Hey there booknerds! I wanted to pop on the good ole blog and give you an update on what’s going on, and what you can expect from me in the coming weeks/months.
So, first things first, I'm moving again. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was packing up my life and moving to New Orleans where I focused on my writing full time. Well, that’s because it was only two years ago. That’s right, almost 2 years to the day of starting this adventure and this website (which was actually started in May but it took me a bit to write the first blog), I’m moving back to California.
Never fear, my friends, just because I’m going back to my old stomping grounds doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go back to what I had been doing before. No, I’ll just be transporting this adventure back to familiar ground. So, in case you were worried, don’t be. That does mean that the next few weeks will be awful though. In case you’ve never moved cross country with pets, I don’t recommend it. Unless it’s just a dog, they’re pretty chill. But unlike kids who may abhor road trips, you cannot reason with a cat.
You can’t console cats and reassure them that after a few days of annoying driving, it’ll be over. That they’ll be somewhere new and awesome and the torture will end. No. All cat’s see is: THIS IS MY LIFE NOW AND OMG I HATE YOU, HUMAN!
They cry and howl the whole time unless you drug them. Or my cats do, anyway. And yes, some people have told me that if I don’t keep them in their carrier that they’ll be much better on the road. The thing with cats is, they like to be in your face, or near your feet—or, again, my cats do. Which means it’s only a matter of time before one of the fluff balls decides that under the brake is the PURFECT (sorry, couldn’t resist) place for them to take a nap. Or, they’ll want to be on the driver’s lap and just touch their face. Side note: our girl cat is a face touch-er. She just loves to sit on your lap and look at you adoringly, and then touch your face. It’s cute, but probably not the best thing while driving. So the cat’s will remain contained, and they will continue their diatribe of anguished meowing in the car and in the hotels, and my dog will look at us and say—with his eyes, of course—“Why you do this? Why you no love me?”
And of course, once we arrive in California our stuff won’t be with us. It’ll be on a truck arriving sometime later. I’ll have my laptop, but not my main computer or my desk, and we’ll be crashing at my parent’s house until our things arrive and we can move into our new digs. Which means, dear, dear friends, that I won’t be doing a ton of work during that time.
I’m neurotic. I need my familiar things to be truly productive. Plus, whenever I’m home my mom tends to go back to treating me like I’m in high school—please tell me I’m not the only one whose parents do this?—so I get interrupted a lot and end up with a sort of curfew again. Me and my husband, thirty year-old grown-ass adults, will once again have a curfew. But hey, at least I get to eat for free, right?
That’s not to say there isn’t a bunch of new stuff coming. Book 3 in The Monster of Selkirk series is due back from the new editor any day now! Once that’s back in my hands, regardless of where I am, I will go through that bad boy like no one’s business to ensure it gets into your hands sooner. In other good news, books 4 and 5 are pretty much in the final stages of “doneness” as well, so I swear there won’t be such a long wait for those as there was for book 3.
In terms of new stories and projects, my short horror story “The Cautionary Tale of Bertrand Allary” has been published! You can get yourself a copy here along with short stories from 33 other talented authors. If you’ve seen the newsletter, you saw that the secret Pinterest board for the new fantasy series I'm working on is no longer a secret, so be sure to give that a gander. I’m about 70k words into the new project so it’s coming along rather nicely. It’s one of those world’s that I’ve made so robust, that it could very well have several spinoff novels all within the same universe, which I’m pretty excited about. Once you’ve looked at the board, I’d love to hear what you think that book may be about, but I can’t promise to confirm much at this stage due to serious spoilers, and that stuff may change. This is a first draft, after all.
The last project I have in the works is a contemporary fiction. I know, it’s quite the departure from my normal genre, but it’s an important story. It was inspired by true events and, as many of you know, I love making characters that deal with tough things and normalizing those feelings or situations so that others, perhaps, don’t feel so alone. This book is very much in that camp. But because it was inspired by actual events in my life, it’s something that’s even closer to my heart, and makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to share with you all. That being said, I am happy to share that I’ve just gotten that book back from my first critique partner, and once I go through their suggestions, it will go through a few more hands and then revisions and… you get the idea. Even though the book is “done” in terms of writing, it still has a lot of kinks to work out so I don’t have a deadline or timeline of when you'll have that in your hands, as I’m taking it through different channels then The Monster of Selkirk. But rest assured, you will see it.
If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, I applaud you, and shall reward your efforts! You see my friends, I’ll be running another giveaway starting Monday, April 30th. Want to enter? Be sure you’ve signed up for my newsletter! This giveaway will be exclusive to subscribers, and they’ll get a signed copy of book 2 headed their way before I move!
See? I told you I was working hard on fun stuff for you all! I hope that makes up for the weird “break” I’ll be taking as I transport my life. Again.
Hello my favorite booknerds! As we are approaching the first book birthday for "The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature" (April 18th), I wanted to do something new in order to give back to the community that helped get Tallis's story off the ground and to spread the word about my little book. I figured the eve of my book's birthday was the perfect time to introduce a new segment on the blog where I feature of one my absolute favorite bloggers! To be 100% honest, if it weren't for the efforts and candor of these fine individuals, indie books would have an exponentially harder time getting noticed in such a crowed space. We, as authors, may be giving them an endless supply of content to review, but without them, we all might as well be screaming into a void. So, THANK YOU BOOK BLOGGERS! And an especially big thank you to one of my favorites: Kathy Holbrouck of "Books & Munches"!
I "met" Kathy when she won my book during a book tour. I didn't know she was a blogger at the time, so man was I fortunate that of all the people who entered that giveaway, hers was the name selected. She read my book and her passion for my world and characters just blew me away. It was one of the best reviews I've ever read. And yes, I know what you're thinking: that was because she liked my book. Which didn't hurt things but no, it's much more than that. She picks her favorite quotes and writes these lovely in-depth reviews without spoiling a single thing. Plus, she pairs it with food! Her blog is a colorful, safe place for book lovers of all walks of life, that I have unashamedly been lurking on ever since. In fact, check out this post and this one as they are two of my favorites. So, without further ado, I want you to meet Kathy and fall in love with her as I have! Give her social links a gander and see why she's the best:
Blog – Goodreads – Twitter – Instagram
Ok so, first things first: why books and munches? I know you give a brief explanation on your blog, but I’d love more details for new readers. Why combine those two into a blog?
Doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge in 2017, I rediscovered my love for books. Not long after that, I joined a group on Facebook where someone with a blog was selling a bookish surprise box. Her having a blog got me the idea to start my own book blog.
I wanted to do something more with it, but I didn’t want it to be “just” about books so I started thinking about other things that are important to me.
Since I had gastric bypass surgery in 2016, I had to change a lot of my eating habits. Thinking about that, made me realize I could easily figure something out with both books and food. It was then I noticed how books very often mention at least one foody thing and, as such, Books & Munches was born.
It’s clear you love reading and want to write a book one day, but what about being a chef? Or writing a cookbook?
Although that sounds amazing, I don’t think it’s something for me. Sure, I love food and baking but half the time I can’t eat it myself. There are some specific things my stomach can’t handle anymore – chewy meat and sugary things being the most important two. I’d be very limited. Pretty much every time I bake something, my colleagues are getting all the munches – not sure if they love me or hate me for making them eat so many sugary things.
I also love baking way more than the actual cooking – my boyfriend’s the cook here and he might just do some kind of cooking course someday. I’m actually keeping my fingers crossed for that because.. personal chef, hello?!
I am planning on doing some changes to my blog though. I’m figuring out a way to add more of a munches-aspect than there is now but I still have some planning to do on that front!
This is a very broad (and multi-tiered) question, but what is it about reading that you love so much? What is the most important thing for you when reading a book? Characters? World building? Unique plot? Etc.
The reason I love reading is because I love losing myself in other worlds, other stories and simply escaping my own reality. Others have their games, movies, other hobbies, I have my books. The community also helps with that, though. I love how all bookworms are united in the book community, support each other and simply recommend books everywhere – although we’re all drowning in unread books already.
As for what I expect when reading a book? I read different genres of books so with each genres there are other expectations as well. When I’m reading a fantasy, the plot and world-building are most important to me. I want to be able to lose myself in a completely new world, immerse myself in it and get the feeling it’s actually real. Being surprised and having unpredictable plot twists are also important to me.
When it comes to contemporary and romance, I need to characters to be completely fleshed out. They need to be their own, unique selves. Nothing worse than having flat, bland characters fall in love with each other when they don’t even have that much substance.
The plot is of lesser importance because the ending of those books are… well… predictable? I don’t mind the predictability that much in those cases, unless I even see the smallest things coming – which was the case when I read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya
What would be your absolute perfect book? What would it have? Does it exist already, or will this be something you write one day?
Half a year ago, I would’ve answered this and went “I wish it existed” and now I can simply say: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli!
I wanted a contemporary with a bisexual, female main character who’s also plus-sized and that’s exactly what I’m going to get. The wait is real – I can’t wait to get my copy.
Having been plus-sized for most my life, I just crave more books with plus-sized characters in which it’s okay to be like that. No focus on “trying to lose weight” but simply being accepted by all. That’s the kind of books I want.
I also want more books featuring minorities. There are a lot of those out there, but personally I’d love to see more deaf / hard of hearing characters and blind characters.
Two books I really want to mention here are Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Very different books since one is a high fantasy and the other a contemporary, but they tackle so many important topics and easily became two of my favorites!
What other bloggers and writers do you enjoy reading or admire? Why?
Apart from Chelscey’s books (aww, thanks Kathy!!) – I’m so looking forward to the third instalment! – I definitely love Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black. Matthew S. Cox also has some great and unique fantasy novels I enjoy reading. Kate Watson is another author I admire. I never really had a thing with classics – still don’t, to be honest – but her retelling of Mansfield Park, Seeking Mansfield might be changing that. I’ve bought myself the original story and am looking forward to reading it!
As for bloggers I’m most enthusiastic about… Destiny over at Howling Libraries is definitely at the top of that list. I always enjoy her thorough reviews and she’s always up for bookish talk! It’s Lu Again is one of my favorites as well. The discussion posts and random facts she shares are always very entertaining. Marie over at Drizzle & Hurricane Books also shares a lot of posts on harder topics concerning bloggers.
What’s the hardest kind of blog post or review for you to write?
Without a doubt the reviews of books I wasn’t very keen of. It’s hard writing a negative review when you wanted to love the book. You don’t want to author to feel attacked in any way, but I’m not one to sugarcoat things either. I always try to clearly state why I didn’t like certain things and in a respectful way too but you never really know how someone will handle any kind of criticism.
If an author wants to reach out to you and wants you to read their book, what piece of advice would you give that would make you more likely to agree to read and review their work?
The most important thing to me is getting the feeling they truly checked out my blog and that convinced them I would like their book. Not simply sending me a mail because “hey, she reviews books. She’ll review mine as well.” It doesn’t work like that.
Drew, from Tattooed Book Geek, recently wrote a post with reasons why a blogger declines your review request and I had to agree with pretty much everything. I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re an author sending out review requests!
Ok so now for some fun, rapid fire questions:
I hope you all enjoyed meeting Kathy of "Books & Munches"! If you are a booklover, she really is one to follow, I promise you won't be disappointed! In another month (or two, I am moving...) I'll feature another excellent blogger, so stay tuned my friends!