Friday, October 28, 2022

October 2022 Doings!

Hello hello hello! You may notice that, unlike a lot of my posts lately, October Doings is going up on the early side. For one thing, today is actually closer to the end of October than next Friday will be . . . but also, next Friday is going to be taken up with a blog tour, so here we are! While we only have a few weeks to cover, they've been a busy few weeks, so let's get going.


  • So, the good news is that BDPI #4 is still coming along pretty smoothly. I'm averaging a little over a chapter a week, which is a slower pace than some of my books, but still respectable, especially considering that a lot of my weekends this month have been occupied with non-writing activities.
  • The other good news is that I got to participate in a short story writing challenge on another site and got my piece in on time. It's a story that I've had in my head in various forms for a while, based on a few of my favorite Celtic songs. I misremembered the deadline as being a week later than it actually was, so the writing ended up being done in a rush, and I didn't get as much time to edit as I wanted, but it did get done, and I'm pleased with the result. I may go back and polish it and see if I can submit it somewhere at some point.
  • The bad news is that Through a Shattered Glass edits and formatting are coming . . . slowly. I finished another round of edits, but still need to do a little more polishing before I can switch to a formatted document. That's another project I'd been planning to do on weekends that didn't work out. I also worked on some of the interior graphics for the book, though nothing is finalized yet.
  • I've done a little bit of D&D writing, though not a ton. Nothing much to report there.


  • Another slow reading month, though I did get some good books in. I finished rereading Veiled Rose, which meant rediscovering one of my favorite Goldstone Wood quotes — I had forgotten which book it was in. That quote is, of course, this one:

"Maybe it does have a happy ending. At least, when it's actually complete. I mean, this part of it is sad. But maybe something good will come from it still? I suppose you have to read all the legends together to know for sure, but I don't know all of them. This one is sad, but there might be a story out there somewhere to make it happy."

  • Very much in the vein of the "old stories" quote from The Lord of the Rings that I love so much. Anyway, after Veiled Rose moved onto Moonblood, which is one of my favorite Goldstone Wood books, so that was a delight. I did not, however, continue my reread further, as I had library books that were coming due soon.
  • Those library reads that I turned to next were Delicious in Dungeon #10 and Diana Wynne Jones's The Time of the Ghost. The new installment of Delicious in Dungeon was quite good, and I liked it almost as much as I did the early books at the start of the series. We also got some backstory on the conflict, which was fun. The Time of the Ghost was rather dark (especially for a Jones book), and not my favorite of her works, but it was still a fascinating, twisty read. I also spent most of the book thinking I knew a major spoiler for it, and then discovered at the end that I had either misheard or misremembered said spoiler, so that was an interesting experience.
  • My other new read of the month was an ARC of H.L. Burke's upcoming novel, A Superhero for Christmas. I'll have a Friday 5s post about it next week, so I won't go far into my thoughts, but I will say that Burke has yet to disappoint me with any of her superhero books.
  • I finished out the month by jumping into another reread, this time of the League of Princes series by Christopher Healy (which is not, in fact, called the Hero's Guide series, no matter how much I try to call it that). A friend of mine on another site was reading (or rereading?) them and posting quotes, and it made me want to revisit them, which was definitely a good choice, even if getting back into the first one took a bit. I finished the first book, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and I'm currently reading book two.


  • So, after years of seeing other people reference and obsess over it, I've finally watched Over the Garden Wall! Or, you know, I'm in the process of watching it, with the goal of finishing it by the end of October. I'm enjoying it, though so far, I don't love it to the same degree that others seem to. It's a fun show with an excellent edge of creepiness. Also, Beatrice is kind of a mood, not going to lie.
  • I will note that, despite the fact that I'm not a superfan or anything, I sorta want to do a genderswapped Wirt cosplay simply because I want to have his cloak (or a real life version of it, you know) for myself. It looks so fun and comfy! Quite frankly, if I find the money for good materials, I would probably wear it for more than just cosplay.
  • Otherwise, I'm still watching a little Fullmetal Alchemist here and and a little Critical Role there and a lot of short-form YouTube content and not much else. I've been tired lately, which means it takes me longer to get in the zone of writing, which means I have less time to chill afterwards . . . plus, I'm not really enjoying the current Critical Role arc, and that was the primary thing I was getting excited about watching for a long while.


  • There's no doubt about the highlight of the month — it was, without a doubt, the day that Wyn Owens and I met up at the Renaissance Festival! We had a grand time wandering the village, visiting the shops, enjoying delicious food (including crepes! I love crepes so much), chatting about our writing (and getting excited when we encountered anything that reminded us of our characters), and watching three different jousting events. We even coordinated costumes so we could attend as Ailsa and Siobhra from Wyn's The Dark King's Curse! (After all, if you already have the outfits, it would be a shame not to wear them together.)
  • So, yes. It was a lovely day, and I also think that particular Ren Faire is one of the better ones I've visited. It's definitely my favorite setup — quite large, and situated in an area with lots of trees — and the joust was tied with Ohio's in terms of quality. Ohio's seemed a little more authentic, but this one was more dramatic and managed to work in a storyline without it seeming terribly forced. I was sad that neither of the knights I was rooting for won, though.
  • Outside of the Ren Faire, I actually had something going on almost every weekend this month aside from the first weekend (when the remnants of Hurricane Ian meant everyone was hiding inside for the most part). The weekend before the Ren Faire, my family went to a fall party held by our next-door neighbors, which was nice. I don't really know most of our neighbors aside from two couples, but the event and the food were good. And the weekend after, a couple from our Bible study had a bonfire at their house, so we went to that. It was lightly attended, but the families who were there were some of the ones we're closer to, and there was plenty of hot apple cider, so that was fun.
  • (I also have an event this weekend — my church is doing Trunk or Treat, and I'm running a trunk, so the Interdimensional Curiosity Shoppe will return, with some adjustments. But that obviously hasn't happened yet, so I can't say much else about it.)
  • Things at work have been picking up with fall events and the approach of Advent, specifically the Advent newsletter. It's not unmanageable, but it's definitely keeping me busy! I was pleased that people actually sent me the majority of newsletter pieces well in advance of the deadline, rather than a day or two before the deadline, so that's making things much less stressful.
  • And on the food front, our Bible study is currently studying Ezekiel, so I tried my hand at making Ezekiel bread. It turned out pretty well, even if it did overflow my pans — it's a very dense, cakey bread, but it has a good taste. I don't think I'd want to eat nothing but that for a year and a half, but at the same time . . . y'know, there are worse things to have to eat for that long.
  • Finally, for those curious . . . no, I still haven't finished my scarf. I'm working on it. There were just multiple weeks when I missed a time when I normally would've worked on it. At this point, I will be happy to get it done by the end of the year.

November Plans

  • First and foremost: I am not doing NaNoWriMo. Besides the fact that I'm not in the place for a mad-rush writing marathon right now, I've been moving away from the NaNoWriMo organization as a whole. While it was a great help and a lot of fun during a particular season of my life, I don't care for a lot of the new aspects they've added since the site change, and more importantly, I don't agree with many of their recent policies. So, no NaNoWriMo.
  • My October writing goals will carry over into November, as I continue to draft BDPI #4 and prepare Through a Shattered Glass for publication in December. My new aim is to have TaSG be ARC-ready by midway through the month, which I don't think is unreasonable, especially if I can find a good point in BDPI #4 to switch to having TaSG be my weeknight project and BDPI #4 as my weekend work.
  • At work, I expect a busy month — it's the start of the holiday season, after all. I don't think it'll be too bad, though, barring calamity. And I do enjoy all the holiday design projects, especially the church Christmas card!
  • Outside of writing and work, I don't have a ton of plans other than Thanksgiving, when my sister and one of her friends will be home on break. I think we'll be getting together with our Bible study for that as usual, which I'm looking forward to. (I may already be trying to decide what to make. My sister has requested pumpkin bread because I forgot to give her the extra loaf I made when I visited back in September . . . but also, pie. It's a tough decision.)
  • Finally, on the reading front, I'll probably be flipping between books for review and trying to finish up at least some of my rereads and reading goals before the year ends, assuming I don't get too distracted by mood reads. We'll see what happens.

How was your October? Any exciting plans for November? Did you go to any Ren Faires this fall? Have you watched Over the Garden Wall? Are there any characters you want to cosplay just because you think their outfit looks fun? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2022

5 Reasons to Read Emmazel

Hello, everyone! Not too long ago, Kendra E. Ardnek released a third installment in her Austen Fairytale series: Emmazel, a blend of Rapunzel and Emma. I very much enjoyed this book — in fact, it surpassed my expectations — so, naturally, I'm reviewing it here on the blog (albeit a little later than I usually would — it's fine; I'll catch up soon).

5 Reasons to Read Emmazel

  1. It's a clever twist on Rapunzel. I love the story of Rapunzel, which means I have read a lot of Rapunzel retellings, and I can say that Emmazel is one of the most unique I've come across. It's not a straightforward retelling by any means, but Kendra works in pretty much all the important elements (and some less important ones), and I rather like how she distributed the fairy tale's various roles throughout the story, with characters occasionally trading roles at different points.
  2. It's the first version of Emma I've actually been able to finish. Historically, I have not been a fan of Jane Austen's Emma, mostly because the titular character rubs me the wrong way. I tend to get to a certain point, get frustrated, and give up. So, I was a bit nervous when picking up this book . . . but then Kendra gave me a version of Emma who I actually liked and sympathized with (even if I yelled at her more than a bit), and whose story I genuinely wanted to see through to its (very satisfying) ending, and I was quite pleased. That feat alone would get this book five stars from me, but I still have four more points to get through, so sit tight.
  3. You can enjoy it even if you don't know the original story. From what I can tell, Kendra makes a point of working in as much of both the original Emma and the original Rapunzel as possible, and other readers seemed pleased with how she handled the Emma elements. However, as previously mentioned, I have never finished Emma, and my memory of what I did read was somewhat hazy in points. Even so, I never felt confused or lost while reading this, and I doubt others would either.
  4. I love to see how the past Austen Fairytale characters have grown. And, also, how they slide into new roles with each new fairy tale. It makes for a very fun game of "spot the familiar character." And, of course, it's delightful to watch Elinrose, Earnest, and others continue their journeys, even if they're not in the spotlight.
  5. Enchanted cat! Y'all know I'm a sucker for magical or enchanted cats of pretty much any kind, and that continues to be the case. Night is a talking cat and is without a doubt, my favorite character in this book — he's sarcastic and a voice of reason and perfectly cattish. He's fun, y'know?

Have you read Emmazel (or any of the Austen Fairytales) yet? If not, you can pick it up on Amazon in ebook form (and paperback is coming soon) or add it on Goodreads. What's the most unique Rapunzel retelling you've read? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Autumn 2022 Reads!

Well, this post is about half a month late, but in my defense, when it should've gone up, I was in the middle of the Silmaril Awards and in Ohio, so I think I can be excused for delaying it a bit. In any case, we're well into autumn, so it's high time to spotlight a new season of reads. But before I do that, don't forget that all six Snow Queen retellings in the Broken Mirrors Arista Challenge collection will release in December (just late enough to be not fall) and are currently available for preorder! That includes my own Through a Shattered Glass, Wyn Estelle Owen's The White Queen's Spell (much-anticipated sequel to The Dark King's Curse), and Kendra E. Ardnek's Snowfield Palace (book 4 in her Austen Fairytale series). And now that we have that bit of shameless promotion out of the way, let's take a look at some other books that have either released recently or will come out this season.

Autumn 2022 Reads

1. Unraveller by Frances Hardinge (September 1). While the blurb for this book is a bit vague, what we have does sound cool — apparently, we have a world where curses are common and one boy is able to undo them, except not everyone is happy with that. It's also maybe a nomance, which y'all know I'm happy about. I haven't picked it up yet, but I hope to sometime.

2. What If? 2 by Randall Munroe (September 13). I loved the original What If? — it's lots of weird, fun questions answered with a magnificent blend of sarcasm and sincere curiosity — so I was pretty hyped when I saw there was going to be a follow-up. I've already read it (I requested it from the library pretty much as soon as it became available), and I can confirm that it's just as good as the first book was.

3. Sweet Vendetta Blues by Hazel West (September 27). Y'all have already heard my thoughts on this one (unless you missed that post), but it was a good (though sometimes dark) book, so I wanted to make sure it made this list. Road-trip thriller vibes, brotherhood, angst, a bit of mystery, it's got all that good stuff.

4. Road of the Lost by Nafiza Azad (October 18). It's a new fae story! We'll see which side this one leans to, but it sounds like it has potential, with hidden destinies and identities and journeys between worlds. Also, brownies are rather underused as fae creatures, so I'm interested to see how the author handles them.

5. Strike the Zither by Joan He (October 25). This is Asian-inspired epic fantasy featuring a strategist-turned-spy, and it sounds quite good. I read a sample chapter on the blog a while back as well and enjoyed that. I am a little wary, as the last thing I read by this author was a bit frustrating in the end, but maybe the second time will be better.

6. Moira's Pen by Megan Whalen Turner (November 1). More Queen's Thief! Sort of! This is a collection of short fiction, some previously published and some not, from the world of The Queen's Thief, and I am so excited! This is definitely one of my top two most anticipated releases for this season . . . though I am kind of annoyed that the cover matches literally none of the other covers in the series. What the pumpernickel, Greenwillow Books? Who made that decision?

7. The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson (November 15). And we have the other most-anticipated read of the season! To say I'm nervous for this book would be an understatement — it sounds like Big Stuff is going down in this story, including a lot of new Cosmere connections, and I am quite worried for my favorite characters. But I am also excited for a return to Scadrial and more of Wax and Wayne and company. (I am not reading the preview chapters, though. I want to read the whole thing as it's meant to be experienced.) Of course, that means I should probably finish my dropped reread of the other Mistborn books . . .

What book releases are you excited for this fall, or what books that have already released this season have you read and loved? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 7, 2022

September 2022 Doings!

Hello, all! So, this post is going up a week later than usual due to the Silmaril Awards and the Sweet Vendetta Blues tour, but that's fine. We're only a week into October. No biggie. Anyway, September was a pretty busy month, with a lot of exciting stuff going on, so let's not delay — time to get to the Doings!


  • The big news of the month, is of course, that Through a Shattered Glass has a preorder and a release date! (And also a Goodreads page.) In case you missed the big announcement, the book will release on December 23. But if you want to get your hands on it sooner and you are able to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or social media or a blog, you can request an ARC.
  • Through a Shattered Glass is part of the Broken Mirrors Arista Challenge release group, and I highly recommend you go check out the other books in the release as well. They all sound quite delightful. (And I'm not just saying that because I'm a beta reader on two of them.)
  • The other big event was the 2022 Silmaril Awards. I hosted the Most Faithful Friends category this year, which was quite delightful and a big change from the Magnificent Dragons and Marvelous Rulers categories I've hosted in the past. We had a lot of truly excellent ceremonies, and I highly recommend you go read through them (or catch any you've missed).
  • Otherwise? I have, happily, gotten un-stalled on most of my writing projects. I'm currently on Chapter 11 of Bastian Dennel, PI #4, which isn't quite where I'd like to be but is still good progress, all things considered. I was also able to finally jump back into Through a Shattered Glass edits and work on applying beta feedback. I'm currently working on either the last or second to last round of edits before I move to formatting, so that's good.
  • The one area that hasn't gotten a lot of attention has been D&D writing, since my group hasn't met much this month. But I've kept up with what I needed week to week, so we're still doing ok there.


  • This has been a rather slow reading month. How to Invent Everything took a long while to finish and left me in a bit of . . . not exactly in a slump, but not in a great mood, reading-wise. It wasn't a bad book, and it stuck its concept pretty well. It just kinda dragged after a while, reading it straight through.
  • I've already reviewed Sweet Vendetta Blues here on the blog, of course. It was quite good, though I think it could've used a little more polish. I am a sucker for a good found family story, and this is no exception.
  • After that, I ended up rereading The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie because the Silmaril Awards had them on my mind. These were on my favorites list when I was younger, and they were just as I remembered them, so that was nice. They were also a nice change of pace after a lot of darker or heavier reads.
  • Sticking with the reread theme, I started a reread of the Tales of Goldstone Wood by picking up Heartless. This was partially motivated by the fact that Rose Red was a finalist in my category for the Silmaril Awards, but it was also something I'd been meaning to do ever since I got ahold of a paperback copy of the book. I'm happy to say that I love Heartless as much as I ever did (which is to say, it shows no indication of being knocked out of tied-first-place), and I'm currently working through Veiled Rose, which is . . . a bit slower going.  It is not my favorite book in the series, even if I do love both Leo and Rose Red. But it's going.
  • Of course, it would probably be going faster if I hadn't gotten distracted by reading Randall Munroe's new release, What If? 2. This is the follow-up to What If?, one of my favorite nonfiction books, and it's the same concept — seriously (and somewhat sarcastically) answering ridiculous science-related hypothetical questions, such as, for example, what if you tried to make a lava lamp out of actual lava? It's great.
  • Oh, and I'm still following Dracula Daily, and this month's installments have been giving me Ideas (besides being very good and very feels-inducing).


  • My watchlist this month has been a little of this and a little of that and not much of anything in particular — if anything, it's been mostly short-form YouTube content that I'm watching because I'm tired and procrastinating, and if a video is four minutes long, I can easily say "just one (more)." You know how it is.
  • Probably the most noteworthy thing I watched all month was the other version of The Parent Trap. The 1961s version of Parent Trap is one of my favorite non-spec-fic movies, but I'd never seen the 1998 version, as I am Highly Skeptical of remakes of perfectly good movies. I still prefer the original, but the 1998 one does have its good points.


  • Well, this month has been a lot. Or it feels like it, anyway.
  • The highlight of September was a trip back up to Ohio to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends. It was a fun trip and a lovely wedding, and I enjoyed the opportunity to see quite a few of my college friends in person. While I hadn't met her now-husband prior to the wedding, he seemed very nice, and I could tell that they're good for each other.
  • Plus, I drove up a day early so I could spend a day with my sister at her college. Conveniently, she didn't have class that day, so we got to go out for lunch and ice cream (at Young's Dairy, naturally), and we spent a lot of the rest of the day playing board games with various of her friends. That was a very good day.
  • That said, the drive to Ohio was the longest distance I'd driven solo, and I don't think there was a single day of the trip on which I spent less than three hours in the car. So, much as I enjoyed it, it was kind of exhausting.
  • Outside of travel, work has kept me plenty busy with Big Events either happening this month or coming up next month, along with the normal assortment of tasks that kept getting squished into short weeks. I'm not complaining, mind you. I would rather be busy than bored. I'm just tired, and the arrival of colder winds and rain is not helping that.
  • Getting back to a more cheerful note: I finally tried making cheese bread! The specific recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction, and it's a sort of twisted loaf absolutely STUFFED with cheese. I've been wanting to try it for absolute ages, and the result was so tasty!
  • I also made chicken potholders as a wedding gift for the aforementioned friend (don't worry; she's already aware of them), and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of them, though, which is unfortunate. I did not finish the scarf I've been working on, but I am closer, so . . . there's that?

October Plans

  • On the writing front, I'll probably spend most of October bouncing back and forth between drafting BDPI #4 and editing and formatting Through a Shattered Glass. At minimum, I want to have ARCs ready to go by the end of the month (or sooner); ideally, I'd like to be almost or fully print-ready. (And if I'm not, I'd better have a full or nearly-full draft of BDPI#4 to show for it.)
  • I'm also making plans for some fall fun, namely a visit to the Renaissance Festival with a writer friend. I'm very much looking forward to that, and I'm hoping that the weather will allow for coordinating costumes.
  • On the work front, I image that things will continue to be busy. Hopefully not quite as busy as this month, but . . . I don't see it slowing down much.
  • I still want to finish that scarf. I'm so close, and if I finish this month, I can move straight into holiday gift projects. Whatever those end up being. (I'm already done with the biggest gift item, which I am so pleased about.) I know there'll be something, though, because there always is.
  • Reading will probably be a mix of continuing ongoing rereads and mood reading (because stress), but I do have an ARC of A Superhero for Christmas that I need to pick up. It's a little early for Christmas reads, admittedly, especially for someone with a strict no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving policy, but maybe it'll make for a good transition into holiday prep at work? I don't know.

How was your September? Any exciting plans for October? Did you follow the Silmaril Awards (and if so, were you excited about the winners)? Will you be going to (or have you gone to) any Ren Fests this fall? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!