for more board games, obviously. My sister's roommate had brought some of her game collection to complement what we had, and she introduced us to a new game, The Crew, as well as some new heroes and hero alternates for Sentinels. Then we finished out the night with pizza, a cheese night (which, for the uninitiated, basically means everyone brought fancy-ish cheeses and we ate them with crackers and sparkling juice), and Mysterium (like Clue, but 500x better).
  • In addition to all that, I've been going through my church's membership class so I'll be qualified to volunteer, lead a small group, and otherwise get connected as I choose. That's been interesting.
  • My sister and I have also been continuing through Portal 2, and she was appropriately surprised by the twists in the storyline. I also gave Journey another try, restarting the game completely so I can try to figure out what I missed that got me stuck on the third stage. I've only replayed the first two stages, but now that I have a better idea what I'm looking for, I think I'm enjoying it more.
  • And, of course, work continues. Not much to say about work other than it's been quiet and I continue to enjoy it.

August Plans

  • My big projects for August are edits, formatting, and blog tour prep for Gilded in Ice. I'm starting to get back feedback from my beta readers, and I'm looking forward to polishing up the story and getting it ready to share with the rest of y'all. (I'm also a little nervous . . . but nerves always kick in around the editing stage.)
  • My sister returns to college partway through the month, which means we need to make sure we finish up everything we wanted to do with her during the summer, including games and watching The Return of the King. That also means I'll have to get used to not having someone to chat with over dishes again.
  • My D&D group should finish up this season/arc this month — I think we only have two, maybe three sessions left. We're halfway through the climax now, and . . . let's just say that the most intense part of that battle is still to come.
  • On the reading front, I'm torn between the fact that I intended to read more classics and epic fantasy this year and the fact that I got four months of Kindle Unlimited for free and I want to make the most of them . . . which mostly means reading all the City Between books and miscellaneous other indie books that I haven't convinced myself to spend money on yet. We'll see which urge wins out.
  • Yeah. I'm hoping August will be a quieter month than the last two. We'll see if that works out or not . . .

How was your July? Any exciting plans for August? Have you played any board games (or even video games) lately that you really enjoyed? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


  1. *all the Indie boooooooks*
    I can share my Unlimited TBR, if you need suggestions....

    1. I mean, I already have City Between and most of E.J. Kitchens' books on the list . . . but if you want to share more recs, you are more than welcome to.

    2. The Kingdom Tales by Deborah Grace White (#3 is coming out later this week!!!). #2 Might just be my new favorite Sleeping Beauty. (Her sister's stuff is good, too, but Melanie Cellier is on her third series of retellings, so it's a bit more of an undertaking.)
      Sylvia Mercedes stuff. It's a bit crude in places, but the worldbuilding's just as rich as ever.
      IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THEM YET, Elven Alliance by Tara Grayce. If you like my books, you'll like these. They are perfection.
      A.G. Howard's retellings, too, while we're at it, those are excellent.
      *squalks in "there are so many books in Unlimited, and I must read them all.....*

    3. For some reason, I missed that Sylvia Mercedes' books were on KU. I'll definitely have to give those a try. And no, I haven't read Elven Alliance yet, mostly because they tend to get marketed (or at least promoted by fans) primarily for the romance, and I've drifted away from romance-first books. That said, I'll add them (and the others you mentioned) to the list.

    4. Elven Alliance is about cultural integration, PTSD, love as a choice, family, self-worth, and most importantly, the wonders of shampoo and conditioner. The fact that it is centered around a marriage alliance is just the tip of the iceberg. Like, honestly, the romance is what gets marketed, and it's super sweet, don't get me wrong, but it's about a marriage, not a romance, and a marriage of two countries, not just two characters.

      Seriously, go read it. I had my doubts, too, but when I found out the author's other name, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to read. They're amazing, and ... well, I now have a fanart sticker from the book on my computer. That's how much I love it. (Picked it up at RM's. It was adorable.)

    5. . . . You know, if more people emphasized all that instead of "*squee* cute couple!" (nice, but not terribly difficult to find) and the shampoo/conditioner bit (which . . . mostly just confuses me at the moment), I might have read those by now. Recommendation noted; books moved up the list!


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.