June Reading Wrap Up!

Another month wherein I read a lot of poetry. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate into writing a lot of poetry. It seems my writing well has dried up for now, but I’m trying not to feel discouraged. Even the most powerful batteries have to recharge!

In June, I read nine books for a total of 2,584 pages. So far this year, I’ve read 49 books. I’ll definitely be extending my 2021 reading goals from 60 books to 80. July probably won’t be a big reading month for me, though. I’m going on vacation from July 8th to July 15th, and though I’d like to think I’ll get some reading done, realistically, I know I won’t. I may not even bother packing a book. If I do find time to read, that’s what my phone and ebooks are for!

  • Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
  • Helium by Rudy Francisco
  • Black Movie by Danez Smith
  • This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  • The Book of Pride by Mason Funk
  • Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I most enjoyed The House in the Cerulean Sea and Deaf Republic. The House… was enchanting, and Deaf Republic was gritty and raw. Two very different books but both excellent. I least enjoyed Helium. The poetry was good but not great. I haven’t had good luck with poetry this year. If anyone has any recommendations, hit me with ’em.

What did you read this month? Was it a good reading month? Which book did you enjoy the most? The least?

May Reading Wrap Up!

I’d like to start sharing my reading list here. On the last day of every month, I’ll post a wrap up. Feel free to share yours; let’s talk books!

I read a lot of poetry this month. Which means I also wrote a lot of poetry. If I keep up this pace, I’ll definitely be able to put together a chapbook by the end of the year.

This month, I read nine books for a total of 1,950 pages. In total, I’ve read 40 books this year–67% of my personal goal! This will be the first year I read 60+ books. I’m determined to be successful.

  • War of the Foxes by Richard Siken                                                       
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke                                                                  
  • Autopsy by Donte Collins                                                                    
  • Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory                              
  • Midnight Blue by Simone Van Der Vlugt                                             
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen                                                 
  • This is the Fire by Don Lemon                                                             
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn                                                           
  • Swan by Mary Oliver                                                                   

Of these nine books, I enjoyed Piranesi the most. It’s such a weird little book! I loved it and wish I could visit that world. I least enjoyed Swan, which is odd, because I usually love Mary Oliver’s poetry. This collection just didn’t do it for me, though. Oh well; can’t enjoy ’em all!

What about you? Was it a good reading month for you? What book did you enjoy the most? The least?

The Forest: A Novel Teaser #2

In April, I talked about my writing goals. I’m happy to say, I’m doing fairly well on them. I’ve written about 1,000 words of my novel (it may not sound like much, but as I’m a slow writer, I think I’m doing fairly well!), and I’ve written a couple new poems. I’ve also been more active on this website. It wasn’t a goal to be, but it’s an achievement I’m proud of anyway.

It’s been almost a year since I shared the first teaser of my novel, The Forest, which is about a young girl who wishes herself into a fairy tale and gets trapped.

Please enjoy this short preview of my novel.

“There’s magic in the world, Gwen,” Papa said, his one hand gesturing towards the open window.

Gwen rushed to see. She wasn’t sure what she expected, but it certainly wasn’t the same, tired scene: The outhouse hidden between two evergreens; the dilapidated truck with the wheels missing and the front fender dented in; the chickens pecking their way across the grass, heckling each other for food. She turned back to Papa with a disgruntled sigh. “Those are just chickens, Papa.”

He laughed. “Well, of course it’s not going to show itself in broad daylight!” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “It’s afraid.”

“Why, Papa?”

Papa patted his knee. “Come here, child.” Gwen took one last look out the window, searching for a quick glimpse of magic hiding in the shadows, or perhaps sitting in her Papa’s old, rusty truck, before running over to climb into Papa’s lap, eager for another of his stories. “Magic is afraid of people.”

“Like you and me and mama?”

Papa pinched her cheek. “Exactly so. When people first came to the world, they were mean to magic. Fairies had their wings cut off. Dragons were put to the sword. So many witches burned at the stake; the sky was black with smoke for an age.”

Gwen felt tears stinging in her eyes. “Why, Papa? Why were people so mean?”

“Because people kill what they can’t understand.”

The Forest: A Novel Teaser #1

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I don’t usually write novels. It’s much easier for me to write poetry or short stories, as I’m too flighty for such a big commitment as a novel.

I began my first novel in 2007. I had just discovered NaNoWriMo and I was excited. I rode that high the entire month of November and I “won,” but only just (my final word count came in at 50,134 words). I’ve failed every year since.

Still, I hold out hope that, someday, I’ll finish a novel (and hopefully publish it). A little over a month ago, I got a new idea for a story I’m rather excited about. I’ve written about 3,000 words of it and haven’t lost interest. Perhaps this will be the one?

Continue reading for a short preview of the first chapter of The Forest, a story about a young girl whose family gets trapped inside a story.

Gwen enjoyed a good blizzard. They were a part of her, after all, she had been born during one. She had weathered so many, storms of her own making and ones of the earth, that no matter how much snow fell or how hard the wind blew, she never grew frightened.

As she stood at the edge of the void, all she could feel was fear. Staring into it, she couldn’t help but feel something was staring back.

It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Even the worst blizzards could not have prepared her for the absence of everything, the startling white of the nothingness before her. Even when the snows fell two or three feet deep, there was always color left in the world. Like a painter who had come through with his brush to touch up any faded spots in a piece of artwork, the world was more colorful after a blizzard. The rough browns of the tree trunks were darker. Evergreen boughs took on a heartier hue. Glossy, red winterberries, which always lit a fire in Gwen’s heart on cold nights, were brighter when contrasted against the blank canvas.

Behind her, the forest existed as it always had. The trees shook in the wind, animals rustled in the bracken, and the river burbled its merry song. In front of her was…nothing. Not even a stray bird in the sky or a tendril of smoke from someone’s fire. She could feel the implications of it pushing at the boundaries of her mind, looking for any chink in her psyche to pour madness into.