Hello Bloglandia!

Wait. Where did January go? I can’t believe we’ve (well, nearly) charged through the first month of 2020 already. While I’m not normally a sunshine and rainbows kind of gal, if this month is any indication of the year ahead, I’m in for a pretty good 2020.

And yes, my normal cynical-pessimist self has just whispered, “You have definitely doomed the rest of the year for daring to be hopeful.”

Anyway, let’s dive into a recap of my writing and reading world for January.

Getting All My Osterian Ducks in a Row

The biggest and most hoorah-inducing goal for this month was to complete the final proofread of The Battle of Ares and The Return of Odysseus (Books 5 & 6 of The Osteria Chronicles) and to finalize all the formatting, metadata, covers, and all that other fun publishing stuff.

I am still breathing a sigh of relief that this project is done…and that it was completed early, providing me with several days at the end of this month to catch up on some business chores that have been pushed to the wayside during this mad idea to work on two full-length novels at once.

But it’s done, the books are loaded and, if you’re interested, you can now pre-order The Battle of Ares and The Return of Odysseus. And if you need to catch up, the Box Set of Books 1-3 is also up for pre-order.

Okay, the rest of the announcements will be far less sales-pitchy.

Numbers! Happy Numbers!!

January saw me add about 70 more people to my mailing list and I’ve nabbed 6 more BookBub followers, which always feels good.

But the biggest jaw drop for January is that my book sales are twice what they were last January. Holy pig tails, Batman!!

Good News and Then Some Good News

As mentioned a couple weeks ago, my little old words won, not one, but TWO prizes in the Soul Making Literary Competition: third prize in the short story category and first prize in the Novel Excerpt category. I might have been a little ecstatic about this.

Then, just a few days ago, the editor from Horticulture magazine emailed and asked if I’d like to write yet another article for them.

This will be something like the sixth or seventh piece I’ve written for Horticulture, and the editor said she might want another before the year is out. Nice!

Setting Up for Sound

One of my goals this year is to add some audio content to my line-up, including a podcast. Of course, I had dreams of getting the podcast up and running this month, but that’s just not going to happen (there’s a lot of learning to do first).

However, after returning one super crappy microphone, I did get a decent mic and I’ve been playing around with learning how to use my recording software.

I still need to get a proper mic set up to make things sound a bit better, but I managed to record my first bit of audio yesterday. You’ll get a sample of this soon…you’ve been warned!

A Feature on Book Club Mom’s Blog

My reading addiction means I spend a little time on book blogs, and the one I’ve stuck with the longest is Book Club Mom run by Barbara Vitelli. She’s super friendly and covers way more than just book reviews.

She also loves to get her blog readers involved with features like Who’s That Author and What’s That Book. Well, this week, Barbara posted my submission for What’s That Book with my review of Jeffrey Archer’s amazing tome A Prisoner of Birth.

You can check out the post HERE.

Reading My Way Through Winter

Even though my eyes were aching after hour upon hour of proofreading my own books, I managed to read plenty this month, including…

  • La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman – I’d give this a solid 4.5 stars!
  • Sherlock Frankenstein (graphic novel) – The art in this was superb.
  • The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan (audiobook) – Interesting history, but I couldn’t stand the characters.
  • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (audiobook) – If you liked A Man Called Ove or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, pick this one up!
  • Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie (audiobook) – My favorite so far in this terrific series.
  • Take of Your Pants by Libbie Hawker – An okay guide to outlining your novel.

And the Reward

As I said when I typed about my goals for 2020, I’m making an effort to reward myself for a good month with a new (well, new to me) Asterix & Obelix book.

I figured this month went so well, I deserved two rewards and managed to nab these on ebay at a great bargain!

How was your January? Any good news? Anything you’re looking forward to for February?

I’ve got one more project for January to share with you, but since this post has already gone on long enough, I’ll save it for Saturday. Trust me, you’ll get a good laugh at my sewing skills!

Following that Saturday post, we’re going to start having some fun with the myths and legends that went into the creation of the final two books of The Osteria Chronicles. See you then!!!


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7 thoughts on “January’s Writing & Reading Round-Up

    1. Ah wouldn’t that be great if one good month meant taking the rest of the year off? As for the podcast…I’ve been practicing and everyone’s getting a sample of my horrid voice soon. Scary, I know. Thanks for stopping by!


      1. Can there be anything weirder than hearing your own recorded voice? Still, since we will never know what you sound like in your own head, you’re safe from our judgment on that front! 😂


      2. I have a certain nasally, eight-year-boy tone to my own ears. It’s why I generally try to avoid speaking to anyone other than my cats…although they can be more than a little judgey.


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