I think one of my favorite tweets so far this year (aside from all the Bernie memes) is that 2021 is just 2020 with a mustache. Yeah. It’s not looking too different yet. But overall things are on the up and up. Vaccines are slowly trickling out to the public and we have a new president and the first Black, Southeast Asian, Woman Vice President (Yes, I cried. Did you not?). And I got into the PhD program at University of Maryland! So at least that mustache is looking a bit better than that weird chinstrap 2020 was trying to pull off.
More personally, January was actually pretty exciting. At the end of 2020, I finally decided to dig my in heels with a novel I started back in 2017. And now it’s DONE! Okay done-ish. At about 350 pages and 110k words, it is a full length novel. So done-ish. With threads of Practical Magic and Howl’s Moving Castle, A Witch’s Tale follows the story of Deirdre, a witch who has been running from the grief and ghosts of her past for so long she isn’t sure how to stop. But when she finally decides to do just that, she sets into motion the threads of a destiny she never knew she had and must rise to face it or doom all of witchkind.
Currently, A Witch’s Tale is in the hands of my beta readers and has already undergone some revisions. So now the wait begins. In the meantime, here’s a look at what’s keeping me sane and entertained in quarantine life:
While I wait on feedback for A Witch’s Tale, I’ve already gotten 90 pages into another novel (trilogy?) involving elite warriors, a dangerous forest known as the Wilds, and Other creatures trying to pull the strings. It’s still taking shape, so I won’t say more on it yet. But it’s a much bigger world than AWT (as one of my betas has dubbed the novel) and it’s been really fun to exercise the world-building part of my brain. I’ve also dug up a short story of mine that I think has potential. Honestly, it’s been a big year of digging through computer files and saying “hey, actually I like this!”
I finished a whopping 6 books in January! Some of them amazing some of them…meh. And do be warned, I definitely count audiobooks as reading. If you don’t it’s fine. We can fight after we get vaccinated. Here’s a look at the final tally (I grouped sequels):
The Fifth Season/ Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin: The Broken Earth Trilogy is truly stunning. From page one it absolutely blew my mind with how the world is set up, how characters are introduced, and how the magic system works. I took a break from it because it’s a heavy read, but I highly recommend it. The writing, plot, and world are all just so brilliant and clever. I can’t gush enough!
A Court of Thorns and Roses/ A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: I get why people love these books. I really do. But for me they fell a bit flat. I like the world and some of the creatures we meet are super interesting. But overall it was just okay. I found some of the phrasing overly repetitive and as much as I love a good bath scene…there are a lot of bath scenes.
Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: This one was a reread for me. I decided last year that I wanted to reread all of LOTR starting with the Hobbit. And maybe even finally finish the Silmarillion? This is the first time I’m reading it with my analytical brain turned on, so I’ve been writing in the margins as I go (I never do this and it still makes me feel a little weird). It’s been a great experience and it really makes me think! But I’m also currently wrestling with the racist aspects of Tolkien’s world and the revelation (to me) that the dwarves in these books are based off of Jews. While the semitic aspects of the dwarves aren’t overtly anti-semitic, the association of dwarves with greed and mining is…not my favorite. To put it mildly. Will I keep loving LOTR? Yes. But I won’t be looking at it the same way I did when I first watched Fellowship.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: I loved this book SO MUCH! If you like Firefly, this should be your next read. The whole book is full of really cool sci-fi world building. The plot follows an interspecies crew tunneling their way through space and exploring/ revisiting different parts of the galaxy as they go. There isn’t a lot of tension in the plot, but that was part of why I loved it. It’s very Star Trek in imagining a brighter version of how the world could be.
Now that I’m writing more than I’m knitting, my Netflix consumption has plummeted. But I still got through a Witcher rewatch with the roomie and continue to work my way through all of the Marvel movies in chronological order (just got part Thor 2). What I’m most excited about though is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I started this show months ago and got distracted. But now I am BINGEING it. Once I got to Princess Prom, that was it for me. I love these characters and this world so much. And yes, of course I ship Catradora.
I tend to listen to the same album over an over until I hate music. This month, the album of choice has been Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee. I hadn’t heard of her before a buddy introduced me and now I’m in love. I’ve also been digging Taylor Swift’s evermore. I think I’m late to the game, but what else is new. It’s the Cottage Core album we all needed. Enough said.
Well that’s it for this month! Stay tuned for writing updates and maybe even a short story!