Posted in books

2021 Reading Challenge

Last year I set a reading challenge for myself to read twenty-four books. That ended up being a wash, in part due to a string of DNF-worthy books that killed my reading mood early on in the year. The other part of that was because I left it a little too broad for myself, which lead me to looking at most of my books through loopholes.

I’m still aiming for twenty-four books this year, but I’ve restructured slightly, adding in monthly themes. In order to qualify as part of my reading challenge, a book needs to meet at least one of the monthly themes. Bonus points are of course, awarded for meeting two or more categories.

Plot: Based off my handy-dandy plot list, to qualify the book in question needs to have a main plot based on the one chosen for the month. I.e. in January my plot of choice is revenge. If the main plot doesn’t feature some of revenge or seeking revenge, it’s won’t qualify. Since I won’t always know what the plot is until I’ve read the book, back cover copy is key here.

Location: Travel is still off the table in real-life, but there’s no reason I can’t pick another location to read about. I’m trying to alternate between general locations like ‘beach’ or ‘woods’ and specifics like Berlin and Seoul.  The story must be predominantly set in the given location in order to qualify.

Word: If it has the word in the title, it qualifies. Variants are allowed but only if they’re a variant of the same word. Fire, for instance, counts under fired, but not under flame.

Image: I know the saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but some covers are simply stunning! Hence, if the image on the cover matches the theme, it can still qualify for the challenge.

Although I’m only aiming for twenty-four books for the year, I went with four categories every month, both to give myself a little room and on the off-chance I get more than two books read.

January Themes

Plot: Revenge

Location: Woods

Word: Door

Image: Fire

What will you be reading in January?

Posted in books, serial, Seventh, Stories

Seventh: A Serial Story

Hair black as night.
Lips red as wine.
Skin pale as snow.
Eyes as dark as their hearts.

As a third generation seventh child, Crystal knows better than most how dangerous fairies can be. Now, thanks to a fairy’s meddling her brothers are in danger.

Lucinda, Queen of the blood fae, has claimed Crystal’s brothers. Their freedom may be regained, if Crystal is willing to trade them for the items Lucinda needs.

Six items traded for six brothers, and a seventh trade for her own freedom. Escaping from the underground realm of the fae might well require the help of another fairy. A fairy who knows the shadows just as well as Lucinda does. One who stands to gain just as much from Crystal’s entrapment as they do from her freedom.


Last week I announced my latest project. This week I’m even more excited to tell you all when you can see it and to let you know a little more about it.

Like Crimson and Gold, Seventh is vaguely based on a well-known Western fairy-tale. You’ll also be able to see characters from both Season of Preparing and The Spinning Wheel Trade in it. Unlike its related stories however, Seventh will be released as a serial story.

Part One | Part Two

You humans like to add ‘happily ever after’ onto your stories. There isn’t always a happily forever after, Sometimes it’s only ‘forever’ after.

Posted in books

Reasons for a DNF

If you’re not familiar with the term DNF it’s short for Did Not Finish. I’ve seen it a lot in the book community, and even some posts on specific books as to why they ended up being on the DNF list. After looking over my own DNF list, I realized there were a few key things that ended up causing me to put the book aside.

Too Many PoVs This one is very subjective, however for me, there’s a limit of how many characters are needed to tell the story. If you’re introducing a new point of view in almost every chapter, there’s too many views to follow along. I don’t need to know every character and their side of the story, I want to know why I should care about the main character.

A variation on that is also late introduction to PoV characters. I’ve had two separate stories where I got halfway or better into the story only to be blindsided by an entirely new PoV character.

Dumb Characters I really wanted to put it some other way besides ‘dumb’ because that feels harsh but that’s what it came down to. In both of my most recent DNF additions, the lack of basic thought on part of the main characters heavily contributed to the book being put aside.

This isn’t just a case of a character who isn’t academically smart or who simply doesn’t think very quickly. This has been a case of characters following questionably sound logic, or outright ignoring the very obvious signs that they are the Chosen One, their friend is a vampire or anything else that might be painfully obvious to the reader. It’s also a case of characters not asking the obvious and important questions–like how everyone knows they’re the Chosen One, or how everyone knows their friend is a vampire.

Lack of Plot This one is a really minor complaint. I’m personally much more drawn to character driven stories, but when the progress on solving the main conflict is largely characters rehashing what they know or going about their day-to-day lives doing their jobs while the side characters around them are off doing important plot-worthy things, it’s frustrating and it’s boring.

Inaccuracy Again, this is a very minor thing. Getting every detail about a place you’ve never been or a food you’ve never tasted is hard. Even getting every detail about an experience you’ve had can be hard. And the only reason this ended up on the list is because it ended up being the entire reason for a DNF within the first chapter.

Inaccuracy in facts does happen–but when it happens across almost every fact, it makes me feel like you haven’t done your job as a writer. And trust me, I know that’s a hard job (it’s one I pursue myself). It doesn’t take long to google how large an animals is, what kind of fish can be found in an area, that tigers can swim and which plants are actually poisonous.

These are all reasons for my personal DNF’s. They’re not a guarantee that every book out there with these things will be a DNF, it’s just some of the more common or stronger reasons for certain books to be put aside.

What are some of your reasons for a DNF?

Posted in books, writing

The (Almost) Launch Post

Back in September when I first started looking at publishing Crimson and Gold, there was an entire list of questions to answer. From the cover to the formatting, did I have everything I needed? There were also questions about whether or not I should do pre-orders, blog tours, ARCs and so many other little things it felt almost like I could easily drown in all the uncertainty.

Writing books is hard. Editing them is harder. Publishing is harder still.

I am however, incredibly happy to announce that all of the pre-launch chaos is almost over. Crimson and Gold officially releases on January 15. I know I’m not the only one wading through posts on how to do a book launch or how to create buzz for a story, so I’m hoping my experiences here will help anyone else with questions.

Building the Plan
The first place I started was figuring out what I needed to do to get ready to launch. That involved digging around on the internet and finding out what others had done for their launch plans. There were a few things I noted were key components.

  1. Time.
  2. Marketing
  3. Preparation

All three of these are things I knew I had to put into my own plan, which is why for something decided on in September of 2019, the end goal wasn’t feasible until at least January 2020.

Preparation was the biggest factor for how much time I needed. I needed time to make any final edits and to format the text. Additionally, I needed time to write any posts related to the launch. There were also several weeks of work to go into creating the cover.

Because Crimson and Gold is just over thirteen thousand words, I opted for fairly light marketing, utilizing just my twitter and the blog. I went back and forth on whether or not to open pre-orders (more on that a little bit below). Although that certainly reduced the amount of time I needed between deciding to publish and actually clicking the button, there was still a lot of work to go into it.

Behind the Scenes
A lot of the work going into launch day was technical work and learning as I went. Cover creation required not only editing and processing an image but also adding a few new skills to my repertoire of digital art. Learning those skills added several hours to an already lengthy process.

There was also formatting. Once the final edits were made, I needed to add in an appropriate table of contents and make sure it would properly transfer over to an e-book. That was likely the easiest portion of the entire process to complete.

I also had to upload both the manuscript and cover files, check those for errors and make any necessary corrections. Namely my initial cover wasn’t saved at the proper size, making it too small to upload.

All of that took up the months of October through November. Because I wanted the cover reveal done in December, I had to make sure that was completed and ready to go and became the primary reason the cover wasn’t revealed until the 30th. Before I could reveal anything I needed the cover and I needed a description.

The countless hours already put into writing and editing the story had to shift from checking word choice and grammar rules to trying to talk about the story and manipulating photos.

What’s Next
Officially, Crimson and Gold is launching on January 15th. I spent a lot of time debating about opening pre-orders. Ultimately, I decided on yes. It made things a little easier since it meant I could set the date and forget it, not needing to worry that anyone looking for the book wouldn’t be able to get it right away.

Beyond the 15th however, things get a little murkier. I’ll still need to do promotion and marketing. There’s plenty more to learn ahead.


CRIMSONANDGOLDREVEALCOVERCrimson and Gold available January 15th, 2020. Pre-order it here! You can also check out my other works here.

Twelve years ago, a wolf attacked Scarlett. Twelve years ago, Grandmother Rose chased off the man behind that attack.

Now, Ethan is back and Scarlett is the one responsible for defending Fairvale.  Doing that means finding the fairy spring and the only person who knows how to find it is the woodcutter, Carter. Carter has is own reasons for not getting involved with fairies and wolves. If Scarlett can’t find the fairy spring, Ethan gains control over some of the most dangerous creatures in the entire First Kingdom.

The same creatures he used to attack her twelve years ago.

Posted in books

2021 Reading Challenge

Last year I set a reading challenge for myself to read twenty-four books. That ended up being a wash, in part due to a string of DNF-worthy books that killed my reading mood early on in the year. The other part of that was because I left it a little too broad for myself, which lead me to looking at most of my books through loopholes.

I’m still aiming for twenty-four books this year, but I’ve restructured slightly, adding in monthly themes. In order to qualify as part of my reading challenge, a book needs to meet at least one of the monthly themes. Bonus points are of course, awarded for meeting two or more categories.

Plot: Based off my handy-dandy plot list, to qualify the book in question needs to have a main plot based on the one chosen for the month. I.e. in January my plot of choice is revenge. If the main plot doesn’t feature some of revenge or seeking revenge, it’s won’t qualify. Since I won’t always know what the plot is until I’ve read the book, back cover copy is key here.

Location: Travel is still off the table in real-life, but there’s no reason I can’t pick another location to read about. I’m trying to alternate between general locations like ‘beach’ or ‘woods’ and specifics like Berlin and Seoul.  The story must be predominantly set in the given location in order to qualify.

Word: If it has the word in the title, it qualifies. Variants are allowed but only if they’re a variant of the same word. Fire, for instance, counts under fired, but not under flame.

Image: I know the saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but some covers are simply stunning! Hence, if the image on the cover matches the theme, it can still qualify for the challenge.

Although I’m only aiming for twenty-four books for the year, I went with four categories every month, both to give myself a little room and on the off-chance I get more than two books read.

January Themes

Plot: Revenge

Location: Woods

Word: Door

Image: Fire

What will you be reading in January? Any reading challenges for the year?