Writing

My 2023 Writing Projects

Okay, so let me start by saying, this is going to be more of a “what I would like to do” type list while knowing full well I will not be able to write all these things. What I will do is divide it into “Definitely Doing” and “Would Like to Do” this year. Also keep in mind that the dates associated with the “Definitely Doing” projects are subject to change and are ballpark estimates at this point. My hope is that I can get through three projects this year (even if the last is published in early 2024), but a lot of this depends on the amount of classes I am assigned in the summer and fall.


Projects I am Definitely Doing

Flowers and Flourishing

(A Reanimator and Paranormal Society Romance Companion Story)

Release date: end of January to newsletter subscribers only for free

Size: Novella (about 33,000 words)

Add it on Goodreads

So this novella is the backstory for how Agatha and Louisa met and fell for each other. I have more information about it in this blog post, including the blurb and such. You can join my newsletter here if you would like to receive the novella in your inbox later this month. This story will also be exclusive to newsletter subscribers for a while. The plan is to eventually write a bunch of other shorter works all set in the Reanimator/Paranormal Society world and package them in one book/anthology.


The Reanimator’s Soul

(The Reanimator Mysteries #2)

Release date: late 2023 (hoping for a fall release like last time)

Size: Novel (90k-100k words)

Add it on Goodreads

This is the sequel to The Reanimator’s Heart, which takes place a few months after that book leaves off. I won’t get into too much detail here, but it will feature a new society targeting paranormals in New York City, though in a more nefarious way than the Paranormal Society. Oliver’s ex happens to be in town again, and Felipe is struggling with his new life [again] while his daughter’s in town.

The Reanimator’s Soul is going to be my main focus/large scale project this year, so I expect it to take the largest chunk of time.


Trousers and Trouble

(A Paranormal Society Romance #2)

Release date: realistically, early 2024

Size: Novel (50k-75k)

Trousers and Trouble is the prequel story of when Bennett arrived in Brooklyn, met Ruth and Rory, realized he was trans, and eventually came to the Paranormal Society. This more like a romance of self-love than a traditional romance. The series title is set in stone, so *shrug* we’re rolling with this being more about loving yourself, found family, and friendship, including a bit of a quasiplatonic type arrangement between Ruth and Rory.

I already have some of this story drafted and generally know where I’m going with it. I just put it on the backburner because it required more joy than I was able to muster due to grief stuff at the time. Now, I’m feeling better and hoping to jump back in between book 2 and 3 of the Reanimator Mysteries.


Projects I Would Like to Do

As already stated, I have a finite amount of time in a year, and I basically know how much I can accomplish in a year. These things are overflow ideas that I will probably get to eventually, but if the idea struck and I had time, I might bang them out.

  • An untitled short story about Gale and Head Inspector Williams from The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Start plotting Book 3 of the Paranormal Society Romances as I think it will connect with the story line of The Reanimator’s Soul
  • An untitled short story involving Oliver, Felipe, and the beach because it makes me laugh to think of poor Oliver dealing with sand and seagulls. It also goes well with a piece of art I commissioned of them.

All of the shorter works mentioned would go out as freebies to my newsletter subscribers first until they were eventually packaged into the aforementioned anthology with Flowers and Flourishing.


I am so excited to dive into these projects this year, and I hope you will enjoy them as well! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes info and updates about The Reanimator’s Soul, Trousers and Trouble, and so much more.

Monthly Review

December 2022 Wrap-Up Post

Ah yes, December, the month of chaos where I am full of food, have no idea what day it is, and am perpetually stuck between finishing the year and looking toward the new year. This month was a bit weird because, of course, we had the holidays to contend with, classes ended (yay for grading a shit ton of papers), and my partner was dealing with some med changes/season affect disorder, so fun all around. I don’t want to be a downer, so I’ll try to reel myself in. This month was similar to November’s levels of exhaustion, but I’m finally starting to feel better. Fingers crossed January is when I finally perk up more fully. As a reminder before we begin, here were my goals for December:

  • Finish writing Flowers and Flourishing
  • Edit Flowers and Flourishing
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and send out my December newsletter
  • Finish Christmas prep
  • Have 6 weeks of lessons prepped/outlined for next semester
  • Set goals for Q1 of 2023

Books

The goal was to read 8 books, and that’s exactly how many I read.

  1. Last Gender (Vol #1) by Rei Taki- 4 stars, a manga that follows several people who all frequent a queer club. A bit grittier(?) than I expected, but I liked the frank nature of the portrayals of all the characters.
  2. Undercover (#5) by Tamsyn Muir- 5 stars, as with all Muir books, it’s gorey, sapphic, and so unexpected. If you liked Gideon or Harrow, hit this up.
  3. Masters in This Hall (#3) by KJ Charles- 4 stars, an off-shoot story from the Lilywhite Boys where a decorator gets tangled up with a killer and the only way out is to team up with an irate past flame and an unexpected ally.
  4. Afterlives: The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages by Nancy Mandeville Caciola- 4 stars, nonfiction research for a future book. It is academic but incredibly interesting as we get to see different kinds of dead and the geographic/theological changes.
  5. She Loves to Cook and She Loves to Eat (Vol #1) by Sakaomi Yuzaki- 4 stars, an adorable sapphic manga following a truck driver who loves to eat and an office worker who loves to make pretty (and large quantities of food). Being neighbors sparks the potential for something more.
  6. Hen Fever by Olivia Waite- 4 stars, a new woman moves into a town with a chicken breeding contest and finds love in a quiet, sunny woman who is hellbent on winning the festival and raising a once-thought-dead breed of chickens.
  7. Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (#1) by Alexis Hall- 4 stars, a single mom enters a TV baking contest, falls for an asshole but eventually realizes she needs to take back control of her life and what she really wants.
  8. The Girl from the Other Side (Vol #12) by Nagabe- 4 stars, a volume that fills in with short stories. It was very cute and sweet, not a lot of substance but I loved seeing Shiva and Teacher again.

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Finished Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, *insert stressful holiday stuff*
  • Graded all my students’ portfolios and grades
  • Contacted ACX to get Kinship and Kindness changed from exclusive to non-exclusive (aka in the future I can publish the audiobook to sites besides Audible/Amazon and iTunes)
  • Listened to and approved the first 15+ minutes of The Reanimator’s Heart audiobook (same narrator as K&K!)
  • Worked on my lesson plans for my new class next semester and did 11/15 weeks worth of classes (aka I have 8 left to plan)
  • Set up my goals for 2023 Q1 and my 2023 bullet journal (it’s a lot of work)
  • Did an impromptu title reveal for the second Reanimator Mysteries book (I will do a more formal post here soon)
  • Edited Flowers and Flourishing. It’s currently in the let it rest stage before I go through and edit it again, but it will be coming to newsletter subscribers in late January. Join my newsletter to get it for free!
  • Edited what my newsletter automatic subscriber reply says in preparation for Flowers and Flourishing coming out. If you subscribe now, it’s the same, but I wanted to have the new copy ready for next month.
  • Played Lemoncake on PC (haven’t finished it yet), but if you liked Diner Dash or other timing based food/serving games, this one is basically the cozy version

Blogs Posted


Writing

I’m not going to do a week-by-week calculation because I wrote sporadically during the holidays and the numbers don’t make sense when you factor in editing and such. Instead I’m just going to talk a little bit about the writing process here. I struggled. Part of what sucks about what happened in November is that I sort of got out of practice/routine with my writing, so it ended up very much being done in small bursts, which is frustrating after having it be more fluid. I probably have a scene or two I will need to go back and add after I edit the second time, which is fine and expected. More than anything, I want to put out the best story I can for my newsletter peeps. Flowers and Flourishing has been fun to write and a far lighter (yet still pretty heavy) tone than The Reanimator’s Heart, and if you liked Kinship and Kindness, I think you’ll like this one too.


Hopes for January

  • Figure out how quarterly taxes work
  • Start working on the second Reanimator Mysteries book
  • Book research
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly
  • Finish editing Flowers and Flourishing
  • Send out Flowers and Flourishing with my January newsletter
  • Finally, a little relaxation via gaming or art regularly
Writing

Why I Never NaNo

I have held off writing this post until the end of the month because I didn’t want to “yuck anyone’s yum” as the kids say. I have no beef with other people participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but for me, NaNo is a no-go. And I wanted to write about it for the writers who feel discouraged that they struggle to do NaNo or don’t like to do it, especially when it seems like everyone is participating, except you.

I jokingly refer to NaNoWriMo as “No Words November” for me. Where other people see synergy and community, I find myself crushed beneath other people’s massive (for me) daily word counts. Comparison-itis hits, and it hits HARD. My soul dies incrementally at the beginning of November with each friend who participates and posts that they wrote 2,000+ words in a day. On a personal level, I am very happy for them that they’re making progress and don’t want to mute the word or my friends for a month, but my inner writer is screaming in panic as I am lucky if I get 500 words a day during November. The more I see the large numbers, the worse it gets to the point that I often get so far in my head that I stop writing in November. This has happened repeatedly.

This is a me problem. I know it is, and I know I need to work on my comparison-itis, but I think for people who tend to be slower writers or who don’t zero draft, NaNo feels like an insurmountable task. During the height of the semester, I’m lucky if I can get 10,000 words a month. Part of my personal grudge against NaNo is that it’s in November, which is when I am a) perpetually exhausted from the time change/weather b) under a mountain of grading because that’s when the long papers roll in. It’s just not a convenient time for me as a professor to be doing anything extra, let alone stretching way past my normal word count.

If we could shift NaNo to like June, that would be great. I vividly remember being in college and one of my friends having a meltdown because she was behind her NaNo goal and her schoolwork, which she sacrificed to write more. I wanted to shake her. NaNo is one month, grades are forever. The same rule applies as an adult with a job. I’m not sacrificing my mental health and totally stressing myself out for something that in the long run doesn’t matter. NaNo is just another month, just another arbitrary activity, and my life and worth doesn’t hinge on a word count.

My process also doesn’t work with NaNo. The typical wisdom is that you shouldn’t edit as you go, which I have to do. Editing is my warm-up before I start my next writing session, and it keeps me from having to do a massive amount of editing at the end of my draft. On top of that, I am a plantser/gardener. This means that I don’t usually have an outline before I start writing or, if I do, it’s on an act-by-act basis or only a few scenes ahead at a time. Not being a plotter means that either I have to zero draft (messy, scant rough draft), which I really don’t like to do, or I need to rapidly figure out where the hell I’m going. My lack of forethought does not lend itself to this process. I do not like cleaning up a mess. I am the kind of person who cleans the bowls and pans as they cook instead of dealing with a giant mess at the end. The same holds true for writing. Without being able to edit as I go or having the time to do so while writing so much, it really isn’t worth it for me as I will struggle to finish a book that requires that much editing.

Know yourself and your process should be the main takeaway from this blog post. If traditional NaNoWriMo works well with your writing process, then you should definitely go for it, but if it doesn’t work for you or the way you write, it might not make sense to go for 50k words in a month and wreck your mental health or manuscript. Every year the FOMO gets me during week 1 when everyone’s energy is high and they are so enthused, but once the stressed posts set in, I realize why I don’t torture myself. I know I would hitch my self-worth as a writer to those giant (for me) daily word counts, and things would not end well.

If you haven’t enjoyed NaNo this year but feel like it’s necessary or a hallmark of a “real” writer/author, it isn’t. I have never won NaNo. I have only tried twice and failed both times. Camp NaNo where I’ve stuck to a more reasonable word count goal is the only way I can do NaNo. I have eight books out with several more cooking, so don’t feel bad if NaNo just doesn’t jive for you. You certainly don’t need to do it in order to finish your manuscript or to find a supportive writing community. You can do that all on your own any month of the year.

Writing

Introducing Flowers and Flourishing

If you’re part of my newsletter (see the menu on the top bar if you want to join) or like to check out my works in progress page, you’ve probably seen me mention Flowers and Flourishing, which is going to be a newsletter freebie for all of my subscribers and will be going out in early 2023 (I’m hoping for January, but we’ll see). My plan is to launch this book as a freebie first, and eventually, I may add a few more short stories along the way (also free to subscribers). Once I have those, I will package them into a larger work that will be something like Flowers and Flourishing and Other Stories from the Paranormal Society, which will be available for purchase at online retailers. I do not have a timeline for that yet because I haven’t written or conceived of the other short stories, except for Flowers and Flourishing and one idea I have brewing about the origin of two side characters in The Reanimator’s Heart.

But I digress. So what you’re probably wondering is what is Flowers and Flourishing about. Below is a little aesthetic board I created for Louisa and Agatha and beneath that, the blurb.

The plan had been simple: arrange a marriage of convenience with her best friend, get him a position at the Paranormal Society, and get the hell out of California, but even the best laid plans go awry. What Louisa Galvan never accounted for was Felipe being transferred to Manhattan or finding a woman like Agatha Pfeiffer.

Agatha hadn’t asked to be a plantmancer. Her dream had always been to become a professional artist, but after hours sweltering in the Paranormal Society’s greenhouses, painting is impossible. In exchange for time off, Agatha is expected to convince Louisa to stay at the Manhattan Branch, but she quickly finds her reasons are wholly selfish.

As their feelings grow, Louisa realizes she has two choices: continue to hide or reach for a life she never knew was possible and convince Agatha to come with her. But Agatha and Louisa aren’t the only ones conspiring. Can Louisa convince Agatha that she deserves the life of her dreams or will their love wither on the vine?


As you have probably guessed, Flowers and Flourishing is a sapphic story set about twenty years before the events of The Reanimator’s Heart and Kinship and Kindness. It is the story of how Felipe’s lavender marriage wife, Louisa, came to meet and fall in love with her partner Agatha. Louisa is a cis lesbian who happens to be a jaguar shifter while Agatha is a bi trans woman who is a plantmancer. It’s a pretty low blood pressure novella with some steamy moments and nods to the queer artists of the past. I hope you’ll join my newsletter and stick around for this novella when it releases in January.

Monthly Review

October 2022 Wrap-Up Post

Most of October was taken up with release day preparations and anxiety for The Reanimator’s Heart. I was super hyped about it, but I’m not going to lie, it sort of stole my attention and ability to focus because I was constantly worried about something going wrong or forgetting something important. Overall though, the month went very well, and I want to thank everyone who preordered, reviewed, or shared the posts for TRH on social media. You all are awesome. Anywho, let’s check out the goals I made last month for October and how we did.

  • Have a good launch for The Reanimator’s Heart (aka release ebook and paperback and maybe hit my stretch goal for my preorders)
  • Start prepping the weekly notes for my spring classes as they are both new *laugh sob*
  • Writing goal
    • Minimum goal: 10,000 words
    • Normal goal: 12,500 words
    • Stretch goal: 15,000 words
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Enjoy doing fall/Halloween stuff

Books

My goal for October was to read 8 books, and I read 11 books.

  1. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren– 4 stars, a memoir about being a woman in STEM while dealing with mental illness and life. Very interesting, especially if you’re into trees/plant science. It was as much about her life as it was about the science she studies.
  2. Saga Vol 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples– 4 stars, rereading in preparation for volume 10’s release
  3. Saga Vol 10 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples– 4 stars, definitely worth the wait, though the body count is getting high. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and how things change/grow going forward.
  4. Three Kings by Freydís Moon– 5 stars, I had the honor of reading this book in order to blurb it. It is a M/M/M book featuring a trans main character, his husband, and a selkie that washes up by their lighthouse. Lots of magic and coziness to balance the sensuality.
  5. Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu– 4 stars, I read this as research for “Flowers and Flourishing” and greatly enjoyed it. Definitely has those sapphic vibes, even if Carmilla is a vampire who just wants to drain poor oblivious Laura. Highly recommend for vampire lovers.
  6. Obsidian Island by Arden Powell– 4 stars, a shipwreck, four castaways, and a lush island that is more than it seems, completely with a creepy tree, tropical birds, and giant bugs
  7. Lore Olympus Vol 3 by Rachel Smythe– 4 stars, Hades and Persephone are lovely messes, and I really enjoyed this volume as we got to see more of how the underworld works and the fits and starts of these two figuring out what they want.
  8. Temporary by Hilary Leichter– 3 stars (more like a 2.5), this was recommended by a friend and I didn’t love it. It’s just sort of the pretentious yet empty lit fic I would have read in my MFA program. There were moments where it had something going, then the author moved on and it disintegrated. Is it trying to be funny? Is it trying to be profound? I don’t think the author even knows, but it was short, so I finished it.
  9. Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots (#3) by Cat Sebastian– 5 stars, a music reviewer (ADHD-er) falls into the life of an autistic doctor and their lives meld together seamlessly that only they don’t seem to realize they’re in a relationship. It was absolutely lovely, especially the bits about community and family (found and blood)
  10. Into the Riverlands (#3) by Nghi Vo– 4 stars, Chih (a cleric who records history) runs into a group of martial artists who are more than what they seem. Once again, the narratives in a narrative and unfolding of Vo’s layered plots held me rapt.
  11. Exodus 20:3 by Freydís Moon– 4 stars, a trans man is trying to get his life together only to find himself rehabbing a church with a man who happens to be a monstrous yet attractive Biblical-style angel

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Made quite a few graphics for The Reanimator’s Heart, including ones for reviews and blurbs from Magen Cubed and Cat Sebastian (they both are awesome)
  • Posted weekly on social media until release day
  • Blurbed my first book as an author (Three Kings)! Blurbing is when an author gives another author a marketing tagline they can use on their books or social media. I was very excited to blurb for an author I really like and respect.
  • Revised my paperback for The Reanimator’s Heart and released it
  • Contacted my narrator about doing the audiobook for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Got a commission of Oliver and Felipe from Kay Fine. You can see it here. I’ll add it to the art page soon. As an FYI this is not cannon in book 1, but it will be in a future book (not spoilery)
  • One of my ARC readers is also an AMAZING artist, and she made fan art of Oliver and Felipe that is absolutely mind blowing. Definitely follow OblivionsDream on IG, Twitter, or Tumblr. You can see the picture here.
  • My partner and I split the cost of a cheaper tablet in hopes that I can get into digital art again (after like 15+ years of not doing it) and to do some writing away from the computer.
  • Turns out that I’m only teaching one new class next semester, which is a bit of a relief in terms of prep workload. Sadly, it isn’t the one I was super hyped about, but I didn’t start the prep for it yet this month.
  • Gazed longingly at the beautiful trees in my backyard and the farm behind it. Highly recommend this activity if you want to just mainline pretty colors and fall coziness while still void staring.
  • Sadly, the extent of my Halloween activities has been buying a Spooky Vibes Only shirt that has the agender flag colors from On Trend Tshirts on Etsy.
  • The launch/release of The Reanimator’s Heart– My baby is out in the world! I want to thank everyone who bought it, reviewed it, shared posts, etc. You all have been absolutely amazing and supportive of my weird little book. At some point, I might do a whole post about this book’s release because it went really well, like REALLY well. Like so well it freaks me out a little. My stretch goal for preorders felt like I was really dreaming when I made it, and I blew past it in the last week or two.

Blogs Posted


Writing

It has been a rough month for me in terms of grading and anxiety, which means writing is hard. A lot of the anxiety stemmed from The Reanimator’s Heart coming out, so for the past week, I’ve been sort of a mess. I wish I could say that was the only reason I’ve been a mess, but I felt like crap the first week of the month too. Luckily, I think I have caught up or will be able to. I only hit my 10k goal, but at least I hit it and am content with that.

  • Week 1- 710 words total, 2/2 days written, 355 words/day
  • Week 2- 345 words total, 1/7 days written, 49 words/day
  • Week 3- 2145 words total, 5/7 days written, 306 words/day
  • Week 4- 2050 words total, 5/7 days written, 293 words/day
  • Week 5 + the 31st- 4750 words total, 5/8 days written, 596 words/day

Hopes for November

Something I am really looking forward to next month is the lessening of my workload with my freshman writing class. The last big paper comes in during the first week, which means it’s all downhill from there. October was the month of giant papers (*laugh sob*), so this should give my brain a little more breathing room. That and The Reanimator’s Heart being out.

  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out the monthly newsletter
  • Keep marketing The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Word count goals for “Flowers and Flourishing”
    • Minimum- 10k
    • Intermediate- 12.5k
    • Stretch- 15k
  • Shop for majority of the Christmas presents
  • Actually work on that spring class’s lesson plans
  • Do something relaxing- not sure what exactly but video games, drawing, crafts count
Monthly Review

September 2022 Wrap-Up Post

September was a shockingly productive month. One of those months where I’m super convinced I forgot something very important because I got so much done and nothing seems to have gone wrong. I’m always suspicious when things go well. Let’s take a look at the goals I made in August for September and see how I did.

  • Maintain my mental health and a decent work-life balance while grading/teaching
  • Make my goals for quarter 4
  • Writing goal of 10k/12k/14k of “Flowers and Flourishing”
  • Deal with any last minute book BS that comes up for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Maybe make another book trailer/Tiktok for The Reanimator’s Heart (<– didn’t happen)
  • Read 8 books

Books

My goal was to read 8 books this month, and I read 9 books in September.

  1. Home Grown Talent (#2) by Joanna Chambers and Sally Malcolm- 4 stars, a gardener and a model turned TV personality team up for a weekly gardening segment where flirting for the camera turns to something more
  2. Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim- 5 stars, a matchmaker returns home to save her new career while dealing with a toxic mother and a gaggle of lovely and complex older gentlemen who need to be matched
  3. Saga (#8) by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples- 4 stars, rereading before volume 10 drops
  4. Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore- 4 stars, a queer and trans retelling of The Great Gatsby where everyone manages to get a happy ending
  5. Imperfect Illusions (#1) by Vanora Lawless- 4 stars, set during WWI, two gay men with magic struggle to maintain their connection and safety during the war as they’re used as weapons
  6. Monstress (#7) by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda- 4 stars, things are getting dicey for our heroine, but her little fox comes to the rescue once more
  7. Lay Me Down in Ivy by Stefanie Simpson- 3 stars, an interesting Victorian-flavored erotica with a fem dom MC and a cinnamon roll male MC, could have used more characterization overall
  8. Monotone Blue by Nagabe- 4 stars, a studious reptile person arrives at a new school and starts to bond with a lazy cat person. A cute MM young adult romance story that I wish would continue and does talk briefly about some heavier subjects
  9. A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger- 4 stars, a wonderful story with lots of Indigenous lore where a human girl and a snake-shifter from another realm team up to save his frog friend and her grandmother.

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Proofed the audiobook of Kinship and Kindness
  • Paid narrator for the audiobook
  • Released the audiobook of Kinship and Kindness (see blog post in next section for links/info)
  • Fixed proof copy of The Reanimator’s Heart, so now it is ready to go
  • Made more marketing graphics for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Set up my goals for Q4 and have reset my kanban board
  • Got my omicron booster/flu shot
  • Touching base with my job about my classes next semester (required some logistical work)
  • Started teaching my writing classes for the semester
  • Have been continuously in grading hell, but I don’t feel like I’m drowning in work. That’s as good as the balance gets at this point.
  • Visited friends for dinner (we all are fastidious maskers on campus), which was really lovely and has helped my brain a bit
  • Worked on plotting “Flowers and Flourishing” and wrote act one
  • May have made a Pinterest board for the next Reanimator book, even though it isn’t in line to be written next, but I like creating a vibe while it marinates

Blogs Posted


Writing

I ended up writing a bit less than I hoped this month. My initial low goal was 10k words (as in 11.5k total), and I ended up only writing to 10k (9.5k words). I really shouldn’t be shocked though because the first act always takes me the longest to get through. Now that I’m getting into act II, I’m hoping that it will move quicker, and I’ll have an easier time balancing my grading and my writing as I’ll be more accustomed to my schedule.

  • Week 1 (4 days)- 720 words (missed 2 days)
  • Week 2- 2600 words (missed 4 days)
  • Week 3- 1800 words (missed 2 days)
  • Week 4- 600 words (missed 6 days)
  • Week 5 (5 days)- 2500 words (missed 2 days)

Hopes for October

  • Have a good launch for The Reanimator’s Heart (aka release ebook and paperback and maybe hit my stretch goal for my preorders)
  • Start prepping the weekly notes for my spring classes as they are both new *laugh sob*
  • Writing goal
    • Minimum goal: 10,000 words
    • Normal goal: 12,500 words
    • Stretch goal: 15,000 words
  • Read 8 books
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Enjoy doing fall/Halloween stuff
Monthly Review

August 2022 Wrap-Up Post

Somehow August was simultaneously the longest and shortest month. This was probably due to teaching a summer class that went at a breakneck pace while trying to finish up my book launch prep.

  • Stay on top of my summer class stuff (that runs from the beginning to the middle of August)
  • Set up the Blackboards for my fall classes (*quiet sobbing because I hate doing it*)
  • Edit the majority of The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Continue working on the newsletter freebie story
  • More graphics for TRH
  • Set up Google form for ARC copies of TRH
  • Read 8 books

Books

My goal was to read 8 books in August, and I read 10 books.

  1. Cafe con Lychee by Emery Lee- 4 stars, two teens who don’t get along band together to save their parents’ businesses
  2. Her Unexpected Roommate (#5) by Jackie Lau- 4 stars, absolutely loved these two, high anxiety MC meets human golden retriever MC is always a good combo
  3. Empty Smiles (#4) by Katherine Arden- 4 stars, a decent wrap up of this MG horror series
  4. The City of Brass (#1) by S. A. Chakraborty- 5 stars, I finished reading it and sat back like wtf and immediately looked for the sequel on my shelf
  5. Second Spear (#2) by Kerstin Hall- 4 stars, such good world-building in this book. A creepy world with a maze and a Cheshire Cat grin, yes please
  6. Fence: Rise (#5) by C.S. Pacat and Joanna the Mad- 4 stars, another bridge volume but I liked seeing the two MCs getting closer (though this is the slowest of burns ever)
  7. The Governess Affair (#0.5) by Courtney Milan- 4 stars, a vengeful accountant/”fixer” bringing down a duke because he hurt the woman he’s falling for is chef kiss
  8. The Duchess War (#1) by Courtney Milan- 4 stars, a historical romance between a duke trying to level the playing field for society by destroying the upper class from the inside out
  9. Saga (#7) by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples- 5 stars, reading in preparation for volume 10 coming out in October
  10. A Kiss for Midwinter (#1.5) by Courtney Milan- 4 stars, the ending sort of saved this book for me as I found the dynamic of the two MCs grating at times

Admin/Behind-the-scenes Author Stuff

  • Did round 1 of edits on The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Did round 2 of [micro] edits on The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Sent out ARCs of The Reanimator’s Heart to reviewers and peers
  • Incorporated beta reader feedback
  • Proof-read The Reanimator’s Heart and did all those edits (*laugh sob* should have done that BEFORE sending ARCs out)
  • Asked a few people to potentially blurb The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Formatted the paperback and ordered a proof copy, which looks awesome
  • Formatted the Kindle/Epub editions of the book (final, hopefully)
  • Set up all my pre-fall semester stuff for my classes (syllabi and Blackboard accounts- also realized I could clone Blackboards from previous semester, so yay time savings)
  • Taught my 3 week summer class and survived, lol
  • Made multiple book graphics

Blogs Posted


Writing

So there isn’t much to talk about here since I finished The Reanimator’s Heart in July. What I did do is plot part of my newsletter freebie “Flowers and Flourishing,” which I hope will not grow into a giant novel. *whispers* Please stay a novella or smaller; I am begging you.

This will follow characters you’ll meet in The Reanimator’s Heart but follows the format of Kinship and Kindness by being a queer romance featuring a shifter and a trans character, so it’s a sort of bridge between both series as they both involve the NYC Paranormal Society. In this case, it’s F/F romance with a lesbian jaguar shifter and a bi trans woman. The former is in a lavender marriage with one of the main characters in The Reanimator’s Heart.

PS- you can preorder The Reanimator’s Heart here.


Hopes for September

  • Maintain my mental health and a decent work-life balance while grading/teaching
  • Make my goals for quarter 4
  • Writing goal of 10k/12k/14k of “Flowers and Flourishing”
  • Deal with any last minute book BS that comes up for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Blog weekly and put out my monthly newsletter
  • Maybe make another book trailer/Tiktok for The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Read 8 books
Monthly Review

June 2022 Wrap-Up Post

June was an oddly good pleasant and productive month for me. Things, of course, were rocky with everything *gestures to the world* going on, but I think I’ve thrown myself into my work in order to cope. I will say, at this point, I’m feeling a little fried. With productivity comes the back swing of fatigue and minor burnout, so I’m starting July mindful of that. Here were my goals for June:

  • Read 8 books
  • Word count goals
    • Minimum goal 13k
    • Real goal 15k
    • Stretch goal 17k
  • Finish the room/office destruction/cleaning
  • Blog weekly
  • Monthly newsletter
  • Approve cover design
  • Work on new reader magnet story
  • Play a video game/do some crafts

Books

I set out to read 8 books in June, and I read 9 books total.

  1. By Pain of Death by Suzanne Clay- 4 stars, a trans retelling of Hades and Persephone where the latter is a trans man. It was a tender hurt-comfort sort of story.
  2. Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray- 5 stars, an MM Beauty and the Beast retelling featuring a vicar and a dragon man in a cursed manor. I loved this so much, like I was upset when I finished because it was the right amount of tenderness and angst.
  3. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston- 5 stars, a mystery mixed with romance featuring tons of queer characters in a conservative school and how you can still find community and make change.
  4. Saga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples- 4 stars, rereading Saga in preparation for volume 10 in October
  5. The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (#2) by Cat Sebastian- 5 stars, Robin Hood-esque story following a prickly woman who murderers her horrible husband to save her family/friends and the soft, animal-loving blackmailer who loves her.
  6. The Jade Setter of Janloon (#0.5) by Fonda Lee- 4 stars, a prequel story set in the same world as Jade City.
  7. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty- 5 stars, a nonfiction book about the strange questions kids want to know about the dead. As always, Doughty doesn’t sensationalize things and her authorial voice is *chef kiss*.
  8. Deceiver of Minds (#3.5) by Jordan L. Hawk- 4 stars, John, Caleb, and Grey try to find others who went through the same horrible experiments as John and end up in the crossfire as loyalties are tested and relationships turn out to be more than they appeared.
  9. Total Creative Control (#1) by Johanna Chambers and Sally Malcolm- 4 stars, a boss x personal assistant romance centering around a TV show about vampires. I love a prickly, complex character. Much like Sebastian’s book, it’s a bit of grumpy x sunshine romance, and I’m here for it.

Admin/Behind the Scenes Author Stuff

  • Nearly completed the entirety of my room/office clean-out. At this point, I’ve stalled out because I need to put a lot of stuff into the garbage and only have so much room in the can per week. But the bulk of cleaning and tossing is done.
  • Chose the direction for the cover design of The Reanimator’s Heart with my designer, and it is BEAUTIFUL. I’m waiting on the final mock up from my cover designer, but once I have that in the next few weeks, the preorder will go up. I can promise you that it is absolutely lovely and fits this book so damn well it hurts.
  • Created a detailed release plan that scares the shit out of me to look at for The Reanimator’s Heart. It is the most thorough plan I have had in years, and that scares me a bit since my last release was in the middle of the pandemic while I was running on fumes mentally.
  • Played/finished TWO video games. I have been trying to make an effort to actually play some games to help recharge, and I finally succeeded. They weren’t the games I initially bought, but both were good.
    • Unpacking is quite short, but it is super low stress. It tells a story through the objects a person brings from house to house as throughout their life. It is cute and sweet.
    • The second I played was Strange Horticulture, which takes place in a creepy British town where you run a horticulture/plant shop that sells rare and strange plants. You need to figure out what people need while also helping/hurting a strange figure take over. I don’t want to giveaway too much, but if you like puzzles, plants, and murder towns, it’s really good.
  • Made a list of Amazon genres for The Reanimator’s Heart when it comes out
  • Outlined the entirety of the newsletter freebie, which has a new title, “Flowers and Flourishing.” I did not start writing yet, but that’s fine because I’ve been focusing on The Reanimator’s Heart.

Blogs Posted


Writing

My minimum goal for June was to write 15k words, and shockingly, I wrote 18k! I was amazed at how much I wrote. It’s an exceptionally high number for me as I tend to be a put-put writer, but once I hit the middle of the book, things tend to speed up a little (thank god).

  • Week 1- 2,500 words and missed 1 day, 625 words/day (5 day week)
  • Week 2- 5,000 words and missed 0 days, 714 words/day
  • Week 3- 3,000 words and missed 1 day, 500 words/day
  • Week 4- 4,600 words and missed 1 day, 767 words/ day
  • Week 5- 2,900 words and missed 0 days, 725 words/day (4 day week)

I would like to know how I managed to blow my goal out of the water, but I do sort of know. Hit the right part of the book, not teaching any classes right now, and plenty of alone time to work. I feel like my writing muscles are finally coming back to how they were circa 2018. If I could keep them going while avoiding burnout, that would be magnificent.

I really like how this book is shaping up, so fingers crossed, the editing process should be fairly smooth. If you’re interested in my writing process, check out last week’s blog and stay tuned for next week’s blog, which is about the editing process.


Hopes for July

  • Finish Writing The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Start Editing the beginning of The Reanimator’s Heart
  • Figure out what to do with old room furniture/prep for reno
  • Start drafting newsletter freebie, at least a little bit
  • Do the cover reveal
  • Start making release graphics
  • Read 8 books
  • Crochet something?? Or do some other art project??
Book Reviews

12 Queer Books to Read Now (Pt 2)

Last week I posted a list of 12 Queer Books to Read Now (Pt 1), and because I read a shit ton of queer authors, I wanted to do a second post full of authors you can check out. I may also do a list of authors I have on my to-be-read pile but haven’t gotten to yet. We shall see. You may have also noticed that I changed the title from queer authors to queer books because I don’t think an author needs to be out to write a queer book, so this is more inclusive.

  1. Anna-Marie McLemore– McLemore’s books are an auto-buy for me because their books are so rich with texture, magic, and queer characters. Many of their characters are also neurodivergent and/or trans, which speaks to me. I highly recommend Lakelore or When the Moon was Ours.
  2. Tehlor Kay Mejia– Mejia has teamed up with McLemore before, but I also really enjoyed her dystopian, Latinx fantasy duology We Set the Dark on Fire, which has a really interesting sapphic couple at the center of the story.
  3. Keito Gaku– Gaku’s 4 volume manga Boys Run the Riot is the first I’ve read featuring a trans masc character by a trans masc author. The story is about friends, fashion, and going after who you are and what you want to be.
  4. Margaret Owen– I adored all three of her books so far (with Little Thieves being my favorite), which all feature lots of queer characters and have asexual rep as well. If you like heroines who are a bit rough around the edges and softer, dorkier love interests, her books are for you.
  5. Talia Hibbert– While Hibberts Brown Sisters series is M/F romance, Dani Brown is bi and Hibbert is nonbinary, and that queerness shows in the books. Hibbert’s books have queer side characters with the promise of future queer stories. Also, great neurodivergent rep in the Brown Sisters series!
  6. Lara Kinsey– Kinsey writes quite a bit of f/f romance, and I absolutely loved Budding Romance and Blooming into You. She manages to cram so much development into novellas. They’re perfect if you need a short, compelling piece.
  7. KJ Charles– I would be remiss if I didn’t include KJ Charles’s books on the list. Her queer romances are *chef kiss* and run from magical fantasy to political intrigue.
  8. Joanna Chambers– Chambers’s work is reminiscent of KJ Charles’s as they both write historical, political/historical focused MM romance. My favorites from Chambers are the Winterbourne series, which are shorter and follow different characters. They’re soft and sweet and just warm.
  9. P. Djèlí Clark– I don’t think Clark has a single book that doesn’t have a queer character. The main pair in A Dead Djinn in Cairo is sapphic, and his books have complex characters, amazing stories, and interesting magic with lots of rich texture.
  10. Yuki Fumino– Fumino’s I Hear the Sunspot is one of my favorite manga series. It features a very slow-burn MM pair and talks a lot of deafness and what it’s like to be hard-of-hearing with an immense amount of detail. One MC is losing his hearing and the other works for a company that tries to make things more inclusive for the deaf community.
  11. E E Ottoman– Ottoman is a trans masc author who writes some really fantastic romance featuring trans characters. They’re smart, cozy, and usually have quite a bit of heat.
  12. Nina VarelaCrier’s War and its sequel were books that I read and sort of sat there in a daze after because I enjoyed them so much. A robot princess, a human girl in the midst of starting a rebellion, and the collision course that brings them together. Who can ask for more?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope you have a bunch of new books to add to your TBR pile and stay tuned for EVEN MORE authors to add in a future post.

Book Reviews

12 Queer Authors to Read Now (Part 1)

I am deep in the writing trenches this week, so today’s blog is going to be a little different from the usual fare. Since June is Pride Month, now is the perfect time to share some queer authors/books that I think you should read. Not just in June, but all year long. Today, I’ll be posting the first 12, and I will do another 12 next week as well since there are way too many amazing queer books/authors for one post.

  1. Jordan L. Hawk– Jordan’s books are a lot like mine (gay, monsters, mysteries), so if you like my work, you will love Jordan’s. I highly recommend all of his series, but I particularly enjoyed Widdershins as well as his latest book The Forgotten Dead.
  2. A. E. Bross– Bross’s The Roots that Clutch is a fantasy story set in a desert world with lots of queer characters, found family, magic, and interesting world-building.
  3. Magen Cubed– Magen’s Leather and Lace is the buddy cop/monster hunters in love kind of story that has a ton of action that is balanced with tenderness and silliness. Dorian and Cash are a hoot.
  4. Cat Sebastian– Cat’s books are notoriously tender, and what I love most about her work is that even the MF romance is queer. If you love historical romance with a heavy dose of queerness, hit up her work, especially Tommy Cabot Was Here.
  5. Suzanne Clay– Suzanne’s work is new to me, but I read By Pain of Death, which is a Hades and Persephone retelling where Persephone is trans (Seph) and Hades is disabled/dealing with chronic pain.
  6. Aster Glenn Gray– I just finished Gray’s Briarley, which is a MM Beauty and Beast retelling where the beast is a dragon man who has been trapped in his castle for 100 years (set during WWII). Gray’s work appears to be mostly historical and very queer, so you know I’ll be buying more.
  7. Arden Powell– Powell is one of my favorites right now, especially with their Flos Magicae series. Interconnected historical-fantasy stories with lots of queer characters and interesting magic/world-building.
  8. Allie Therin– Therin’s Magic in Manhattan series and the spin-off series is so good. Magic, relics, kick-ass main characters with complicated pasts and relationships.
  9. Ella Stainton– A Scottish nobleman who talks to ghosts teams up with a non-believing psychologist, what could be better than that? Snarky and passionate with plenty of adventure and surprise, Best Laid Plaids is worth a read if you like MM historical romance.
  10. Olivia Waite– The Feminine Pursuits series is F/F romance that is to die for. Feminine yet feminist with an incredibly varied cast in interesting jobs (weaver, beekeeper, etc.), circumstances, etc. I love all 3, so no playing favorites here.
  11. Lee Welch– Lee’s M/M fantasy romances are filled with great world-building and complex characters. The latest, Seducing the Sorcerer, also has a ridiculous enchanted fabric horse that I adore.
  12. Nghi Vo– I love all of Nghi Vo’s work, especially since there is a sapphic edge (overt or more covert) in all of her work. If you like complex, layered books, I highly recommend The Empress of Salt and Fortune, or for old Hollywood glamor mixed with magic, Siren Queen is for you.

That’s it for today’s Pride Month book list. Come back next week for 12 more books/authors to add to your to-be-read pile!