Friday, December 30, 2022

December 2022 Doings!

Hello all! It's the last Doings! post of 2022, with only two days left in the year — or one day, depending on whether or not you count today, a question that might depend on when in the day you're reading this. It's been a busy month, as one might expect given that it involved both a book release and the biggest holiday of the year. Hopefully January will be a little more peaceful . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's wrap up December before we move on to the new year, shall we?


  • Through a Shattered Glass is officially out! And, judging from what I've seen people posting, y'all seem to like it just as much as I do, so THANK YOU. If you haven't already picked up a copy, you can order it in ebook or paperback from Amazon — and if you've already ordered it and read it, would you mind taking a minute to leave a review either there or on Goodreads? Reviews are a big factor in helping authors get more visibility and convincing others to read a particular book. It doesn't even have to be long — just a rating and a sentence or two will do if that's what you have time for, and you'll earn yourself the heartfelt appreciation of this author.
  • (That doesn't just apply to my book, by the way. That applies to all the Broken Mirrors and also whatever books you may or may not have gotten for Christmas.)
  • Aside from Through a Shattered Glass, work on Bastian Dennel book 4 is coming along slowly, but progress is progress. I finished Chapter 22 this week, which means on one hand that I only wrote about two and a half chapters this month, but . . . y'know. Release month. And Christmas. I do think I'm getting close to the end of the book, and my writing speed always picks up around the climax, so there is that.
  • And on the D&D front, we basically had one session and that was all. On the upside, that meant I didn't have to do additional prep, which left me free to focus on other things . . . like my family's Christmas letter, a task that fell to me several years ago and which I always manage to get more stressed about than is really necessary. I always have high hopes of getting it written and finished early, and that absolutely never works out. Alas. But the important thing is that it did get finished before Christmas.


  • This month has been a mix of Christmas reads and ARCs/new releases, with a couple mood reads and unsuccessful attempts to finish various series before the year ends mixed in.
  • I've already posted about all my ARCs — Snowfield Palace, Shattered Reflection, Of Ice and Roses, and Christmas Games. The other two new releases this month were Between Friends, a collection of City Between short stories by W.R. Gingell, and Illuminare, a heist-adjacent novella set in a sort of fantasy-Venice. Both were very good, but I don't think it'll take a genius to guess which one I loved more. Between Friends contained several short storied I'd read before and loved, as well as some new stories that were absolutely lovely and gave us a look at characters' lives after the series ended. In this category, I particularly loved "Pins and Needles" . . . but you'll have to read it yourself to find out why.
  • Christmas reads were A Christmas Carol, Hogfather, The Villain Who Saved Christmas, and The Enchanted Sonata. All of those are (I believe) rereads, so I don't have much to say about most of them other than that they're all as good as ever. A Christmas Carol is the one I do have a comment on — I read this via email subscription (Dickens December, to be precise) and highly recommend that reading method. The compiler sent out a short scene or two per day, timing it so the Christmas Day and day-after-Christmas bits would fall on the appropriate days, and it was just quite a fun experience.
  • And finally, we have the miscellaneous other reads: Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol, which are books 2 and 3 in the Murderbot series of sci-fi mysteries, and Power Play, book 2 in H.L. Burke's Supervillain Rescue Project series. I enjoyed all three of these, but especially Power Play. The plot is essentially "teenage superheroes get trapped in a D&D game while their guardians try to get them out), and it was just really fun.
  • As for the last few days of December not included? I'll probably be reading a mix of short stories, poetry, and possibly more Fullmetal Alchemist, since I have the next several volumes out from the library. We'll see what happens.


  • As I'm sure you would expect, most of what I've watched have been Christmas movies. We hit all the usual favorites — White Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph, Charlie Brown Christmas — plus Home Alone, which isn't quite a favorite but is fun. I also watched The Man Who Invented Christmas, which was very good. I enjoyed both the exploration of Dickens's personal character and life and the way the movie showed the writing and inspiration process, though I'm glad that my characters don't behave quite as badly as his did, ha! I also didn't know before watching the movie that Dickens basically self-published A Christmas Carol, so that was cool to learn.
  • The only non-Christmas thing I watched was more Fairy Tale rewatching. I should probably get back to new-to-me shows at some point, but for now, revisiting these stories and characters is pretty relaxing, and I have needed that this month.


  • Most of this month was super busy with a combination of book release stuff and Christmas stuff. On the upside, I did get to take a bunch of time off work because I had use-or-lose leave, which helped cut down on a little of the stress. The fact that I had two cheese Advent calendars (wherein you open the window to reveal a little piece of cheese in various fun varieties) also helped; cheese makes many, many things better. I had one last year, which I enjoyed, and this year two stores offered them, so I bought one and received the other for my birthday. Both were, as you can imagine, delicious. The best cheeses were probably the Double Gloucester and the smoked paprika gouda, but there were a lot of good ones.
  • Christmas, of course, means that my sister came home on break! She got back a little later than usual, due partially to her class schedule and partially to the fact that she had to attend a friend's wedding before she could come home. But it's been nice to have her back.
  • One new adventure this year was attending the Lessons and Carols service at the church where I work. I always hear a lot of wonderful things about this service, which is a blend of hymns and carols with Scripture readings and features the full choir and bell choir and guest musicians, so I wanted to experience it myself. And it really was lovely! The church I attend has a very modern worship setup, so the traditional choir and all that was a nice change of pace, and the whole service was just lovely.
  • Christmas baking this year was all very last minute, but I did make three different types of Christmas cookies, one and a half of which were new. Naturally, I made my favorite gingersnaps (as usual). My half-new recipe was chocolate-mint pinwheel cookies, which are like the mint checkerboard cookies I've made the last couple years, but have the different doughs rolled up instead of assembled in squares. The general consensus was that, taste-wise, both were about equal, but the pinwheels were prettier. Of course, they're also more frustrating to roll up, so . . . we'll see what happens next year. The other difference was that we dipped these cookies (instead of just saying how good they would be dipped), which we are definitely going to do again next year because that was delicious. The final cookie I made was cranberry orange icebox cookies, which are almost shortbread-like and very tasty. In other cookie highlights, my mom made both ladylocks and peanut butter balls (like buckeyes, but fully chocolate-covered), both of which were absolutely wonderful.
  • As per the usual, I also spent a good bit of time stressing about what to get people. About half of my gifts for my family didn't even get ordered/purchased until Christmas week because I couldn't figure out what to get. On the upside, everyone seemed to like what I got them, and I did manage a few surprises (always a struggle). I hoped that this would be the year that I finally didn't have a craft-based gift that I was working on up to the very last minute, but . . . nope. I crocheted my sister a little stuffed mole (because it's cute and also it's a chemistry joke), which I was still finishing up Christmas morning. Whoops. It did get under the tree before she woke up, though, so there's that.
  • Getting to the actual Christmas Eve/Christmas Day: things this year ended up a little . . . weird. My grandpa came down to spend the holiday with us, but because of the winter storm and cold front and all, he decided to drive down on Christmas Eve instead of the day before that. That meant that we ended up doing about sixty percent of our normal Christmas Eve stuff on the day before Christmas Eve so we wouldn't be at church or getting pizza when he arrived. And that did work out fine (even if I was a bit disappointed at the switch), but it did mean that the actual Christmas Eve felt weird and unmoored from time. Not that weird, though; we were too busy to feel terribly adrift. And it was a lot of fun to see my grandpa again.
  • Christmas Day was pretty chill, on the whole. We ended up taking so long to get breakfast cleared up, get dressed, take pictures, and get everything set up that we had to take a cookie break before we even started opening presents . . . not that I'm complaining. (I never complain about cookie breaks.) As I said, people seemed to like the things I got them, and I was quite pleased with my gifts, including my own copies of some of my favorite books from this past year and a couple new planners (one for work, one for home). My former roommate actually got me another gift I was pretty excited about: little silicon creatures that perch on the rim of your mug and keep your teabag in place! They're both cute and a clever solution to an overlooked problem, which is delightful. I've also been contemplating the fact that, at some point in most people's lives, the much-maligned gift of socks actually becomes rather exciting . . . though I suspect that depends somewhat on whether you're getting nice, soft, cozy, colorful socks (which I did) or boring, uncomfy ones.
  • On the non-Christmas side of things: my family has been attending the Saturday night service at our church for the last several years, but the church recently decided to stop offering that service to reduce the strain on their pastors and staff. So, we've been trying out the other service times to try to figure out which new one works for us. Of course, with the holidays, things have been irregular enough that I don't think we've made a final decision.
  • We finish out the month with a fairly chill week between Christmas and New Year's — well, chill except for the fact that my workplace decided to switch a bunch of systems over to work with the cloud and that was unexpectedly stressful and frustrating (and means I'm going to have to work with OneDrive on a daily basis, ugh — I recognize that it has its good points, but it's caused me enough trouble that I had to factory-reset a laptop to get rid of it). But New Year's Eve means Bible Study celebration, which is always a fun time.
  • All in all . . . it's been a good month. A crazy month, yes, but still good, and a solid end to 2022.

January Plans

  • I would like this month to be chill, in the relaxing sense and not the temperature sense. Unfortunately, I suspect I will get the latter, if either.
  • I have several writing projects lined up: continuing work on BDPI #4 and my D&D campaign, a short story or two, possibly poking at a novella/novelette concept that I recently came up with. We'll see which ones end up taking precedence; some of these have firmer deadlines than others, and deadlines for a few are . . . weird.
  • At work, at least, January tends to be a somewhat calmer month, so that's a relief. Most of the excitement the last couple years has come from people retiring, which no one is doing this year. I'm hoping to finish up several projects that've been in a holding pattern for a while, though, and that will keep me busy if it works out.
  • On the reading front, I have several 2022 releases out from the library that I want to read (particularly Moira's Pen and The Lost Metal), and I have some ARCs to catch up on. I also want to finish up some of the series that I'm in the middle of either reading or rereading . . . of course, it's equally likely that I'll be in the mood for something else and end up distracted and read half of another series instead.
  • Otherwise? Like I said, I'm hoping for chill, ideally enough so that I can take some evenings to watch shows or movies or do some gaming. Of course, realistically speaking, if I have that much time off in the evenings, I should be using it to exercise  . . .
  • I think that about covers it . . . Technically, I have another thing that I could talk about that starts in January, but I'm going to hold off on saying too much about that in case something goes wrong and it doesn't work out.

How was your December? Any exciting plans for January? Did you get or give any especially fun Christmas gifts? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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