Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021 in Review: Reading

There are still a couple more days left in 2021, but it's time for my semiannual reading review. This is based on the tracking I do through Goodreads. I'm not always good about tracking the date I start a book (since I then have to delete it from my Goodreads if I decide I don't want to finish it), but the end dates are more accurate. 

My goal for this year was 150 books. Unlike previous years, I had no trouble reaching my goal. As of 12/26 (the day I'm writing this post), I've read 157. This doesn't include the multiple re-reads of Murder at Magic Lake that I do as part of revising and editing books before publication. There will probably be another couple of books added to this total before Friday. The average book was about 257 pages, with the shortest being 64 pages and the longest 776 pages. (It was an anthology of cozy mystery novels.) Here's the breakdown by genre:

Fantasy: 24

Science Fiction: 19

Mystery (includes regular and traditional): 86

Other Fiction: 6

Non-Fiction: 22

Mysteries have taken over from fantasy as my comfort reading, but since I'm also writing it now, I need to continue learning about the genre. The other genres haven't changed much, though I suppose I should read more non-fiction, especially books on writing and publishing. Other than reading at least one diversity read a month, I don't have many set goals for the type of books I read. (It's typically whatever I'm in the mood for at the moment.)

About thirty-eight books were paper books checked out from the library; however, I also borrowed a lot of Ebooks. I did read one paper book from my To-Be-Read stack, but that didn't make much of a dent. 

I will probably set my 2022 reading goal for another 150 books. Do you set reading goals for yourself? If so, feel free to share them in the comments.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 in Review: Writing

 With the end of another year in sight, I thought I'd take a few minutes to reflect on my writing this year.

A writing career can be like an iceberg; there's more underneath the surface than you might expect. I published one cozy mystery novel this fall and sold one short story, which will be published online next month. Besides that, I wrote the first draft of a second cozy mystery and a couple other short stories. I did submit my short stories to a few markets, but most of them were rejected. At least I can submit them elsewhere if I find a suitable market or save them for another short story collection. Speaking of short stories, I'm currently drafting a series of short stories featuring my heroines from the Season Avatars universe. There will be one each from Gwen's, Jenna's, Ysabel's, and Kay's point of view. Gwen's story is drafted, but I've been having trouble with Jenna's story. I've decided to skip it for now and moved on to Ysabel's story. It would be nice if I finish the first draft before the end of the year.

As for my plans for 2022, I plan to start revising Restaurants and Revenge, my second cozy mystery. The first half isn't too bad, but the second part is all over the place. Hopefully I can publish it in the first half of the year. However, I also plan to start Book Three, Bubble Tea and a Body, once I finish some initial planning. Somewhere in there I want to finish my Season Avatars collection, which will act as a bridge to a spin-off series. I think trying to write two series in two different genres will keep me busy enough without adding in other projects. However, if an anthology interests me enough, I might write something for it anyway.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! Next week, I'll review my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Mid-Month Mysteries: Christmas Cookie Cozy Mysteries--and Recipes!


Christmas is the ultimate holiday for those who love being cozy. Warm drinks, lights, gatherings, and so much's no wonder there are so many cozy mysteries set at Christmas. It actually made it hard to decide how to narrow the book selection down for this post. Then I thought of one of my personal holiday traditions--baking cookies to share with others.  Here are a few mysteries I found featuring Christmas cookies. (Please keep in mind I haven't had time to read them yet.)

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bakeoff by Darci Hannah

Christmas Cookies Mysteries, an anthology

 Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier

 The Christmas Cookie Killer by Livia J. Washburn


And here's a list of some of the cookies I bake every year:

Lemon Slice Cookies

Peanut Blossoms

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies  (the base recipe also works well for sugar cookies; I make my own buttercream frosting for them)

What's your favorite type of Christmas cookie? Feel free to answer in the comments.




Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Publication Announcement: "Glass, Wool, Paper"

My fantasy short story, "Glass, Wool, Paper," will be published online by Flash Fiction Magazine on Friday, January 28th, 2022. Once the link is available, I'll post it here. It's a flash fiction story, well under 1000 words, and has a feminist theme. In the spirit of the genre, I'll keep this post short as well.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

IWSG: Pleasures and Pains of Writing

Here we are at the start of another Christmas season. (Yes, I insist on waiting until after Thanksgiving.) It's also time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Learn more about the IWSG on their website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Our hosts this month are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise-Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray.

Our question for December is a simple one: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

There are many stressful things about the business of writing, but for this post, I'll focus on craft. A few things I find stressful are writing under a deadline, being unsure what happens next in the story, and having to make major revisions. As for what delights me, it's seeing the story come together and finishing it.

What do you find pleasurable and/or painful about writing? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Site Meter