A sneak peek into my life

I wanted to try something different. I think that the main reason I’ve been largely inactive on my website is that I don’t always know what to say. Part of me shudders to even consider writing this, as I’m wondering if it’s TMI. Writing is a large part of my life, but sometimes other parts of life prevent me from making any significant progress in writing.

A lot of the other things that consume my time are pretty mundane and not worth sharing as anything more than a small mention (like chores, driving locally, and waiting). But some of my other activities might be of interest to more than just me. So, I’m considering adding in some updates on those things.

I’d like to say that I have a “typical” day, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Most days, I try to get writing in before everything else so that I definitely can write. But I’m not a morning person and early mornings are my only guaranteed time. By evening, I’m too tired to write coherently.

On Mondays through Thursdays, my daughter goes to public school. We are down to only a single vehicle in the house at the moment, so I end up dropping my husband and brother off most of these mornings and pick everyone up later. My son is homeschooled, but around half of his work can be done independently. I help him when he needs me and I work on everything else I can around this.

More time than I’d like goes to household chores, inventory, and grocery shopping. Another chunk of time goes to trying to keep up with email and my social media accounts, though I get behind on those more often than not. I also try to keep up with deals to share on book recommendations, mostly for my newsletter, but sometimes here and on social media.

I’m the main person who cooks in my household, so a lot of time is spent in the kitchen. I like to be health conscious, so despite sometimes feeling lazy and getting takeout or easy to make processed foods, I typically cook everything from scratch. Currently, I care for 2 cultures. One is a sourdough starter I use to make all my bread. And the other is a yogurt starter. Aside from food, I make soap, lotion bars, and chapstick for my household.

That makes up most of my non-writing related time. The rest falls into more of a self-care category, something I probably should spend more time with.

For self-care, I will spend time on one of my numerous hobbies. Though mostly, I read. Believe it or not, I will usually count my homemade projects as self-care because I find it fun and relaxing most of the time.

After school on weekdays, I pick up my daughter. Usually, I have to wait at least an hour before anyone else is off work. I try to plan dinner around when I’m expecting to pick up my husband and brother. Most of my time after school is out is spent between dinner, making sure the kids take care of their tasks, and cleaning up. After the the kids go to bed, I spend an hour or two either reading or watching a show with my husband before I turn in for the night.

Weekends are the least predictable. Fridays tend to be the hardest day for me to get anything done. With both kids home and nobody else here to typically help me, most of the time it seems like my whole day is consumed with putting out fires between the kids. Saturday and Sunday, I usually at least have my husband home. These days have the largest variance on what is happening that day. The weekend is the most likely time for us to do something fun as a family, though the options are currently very limited. We sometimes go to Phoenix or Flagstaff for shopping. Or sometimes we go to Winslow to visit family.

When we don’t have plans for the weekend, sometimes I can get more writing done than the rest of the week combined. But other times, my husband needs the time for his ventures, so I don’t really accomplish anything.

The other day, I made chapstick and I thought to take pictures, so my next non-book related post will be about that.

I hope this wasn’t more personal than you’d like, but I want to have more interaction with my readers, so I’m trying this out as a way to hopefully connect. I’d love to hear if you have anything to say about any of this. Is there anything specific I mentioned that you’d like to hear more about?

Some Binge-worthy Books

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I’ve talked about some of K.M. Shea’s books before because I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers so far. The only books I haven’t quite read yet are some of the really old ones on her backlist.

But today, I wanted to talk about two connected series of hers, one of which I binged recently.

The Hall of Blood and Mercy series came out a little over half a year ago. Since K.M. Shea was releasing the series with a month between each book, I waited until just before the 3rd book was out before I started reading. This series is a loose retelling of Donkeyskin without any of the truly disturbing parts of that fairytale. I loved reading Hazel’s story in general, but the part of me that’s obsessed with fairytales geeked out on the parts that were recognizable as being from Donkeyskin.

Other than the fairytale aspect, this series was fast-paced and entertaining on so many levels. These books have the humor that is characteristic of K.M. Shea’s books that had me laughing often. The romance was adorable and I loved the world and the characters. The dynamics between Hazel and Killian were some of my favorite parts of the books, though their interactions with some of the other characters were awesome as well.

If you are in Kindle Unlimited, you can read the whole series for free. Here is the book link if you want to check it out.

The last book in the Court of Midnight and Deception series came out this month, so I started reading just before that release date. As far as I know, this one is not based on a fairytale, but I loved it just as much as I loved Hazel’s story.

This series is set in the same world as the Hall of Blood and Mercy series and it takes place just after that series ends. So I would strongly recommend that you read the Hall of Blood and Mercy series first to avoid some pretty big spoilers.

This series follows Hazel’s friend/Killian’s neighbor, Leila and the far assassin, Rigel. But Hazel and Killian make an appearance at least once in each book. I loved this series for a lot of the same reasons as I loved the Hall of Blood and Mercy series. Rigel and Leila’s relationship takes a much different path than Hazel and Killian’s, but I can’t really say which couple I like more.

This series is also free to read in Kindle Unlimited. Here’s the series link.

If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited and you haven’t tried it recently, you may be able to try it for a month free. Go here if you want to check it out. I’m not exactly sure what the time period is between trials for determining if you are eligible or if you are ineligible for trying it recently. But I tried Kindle Unlimited three times before I decided that I would read within the program often enough to make the subscription worth it for me.

A Beauty and the Beast Retelling I loved.

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I think it’s no secret that I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. I have several that I’ve loved that I’ll have to go through my previous reading list and share sometime. But this one is a YA version that I devoured a couple of days ago and I simply had to share it.

Similar to my retelling, this one appears to be based on Beaumont’s version of Beauty and the Beast, which is debatably the original version. Although there are other, older versions that are similar, most retellings are based upon Beaumont or other more recent versions. Technically, de Villeneuve is the actual original for what we think of as Beauty and the Beast, but the significant difference between the two is that de Villeneuve has a lot of info-dumping and unnecessary backstory that was omitted in Beaumont’s version.

Unseen Beauty takes on the unique point of view of one of the invisible servants in the castle. I feel like Amity Thompson did a great job incorporating the most important aspects of Beauty and the Beast while making the story her own with twists that were not in the original. The setting is a fantasy place with a European feel.

I have to admit that I blew off things I was supposed to be doing because I was that hooked on the story. I read this as a KU download, but I intend to buy a copy as soon as my budget allows because I know I’ll want to read it again.

January update

I hope the new year is going great for everyone. Last month, I ran a poll asking about what you want to see on social media and my website. The majority of you want more updates and book promotions and recommendations.

The results were very split on the subject of teasers, with the specific concern against them being spoilers. When I include teasers, I will make try to pick something that doesn’t include spoilers and if it does, I’ll make the warning obvious.

The majority result for how often I should be posting was whenever I had something to say, with a close second of weekly. So, I will attempt to have something to say every week, but I won’t stress it too much.

*Updated 2/3/21 Initially, I included the January promos in this post. I have removed them because they are expired