Stranger Things Season 1-Episode 1 Review

Hello…um…this is kind of embarrassing. I’m not sure I should be in this group…but now that I’m here, I might as well start, right? Oh, I should be standing up? In front of everyone? Oh. Sure.

Okay. Uh…My name is SE and I’m the LAST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE to watch Stranger Things.

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Yeah Joyce, I know.

I swear to you, even far distant aliens sit down with pirated Netflix streams to watch Stranger Things under the light of their three moons, sipping hydrogen drinks and squeaking at the jump scares. I may be the only sentient being left who hasn’t jumped on this train.

There is no reason for this except a) I’m a champion procrastinator with a part time online job, two small children, and a current WIP and b) all of the hype made me wary. Hype always does. It took me until book two for both the Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series to dive in (and then of course I obsessed over them, which I will probably end up doing with this show and why do I not learn from this?)

I went into my watch with several major plot points already spoiled for me because; Internet

  • There’s a girl with a shaved head and she has creepy mind powers. Her name is Eleven and she’s going to be a main character, although I don’t know what way this plays out.
  • Eggos are important. For some reason.
  • There’s a monster involved who looks like the ass-end of a Hellflower.
  • Richie, from IT, is on the show. Okay, fine, he was on this show before he was in both IT movies but I know him from the movies.
  • Bad things happen to some chick named Barb. (RIP Barb?)
  • There’s something upside down, or called The Upside Down.

I also went into it expecting to fall hard for all of my favorite TV tropes. Multiple other Instagram users with similar tastes to me have promised I will love this show, and I believe them.

TLDR; By the end of Episode 1 I am not head-over-heels in love, but I can feel the interest growing and I’m already suuuper intrigued.

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I have no idea which part of the show these gifs are from or if they fit my point, I’m just googling and putting in what looks fun to me.

After this first episode, let me say that the writers of Stranger Things are already incredibly good at building tension, releasing enough to keep us happy, and then using that release to build EVEN MORE TENSION. I curse them for this even as I lap it up.

The first thing which struck me was how very 1980s nostalgic everything was. I’m taking the tiny details on faith because I was born in 1987, four years after this show is set, but it looks like the design team did buckets and buckets of research. It’s all 80s all the time, and the 80s were AWESOME.

Maybe…not so awesome, though, because Will disappears first thing and it’s creepy. He does everything right. Runs home, locks the door, tries to call 911, looks for the adults in his life, I mean the kid even arms himself and he still gets snatched. Freaking terrifying.

The episode starts with a big bang, which I approved of, and then moves right to establishing our group of nerds as beloved, funny, and a tight crew of friends. Their chemistry is fantastic and I’m already rooting for them. I suspect this is definitely on purpose because we’ve already lost one.

All of this, which takes paragraphs to write out, happens BEFORE THE OPENING CREDITS. Narrative tension? Yeah, these writers have it down.

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RIP random science dude. That’s your narrative end when you do unwise sciencey shit.

We meet Barb, whom I was disquieted to find empathetic. She seems to be a supportive, sweet type of friend and I already know something bad happens to her. So, sad face all over that.

We meet Steve, who seems to be the most typical high school douche-canoe ever to paddle down Hormone River and I’m not sure why we’re developing his storyline. Unless girlfriend Nancy ends up being important later and we’re developing her? IDK, I’d be just as happy with more Eleven time and less Steve.

We meet Eleven, who is this tiny, shaved, intense, silent badass. I could easily see her taking down full grown adults and all she does in this episode is turn off an annoying fan and knock over a couple government gotcha guys. I really liked how Benny responded to her obvious trauma with caring, empathy, and food and as soon as I stated my hope he stuck around for episode 2 he got SHOT in the HEAD. Bad SE, caring about characters, you know better. This must be the kind of show where they immediately die once you admit you like them, i.e. Game of Thrones but with cool synth music.

By the end of the half hour Will’s poor mom has had a very strange phone call (I personally didn’t think it was Will but she’s his mom, she’d know I guess) and the Loser’s Club:Netflix Edition have found Eleven, running from Benny’s killers in the pouring rain. I am very ready to find out what happens next.



No Filter in Your Author Toolbox

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

This old post has been brushed up for this month’s Author Toolbox Blog Hop, hosted and moderated by author Raimey Gallant. Authors at all stages of their writing/publishing journey are welcome to hop in and bring new ideas and tools.

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Did you know there are such things as “filter words” when writing? I did not as a smol writer but now, thanks to the Tunnel of Everlasting Rejection which was 2017, I do. In the course of a) submitting my manuscripts to RWA contests for judging and b) having my bits chopped off by the Axe of Editing the awesome staff at eXtasy Books wields, I have learned the stuff they teach you in creative writing.

So take writing classes, is the lesson here.

Alternate lesson: If, like me, you don’t have the time or $$ for formal schooling you can pick this up for free by being rejected multiple times and told what’s not working in your writing, then googling the hell out of the right way to do it.

Or you can just read along as I suffer the corrections then research the fixes for my mistakes, and learn from my missteps without going through the rejections yourself. Whichever sounds best to you.

What I have learned NOT to put in my writing

  • Was + Gerund, Am + Gerund, or Is + Gerund.

A gerund is past progressive, which means (form of to be) + verb-ing, and it is also the dreaded Telling. For example, “One second later, Jenny was sprinting away from the monster as fast as she could go”. When you past progressive you are telling the reader what the character is doing, like a narrator, and removing them far, far away from the action. No bueno. The Write Practice calls this specific thing out in their post on words to cut.

no narrating

  • Filter Words

A term started by Janet Burroway in her book On Writing. If your characters are thinking, feeling, worrying, noticing, seeing, or deciding they are filtering what they are experiencing through their own point of view. Which is not the reader’s point of view. Adding an extra step between the reader, and the action. There’s that dreaded Telling again. Write it Sideways has a nice succinct post about filter words and an example of how to kill them.

A short hit-list of those filtering bastards to watch for: decided, hoped, saw, wondered, considered, regarded, worried, felt, knew, heard, smelled, thought, noticed, knew.

  • Passive Voice

When an action is performed on the passive subject of the sentence. “The bone was carried by the dog to his favorite hiding spot” is passive. Yiiikes, is it passive. Think a sentence like sex. If one part of the duo making up the sentence is just lying there, formulating a mental grocery list, while the rest of the sentence has to do all the work it’s not fun for anyone participating. “The dog slyly concealed his precious bone” sounds better. Stephen King has a bit to say about it in On Writing.

  • THAT

Almost always unnecessary. Do a word search on “that” in your manuscript. Pretty much all of them can go, and your sentences will be stronger with their absence. explains why in a good clear post about 8 words to seek and destroy in your writing.

  • Suddenly

Suddenly something happens! By definition and by virtue of the written action it is unexpected and the reader doesn’t need you to emphasize that by sticking in “suddenly” because when you do that you are (all together now, sing our author refrain) telling. Just jump straight to something happening.

Suddenly squirrel
Suddenly, squirrel!
  • Adverbs

Although it kills me to write this, because I LOVE me some adverbs. Why are they so universally reviled? While I don’t belong to the “DEATH TO TEH ADVERBS” camp, I do recognize that using them too much makes your writing weaker than a newborn kitten. Try not to use them with “said” (she said, angrily). Search them out, delete them, and make that sentence stronger. Also sneak a few in, here and there, because Fuck the Adverbiarchy.

Quick caveat: I am more convinced every day that the only real writing advice should be; DON’T DO THE THING (unless you do, in which case, carry on).

  • The Terror by Dan Simmons, wherein every character is wondering and considering and thinking and worrying left and right, is a horror masterpiece with filter words galore. It’s the most action packed book I’ve ever read and I finished all 700 pages of it in two days.
  • J.K. Rowling uses “said”+ adverb ALL THE TIME. Obviously didn’t work out for her, eh?
  • Robin McKinley employs incredible amounts of adverbs, not to mention she’s addicted to “, and” in her sentences. Still my favorite fantasy author.
  • A good story, great characters, and awesome dialogue and you can pretty much get away with anything. Take this, and any other post you read on the same subject, as advice. Follow it when it works, ditch it when it doesn’t.

If you would like to see every old piece of writing advice torn apart, flayed, and reconstructed, head on over to watch Chuck Wendig Roast some chestnuts. (Be warned if you don’t like cussing, he is super NSFW.)



Featured image via & Josh Byers

Guest Post: Welcome Cheryl Headford!

Celebrating her latest release today, please welcome fellow eXtasy Books author Cheryl Headford.

author Cheryl Headford

Hi Cheryl! First, congratulations on your new book! Let’s hear about it, please.

Sure! Let’s start with the (hopefully super enticing) blurb:

Morgan Bentley is a bastard. Matthew knows this absolutely—until he doesn’t.

Matthew and his friend Cory are thrilled to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. On their pre-entry visit, they met Morgan Bentley and his stuck-up friends. Matthew takes an instant dislike to the arrogant, conceited, self-obsessed, beautiful, intelligent, and charismatic boy. Throughout the next year, Matthew harbours his dislike, never missing the opportunity to complain to his best friend, Cory, what a bastard Morgan is.

Then, an unexpected turn of events catapults Matthew, Morgan, and Cory into a nightmare, and all the things Cory had said about Matthew’s true feelings about Morgan come crashing down on his head, and he realises that what he thought was hatred and anger was, in fact, growing attraction and begrudging admiration. But when the deadly nature of the elusive Project X is revealed, it seems their budding romance is doomed before it begins, as one of them is unlikely to survive.

Project X cover

Where do we find it?

Project X is available at the eXtasy Books website

Awesome. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself as well?

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller was the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem

Haha, I love your bio. Magic and mayhem, indeed. I would also love the opportunity to run around hitting people with swords, if I’m honest.

Do you have anything else to leave with us?

Definitely! Here is an exclusive excerpt from Project X

Morgan Bentley was a bastard. An utter, complete, A-one, cut-glass bastard. He was arrogant, selfish, cold, standoffish, cruel, and completely heartless. His history was peppered with broken hearts and broken people attesting to the fact. There was no doubt about it—he was a bastard.

Morgan didn’t have any friends. What he had was an entourage: people who cared less for the person he was than for the prestige his company brought. At the moment he had a girlfriend, the undoubted Alpha Female of the university, a bitch called Charlotte Lethbridge, whose father owned half of Mayfair. The relationship wouldn’t last, though. They never did. And next week it could just as easily be a boyfriend.

No one ever said no to Morgan. No one outside his circle of “friends” ever said anything at all unless he invited them to, which he rarely ever did.

Cory often said Morgan was sad—he had to be. He had to be lonely and sad because he had no real friends, no lasting relationships, no one to share with. Not like us. Sometimes I had to stop myself laughing when he said that. Morgan Bentley sad? Not bloody likely. He had everything. I mean everything.

His father was a research chemist, heading a huge multinational corporation. They manufactured drugs and engaged in research projects, sometimes for the government. I think that’s why Cory was so fascinated with Morgan. He was getting a degree in biochemistry and wanted to be a researcher himself. Cory was awesome…but he had flaws, and his fascination with Morgan was one of them. Personally, I wouldn’t care if I never saw his smug face ever again. Hell, I’d have been so much happier if I hadn’t.

For a different perspective on how Morgan felt about that initial meeting you might like to read the Prequel.

This gives away spoilers if you haven’t read the book, but is a nice, currently free, introduction to the boys and how their different perspectives work. Project X – Prequel 

Thank you for being a guest on the blog today, Cheryl! This looks super fascinating, I can’t wait to check it out. Best of luck to you on your release!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Celebrates a Bootleg of a Year

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

To sign up for the group yourself, click on over here. The IWSG is also on Twitter @TheIWSG and Instagram, as well as under the hashtag #IWSG

It’s time for the first Insecure Writer’s Post of the new year. So happy 2020 to you!

And can we all admit right now that the complete absence of automatic glitter, tacky gilt ornaments, alcohol, and Charleston step instructions falling gently from the sky at midnight was a huge disappointment? I mean…all we got was plain old fireworks. (Well, since I live in Nevada USA, we got sporadic gunshots all night SO THAT WAS FUN.)

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Is this a Charleston? I think I could actually learn this.

The co-hosts for the first month of this breakaway new year are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff! Don’t forget to go hand them a dazzling digital thank you in real 1920s style. (What does that mean? Yeah I have no idea either. I’m working this theme for all I’ve got, okay. My grandma was born in 1920, I sure wasn’t. Give the co-hosts the right to vote or make an arbitrary rule that’s as enforceable as the 18th amendment, I dunno.)

The question for this month is: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/partner? Did you just “know” you wanted to write?

To answer this question, let’s go all the way back to 1997 and a ten-year-old SE. Yep, I was the universal author origin story, writing what was basically adoring fanfic of Patricia C. Wrede and Tamora Pierce. We could call that the start of my writing journey.

Or we could move ahead to the remedial math class I took in college (2005) which I limped through until our professor threw us non-maths types a break by assigning a creative writing essay about the relative usefulness of what we’d learned. Which finally got me a paper back with a big A+ on it. The professor’s clear enjoyment of my nonsense gave me a big dose of hope that the story splinters I still etched into random notebooks could be…well…entertaining. For someone else, not just me.

No. Probably we should zip right along in some kind of split-scene montage. (I get to pick the music.) Imagine This Life, by Vampire Weekend jaunting around in the background as SE graduates college (2009), she gets a job, her son turns 4 with a cute Spiderman theme party, she gets another job, moves to Carson City, becomes engaged, gets married, has two more children, and leaves the job to becomes a stay-at-home mom.

There we are. There’s the real start of my author journey. Up until this point (2016), I was a devoted reader, a total nerd, an enthusiastic bookworm, a scribbler of small private bits of stories, but not a writer. Writing my own book and, even more terrifying, trying to publish it stayed a vague “someday” idea in the back of my mind for all of those years.

Then one day I was reading a novella on my Kindle, which shall remain nameless, and it was awful. Giant plot holes, badly written sentences, stiff dialogue, random scene transitions…this novella had it all.

And I can’t even describe the huge, electrifying, hopeful shot it gave me as I read. This was a real, formatted, published book. With a cover. And with buyers. As in, people like me expended actual money on it (whether they enjoyed it or not, I can’t say). If this could get published…why couldn’t I? What did I have to lose, right? Only my own time, and I wouldn’t consider it lost.

That was kind of the watershed moment, where all these tiny streams came together to lift up my foot and push it into that first step. There were plenty of other little impetus moments I haven’t described here, but these are the ones which stood out to me for the purposes of this post. And somehow, four-ish years later, here I sit. A writer.


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As a thank you for making it all the way to the bottom of this very long post here; have a cute otter snuggle.



Holiday Wishes

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Wishing you and your family all the best today, this week, and for all of the new year to come! I hope 2020 is full of good things for you and little to no disappointments.

May you enjoy the day fully, eat the treats you were wishing for, receive that book you’ve been wanting, and have a happy end of 2019.

Reading Wrap-Up of 2019

2019 was the Year of the Book for me and all is merry and bright. New fabulous authors, great finds, perfect recommendations, fun series, five star reads, crazybananas alien romance FOR DAYS. This year made me so happy.

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my 2019 mantra

This post also combines my last two Friday Favorites of the year. December 20: favorite releases of 2019 and December 27: Favorite Reads of 2019.

Number Of Books I Read: 250

Um. In my defense, I was left unsupervised. With lots and lots of books. And I work part time from home. And I tend to devour entire alien romance series (which usually have shorter, 40-50K word books) on my Kindle. My reading shot up by a LOT after I got my Kindle.

Number of Re-Reads: I refuse to count

This is definitely all #becauseofbookstagram. Taking the photos for my feed is deadly because I end up reading all of the old favorites I’m photographing and my TBR is over in the corner eyeing me like:

killing you in my mind

Genre I Read The Most From: Romance!

I let my horror reads go this year and only read like, two new Stephen Kings? I dunno, I was in a fluff mood this year so fluff is what I read.

Best Books I Read In 2019:

The Billionaire’s Wake-Up Call Girl, Annika Martin

The Madness of Viscount Atherbourne, Elisa Braden

Never Sweeter, Charlotte Stein (this is a redeemed bully romance and not for the faint of heart. CONTENT WARNING.)

Taming Chaos, Anna Carven

Bound to the Battle God, Ruby Dixon

The Naughty Princess Club, Tara Sivec

The Scandalous, Dissolute, No Good Mr. Wright, Tessa Dare

Queen’s Ransom, Isabel Wroth

Favourite new author I discovered in 2019:

It’s a tie between Tara Sivec and Anna Carven. Fortunately one writes hilarious contemporary romance and one writes steamy, emotional alien romance. So they fulfill two different niches in my life.

Book I can’t believe I waited until 2019 to finally read:

The Madness of Viscount Atherborne (Elisa Braden). A well executed revenge plot, along with a marriage of convenience which turns into flaming hot love is ALWAYS a win for SE, and I love historical romance too. This one was published in 2015. What on earth took me so long?

OTP of the year:

Purity and He’Rokvskaa from Hunting Purity, by Tracey Lauren. I found this book because we were making fun of the cover on bookstagram (RUN, PURITY, RUN!) and then ended up getting it because I love Tracey Lauren and the blurb was intriguing. Then the craziness of the plot combined with the adorably-clueless-about-feelings-gladiator getting hit over the head with the Feelings Stick won me over. They started out rough (He’ro is honestly hunting to kill her, this is an arena) but Purity wins him over through sheer cuteness and that makes them my 2019 One True Pairing.

hunting purity
Seriously look at that cover. Bahaha!

Book that stomped all over every emotion ever:

Queen’s Ransom, Isabel Wroth. If you have even a passing interest in the Greek myth of the Minotaur re-imagined as a romance, this is definitely the book you’re looking for.

Book(s) that I wanted to throw against the wall the hardest:

We have another tie between A Masked Deception, by Mary Balogh and Potent Pleasures, by Eloisa James. (And this is a HUGE shame because I love both of these author’s later books!) These short novels are each author’s older debut/first efforts and they lean hard into the tropes of the time. This means there are MULTIPLE misunderstandings which could have been cleared up by ONE HONEST CONVERSATION, aka one of my least favorite plot devices ever, omfg people just communicate already you’re giving me a stress headache with all these stupid unspoken words!!

THEN, ohhhhoho then, these misunderstandings lead to terrible overreactions on the part of both heroes. Seriously, by the end of Potent Pleasures I hoped the heroine would actually die in childbirth as the text was clearly threatening she might and this is NOT A GOOD reaction to a romance! The utterly fucking irrational hero deserved to suffer after all of his undeserved mistrust, blame, slut-shaming (LITERAL SLUT SHAMING, NOT OKAY) and rejection of the heroine. Neither hero responded to their misunderstanding with anything approaching trust, or acceptance, or love, and I just…

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Friday Favorites Has a Brand New Feel

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Hop created by Kibby @somethingofthebook

December 13 is Favorite New to Me Authors in 2019

Prepare, friends. Prepare to be bombarded with alien romance recs because that’s 98.5% of the favorite new authors I found in 2019. I can’t recommend Ruby Dixon again because technically I discovered her in 2018. Which is why I so-casually snuck her into the beginning of this post. JUST GO READ ICE PLANET BARBARIANS, you can thank me later.

Amanda Milo

Despite the dark, angsty, muscle covers Amanda Milo has a deep sense of fun and manages to work a lot of hilarity into each of her books. I particularly loved it when the rescued human women banded together to maintain that humans physiologically need chocolate and caffeine to survive and not one of them dropped a beat when it came to this story. My heroes.

Zoey Draven

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The Warriors of Luxiria series ticks every alien romance box for me and sometimes all I really want is to know exactly what’s coming and enjoy the romance along the way. (The alien romance boxes for those of you interested are: Fated Mates™, the alien females have been wiped out by a Mysteriously Convenient Plague™ so these ones need to breed, being abducted by the bad aliens, names with a ‘ in them, MINE, MINE, MINE, Translation implant needed? no problem!, Honorable Warriors Cherish Their Mates, Human Females Smell Amazing™, and Strange Features (For Her Pleasure) on Alien Penises™.)

Tracy Lauren

The alien instinct series had just a few missteps for me, but overall were solid 4, 4.5 star reads. I’m really loving her new Perished Woods fantasy series, too.

Anna Carven

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Ugh these are heart-wrenching and beautiful. Hard times ahead, but there is always a happy ending. And I like that instead of fighting against their feelings all the damn time the heroines appreciate the scary tough yet tender warriors fate has given them. YES. Anna Carven has a gift for both prose and world-building, making it lyrical and very visual. This series is a treat.

(Obviously I was in a major Ruby Dixon slump and so 2019 was the year of ALL OF THE ALIEN ROMANCE AUTHORS I should already have known about anyway.)

Tara Sivec

So damn funny, and definitely NSFW. Girl power dialed up to eleven. Definitely go read these.

Grace Callaway

Super steamy historical. I mean filthy hot. I had no idea that kind of steam could even be worked into a historical without it seeming forced/going stale after a while but Grace Callaway proved me wrong! Book after book, too. I’m impressed with her skill, not to mention her creativity and obvious painstaking research.

Kati Wilde

The Dead Lands fantasy series is freaking fantastic. I’m eagerly awaiting The Midsummer Bride, along with all of Kati Wilde’s other fans. Fantasy romance is kinda hard to find in the first place, so it’s a huge gift to find creative, sweet, steamy, lovely fantasy romance.

The Great Blogging Wrap-Up of 2019

Alright, friends. Let’s get to some numbery maths for the year. I’m still at the point where I genuinely enjoy blogging (LET IT NEVER END) and I have a lot of fun breaking my year down in stats.


Visitors in 2018: 2,320

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Success! Over 1,000 more visitors this year than in 2018

Top 5 Posts from 2019:

15 Gorgeous Literary Tattoos (This is DIRECTLY caused by pinning this post to Pinterest. I stuck it up and then months later it just…took off? And was shared like crazy and ended up with over 500 views. The takeaway; cross post stuff. Sometimes it helps.)

16 Parenting Sites/Magazines that Will Pay You to Write for Them (3rd year in a row this has been in the top two and I’m not surprised. Freelancing is HARD. I wish my readers sincere good luck.)

The 5 Types of Query Letter Rejections (It is nice to know what’s coming, I agree. As the Dread Pirate Westley says: ‘get used to disappointment’.)

The Basics of Romance, for Your Author Toolbox (So much fun to write, yet I was also forced to brush up on my basics to write it, which is always the best combination for a post.)

A Modern Slang Dictionary for Writers (Another fun one to write, and it’s ALREADY OUT OF DATE, internet please, slow down, what the actual hell is a yeet, anyway.)

Suddenly squirrel
This has literally nothing to do with anything, it just makes my heart happy

New favourite book blog/Bookstagram I discovered in 2019:

My new favorite romance blog is Ezrah’s at Eye Heart Romance. She had a pretty dang awesome year, herself, which is so cool. She always has a good, thought-provoking take in her posts and reviews. A post of hers I’m loving right now is Thank You, Romancelandia. Her Read a Romance Blog series is awesome, as well.

Favourite post I wrote in 2019:

My Favorite Things About Being a Reader

I still maintain that combining gifs and listicles is the best thing ever and these particular gifs speak right to my soul.

Post I wish had gotten a little more love:

Friday Favorites is Tropetastic

Tis a very silly post, and these specific/slightly weird tropes are dear to my heart.

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It’s always the appropriate time for this meme, Y/Y?

Top two searches that led users right to me in 2019: (SERIOUSLY HOW AM I GENERATING SUCH ACCURATE SEARCH TERMS when I literally do nothing to promote my website, this is the second year in a row and ??)

amazon (Again. Please, yet again, don’t take any legal action, Amazon. I have no idea why the two are related, I’m just grateful to get any readers.)

RIP to shower organizer pole super white (For the first two years of this blog this term led people right to me and I really do not get why, but it’s gone this year so RIP.)

Top five countries my readers came from this year:

  • The United States (S’up.)
  • The United Kingdom (Cheers!)
  • Canada (I just discovered The Red Green Show this year and WHERE HAS THIS MAGIC BEEN ALL MY LIFE, I blame you all for not telling me about Red sooner.)
  • India (Hi!)
  • Australia (How are you doing after those awful firestorms? I hope you’re all okay!)

Reasons my readers continue to be the Actual Best™:

You are sophisticated and demand good content, as evidenced by my popular posts featuring SUPER ACADEMIC word wordery, and highbrow discussions about sex.

My gifs don’t scare you.

No one is ever afraid to add something useful or helpful in the comments, which, keep doing that! Just like that.

For that matter: your comments are always about the actual article which never happens on the internet. You’ve made this a peaceful, calm corner of the (honestly) very scary interwebnet and I hope you feel the same sense of safety when you come check out one of my posts.



Friday Favorites Has You Covered

Friday Favorites (2)
Hop created by Kibby @somethingofthebook

December 6: Favorite Book Covers of 2019

Disclaimer: I haven’t even read these. Most of them are anticipated releases and part of a series. I’m a bookworm. I read books. BUT NOT THESE ONES, apparently?

Even though I haven’t read them, I love the covers. Insert shrug emoji here, because life is just this funny place where kids across the country can buy the exact same book at their Scholastic book fair in 1999 and I can like books purely based on their cover in 2019 and this is how it is.

Darkdawn, Jay Kristoff

I’m not emotionally ready for the trauma which is Darkdawn. Also, I haven’t bought it yet. But look at Mia on this cover. Look at my gorgeous little murder star baby and her bloody, dripping hands. The UK cover is included because they’re both kickass and that one is so much more intricate.

Rise of the Magicks, Nora Roberts

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Read the first one, loved it, and never read the other two! Shame on SE. Dishonor on you, your cow, your ancestors, and you again. Anyway I love the tree of life Celtic shield and the flame effects on this cover.

The Wallflower Wager, Tessa Dare

2019 covers 4

Wait, I have read this one. It’s the only one on the list. Priorities: straight. Anyway I love the soft pink color scheme and that exact foreplay position. It’s a lot of fun.

Fix it Up, Tessa Bailey

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I’m loving the comeback of these illustrated/cartoon covers on romance books. Super cute.


The IWSG is Into Role-Play

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group day! Connect. Comment. Comment back. Enjoy the support and know that together we’re rocking the neurotic writing world.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? 

Hello future author-self! Thanks for joining me today. What can you tell me about our books?

Hi past self. First of all, I can tell you to WRITE HARDER. Get those words out. You’ll wish you’d gotten in the writing time, so make your wishes come true and write now. Seriously love, you need to get into a routine. (I’m you, though, so I know you don’t.)

Yeah, that was going to be a hard sell from the beginning and you knew it. I mean, we knew it. I mean…whatever. You know what I mean. This is weird.

shrug gif

Let’s get to the good stuff; how are we doing? How is the writing life going?

So good. It’s looking great over here. That one you’re stuck on? We figure out an awesome way to propel the plot past that blocky bit. I can’t tell you what it is, because you’re going to come up with it after a long daydream session.

Well thank Austen! That one’s been giving me trouble for months.

Yep. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.

Aside from this fantastic news, how is the rest of it? Selling any books, future me?

top gear gif


Fair enough. Still, are we happy? Living the dream?

Yes. It’s safe to say we are. Another nice review came in recently and we heard from a beta reader who really enjoyed this next book. And it felt pretty damn good, I don’t mind spoiling that for you. Don’t give up hope. Good things are coming. Maybe not that agent/book deal we’ve been working on, but you’re still getting readers lost in a story.

You know I’ve gotta ask….the tea?

Still hot and sweet

The useless notebook collection?

Nice and empty.

Yaaas. You know the way to my heart. Blanket fort?

Getting bigger. The toddler approves.

The cat?

Nefarious, as usual.

Ahhh. The future sounds bright. 

boom baby

The awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson! Don’t forget to go over and wish them a happy IWSG day.