Monthly Review

April 2023 Wrap-Up Post

Looking back at my goals for April, I feel like I was a tad unrealistic considering this is one of my busiest grading months. While I hit quite a few of these goals, others I totally fell short, but I will not feel bad about readjusting or rerouting my energy once chaos hit. Let’s take a look at what I thought would happen when I made my goals back in March before checking out what actually happened in April.

  • Writing (we’re feeling ambitious this month)
    • 23,000 words is the goal (770 words a day)
    • Because of this goal, everything else is sort of scant, which I’m fine with since this is also a heavy grading month
  • Read 8 books
  • Refill the well each week (aka do art, crafting, or game)
  • Blog weekly
  • Send a newsletter each month
  • Doctor’s appointment/taxes BOO
  • Start watching Sarra Cannon’s Publish and Thrive updated lessons


My goal was to read 8 books, and I ended up reading 10.

  1. Ironiside (#3) by Holly Black- 4 stars, I thought this was a good wrap-up to the series. While this isn’t my favorite of her series, I enjoyed Roiben a lot and Cornelius as well.
  2. Rattling Bone (#2) by Jordan L. Hawk- 4 stars, my only hang-up with this book is that I felt like we got so little of the main characters together interacting. It felt plot first, characters second, which I don’t really enjoy as much compared to Hawk’s other books.
  3. The Return of the King (#3) by J. R. R. Tolkien- 4 stars, not going to lie, I got choked up in my car over Sam and Frodo. Sam’s love for Frodo is what kept me reading this series. We need more Samwise Gamgees in the world.
  4. A Thief in the Night (#2) by KJ Charles- 4 stars, this is sort of a concurrent story to another set in the same world, and I always love a semi-reformed thief who falls in with someone who doesn’t take their shit.
  5. The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen (#1) by KJ Charles- 4 stars, if you liked Poldark but wished he was less gross and gay, this one is for you as we have smugglers, family drama, and a seemingly mismatched pair.
  6. A Rose by Any Name (#2.5) by KJ Charles- 4 stars, this is a short story that comes after Thief in the Night where the siblings reunite. I loved how unapologetically sweet it is.
  7. I Hear the Sunspot: Four Seasons by Yuki Fumino- 4 stars, I have lost count of what book this is in the series overall, but I love seeing these two get closer and figure out their relationship and lives. Plus the hard-of-hearing rep is well done.
  8. The Black Pages (#2) by Nnedi Okorafor- 3 stars, this story was pretty damn brutal. It felt like it cut off as soon as we figure out what might be going on, which is the point, but it is also unsatisfying as there won’t be a follow-up.
  9. The Invisible Man & His Soon-to-Be-Wife (#1) by Iwatobineko- 4 stars, this manga has visually impaired rep that is well researched, and I always love seeing disability mixed into fantasy worlds and with monsters and such. The Invisible Man love interest is sweet and dapper as well.
  10. Persephone (#2) by Lev Grossman- 4 stars, this also felt like the start of something larger, but it cuts off in a more satisfying place. I read this mostly to see if I’d like his other books and it was enjoyable, though a bit brutal for my tastes.

Admin/Behind-the-Scenes Stuff

  • Set up all my Q2 goals, kanban board, etc.
  • Did my 2022 taxes and set up quarterly taxes for this year, just in case, because I don’t want to pay the US government any more in penalty fees and interest than I have to
  • Went to the doctor to do my 6 month please refill my meds check (a giant time/money waster)
  • I found out there are copies of The Reanimator’s Heart for sale physically at the Meet Cute Bookshop and The Portal Bookshop, an LGBT bookstore in York, England, which is VERY cool (also at some B&Ns as well)
  • Two of my books were part of an Indie April sale
  • Graded so many papers… so, so many papers
  • Finished setting up the proof copy of the university literary magazine my class was working on, and we approved it
  • Did promo for the university’s literary magazine
  • Started using my Tiktok again and have been posting daily
  • Figured out how to use Capcut for said Tiktoks
  • Made a reverse outline for The Reanimator’s Soul so far
  • Ended up running my dog to the vet in a panic, but he’s okay. He has Lyme’s Disease, so he’s getting antibiotics and supplements and such, which took up a lot of mental real estate this month
  • Worked on my craft projects consistently in order to unwind and stay mentally balanced.

Blogs Posted


You may have noticed that I have forgone the weekly breakdown lately. I tend to do this when my writing has been feast or famine because seeing those tiny word counts certain weeks is disheartening and doesn’t really show all the other stuff I was doing, like giving a metric shit ton of feedback to my students. If only I could count my feedback as part of my monthly word count. By the end of the month, I wrote 11,500 words, which is way below my initial goal, but that goal was very unrealistic. I don’t know how I forgot that April is a horrible month for grading. April and November are when all the longer papers come in, and next year when making my goals, I really need to be mindful that, if I’m teaching freshman, I need to ease up on my word count goals. Either way though, I’m happy with those words, and I know where I’m going from this point on, which means that (hopefully) the next chunk I work on will come a lot smoother. Act I is always the hardest for me to write as it requires so much set up and micromanaging of future threads.

Hopes for May

  • Watch Sarra Cannon’s updated Publish and Thrive classes- at least 2-3 weeks
  • Read 8 books
  • Newsletter monthly/blog weekly
  • Keep messing around with Tiktok
  • Write 20,000-25,000 words for the month
  • Finish grading for the semester
  • Relax or do something fun, something to avoid an end of semester burnout/shutdown

Opinions Needed!

Okay, peeps, I need your opinions because I have hit a deadlock between two groups.

I am currently reworking the blurb for The Earl and the Artificer. Now that I’m over a third through, I don’t feel that the original blurb reflects the story. What I am hoping is that you, dear reader, can help me decide which blurb intrigues you as a reader more. As a side note, the first line is the book’s tagline. Here are the two versions:

Option A:

What mysteries lay buried beneath weeds and dust?

Eilian Sorrell wants nothing more than to leave England, but at the insistence of his mother, he and his new bride travel to his abandoned ancestral home. After an uneventful wedding, Eilian and Hadley should have foreseen the trouble waiting for them at Brasshurst Hall where the house and the quaint neighboring village are not what they seem.

Behind a mask of good manners and gentle breeding lurks a darker side of Folkesbury. As Eilian and Hadley struggle to fit in with the village’s genteel society, they find everyone is at the mercy of Randall Nash, a man who collects secrets.

When the village blackmailer turns up dead, the Sorrells become entangled in murder, theft, and intrigue with the manor at the heart of it all. Something long thought lost and buried within Brasshurst’s history has been found—something worth killing for.

Option B:

What mysteries lay buried beneath weeds and dust?

Following their wedding, Eilian and Hadley Sorrell journey to Brasshurst Hall, his family’s abandoned ancestral home. As Eilian struggles to reconcile his new roles as husband and earl, he finds the house and the surrounding town of Folkesbury are not as they first appear.

Rumors spread that Brasshurst’s greenhouse contains an ancient plant believed to be extinct since Nero’s reign, but each time Eilian comes close to uncovering the truth, he is thwarted by Randall Nash, a man known for unearthing and hoarding secrets.

Soon, Eilian and Hadley become entangled in a web of murder, theft, and intrigue that they may never escape with the manor at the heart of it all. Something long thought lost and buried within Brasshurst’s history has been found—something worth killing for.

I’d love to know which one would make you more likely to pick up the book and read on, so please post your opinion in the comments to let me know which you like better. Also, if you have any feedback about either blurb, I would greatly appreciate it.