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The Women in Books

It’s been three years since I published my first novel, The Assassin. Three years is a long time when you’re in your twenties and over the past few years, as a reader and writer, I’ve grown to appreciate the love for women in books. The women in books have influenced my life for a long time and in nod to the women I’m creating in my books.

The Women in Books

I’ve read books as long as I can remember, but there are some characters that have stuck out to me in ways I can’t describe. I was in high school the first time I picked up a Stephanie Plum book. It hit me that a woman in a book could be rough and tough and most importantly, she could be funny. She could be a little crude, have friends that made off-color comments, and be still be likable. 

Before reading these books, I never remembered having a woman lead a book who was funny – especially in a mystery novel. A funny woman in a mystery novel felt like a magical unicorn. 

Even after finding Stephanie Plum with her mystery and humor, I found another woman who made an impact. A series of mystery novels that were also historical fiction? Lady Georgiana (better known as Georgie) is a woman who doesn’t meet the standards of her family – who would rather marry for love, even when she’s thirty-something in line for the thrown.

She’s the idealistic kind of character – determined not to give up, always fighting to continue to figure out her case. 

This year, in 2018, the woman who has really left an impact on me as a reader has been Lieutenant Eve Dallas from the In Death series. This is a woman who in some ways reminds me a lot of myself, coasting through life until she realizes something isn’t right. She found love, but I’m still looking.

She’s a little grumpy and she’s got a mean streak when provoked – both things that remind me of myself. I’m not perfect, far from it, but the fact that all these flaws that I see in myself, I can see in a character who is still loved – I can’t imagine how that has impacted me, not just as a reader, but as a person.

I was thirteen when I first started writing The Assassin, in a little lime green notebook. Back then, I didn’t expect anything out of writing. I didn’t know anything about creating well-rounded characters, or about putting them into tough situations. I knew nothing about how to make a character that had an impact. Looking back now, I realize how much strong, slightly messed up women (both real and fictional) have impacted my life.

Without the women in books, I would have never realized some of the values I want out of my life or out of my characters. Women in books have had a profound impact on my life, and I hope they continue to do so. I hope at some point, my characters have an impact on someone else’s life.

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For the Love of Words: June 2018

June is here, y’all, and we’re almost ending the first half of the year. So far this year, my reading has been way beyond what I expected by my writing has been a little less so. I think my problem with writing is that I’m highly too ambitious on myself and expect machine-level performance.
 
I am not a machine.
 
I am a human being. A human who has low points and high points and isn’t as productive as she’d like to be. My goal is still to write 1000 words every day, and I’m definitely plugging along most days hitting my goal.

 

A look Back at May

The Books I Read

May was a bit of dismal month for me, I started a few books that I didn’t finish including one where I made the connection fifty pages in and just couldn’t do it anymore. Work has been unreasonably busy, so my reading hasn’t been as aggressive as it has in the past.
The final total for books I read in May was five, I believe.
  • Reunion in Death
  • Purity in Death
  • The Girl Before
  • I’ll be Gone in the Dark
The first two are both in the In Death series by J.D. Robb. The second two are stand alone. The Girl Before is a novel told from two points of view and alternate time frames. There’s a mysterious, rich man who definitely gives off Christian Grey vibes and overall, the book was a lot of fluff, but no anything exciting.

 

I’ll be Gone in the Dark is a true crime story that weaves Michelle MacNamara’s search for the Golden State Killer with the background of his crimes. I’m about two-thirds of the way done with the book and I’m sure that I’ll finish in the next few days.

 

THE BOOKS I WROTE

 

I’m still working on the second short story in my little series. While I was hoping to have the story done in the month of May, I’m only about halfway done. I’m going to have a month off in June, so I’m hoping to catch up on writing and at least start the third one.

 

Every year, around this time where Summer hits, I realize my publishing plan for the year is going up in flames. This year is no different. We’ll see if I get anything out this year, but I’m starting to think maybe not so much.

 

JUNE LOOK

 

I have a few books on my list that I’m excited to read this month, including some I just didn’t get to last month.
Obviously I’ll be finishing I’ll be Gone in the Dark, but I have a few other ones in my list.
  • I’ll be Gone in the Dark
  • Our Kind of Cruelty
  • The Last Equation of Issace Severy
  • Portrait in Death
  • Imitation in Death
  • Big Jack
As I said before, I have a whole week off in the middle of the month (maybe more, hopefully not) so I’m hoping I can get some serious reading in during this month. For the In Death series, I’d like to have the whole series read by the end of 2018 and I’m actually behind on schedule.

 

I might spend most of July reading just those books.

 

BOOKS I’M WRITING

I’ll finish the second short story here soon, and then start the third one. After I write both of these first drafts, I’m not sure if I’ll go back to edit this series or head back to my other series.

 

There is a lot in the air and I have no answers yet.

 

Either way, I’m hoping to recover this month and have a solid month.

For the Love of Words: April Recap and May Look

I’ll be the first to admit that months seem to fly by this year. May is already here and May always holds a special place in my heart. It’s the beginning of the summer months, my little brother’s birthday is tomorrow on the third, and today, the second, marks two years since I moved to Austin, Texas. I’m determined to make this month one of the most productive ever.

Between some nasty allergies and some personal things, I didn’t quite stick to my plan like I had hoped for April, meaning there are less books under my belt.

For the Love of Words: May 2018

April Recap


The Books I Read

  • Finished The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
  • Fire and Fury by Michael Wolfe
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb

There were two major reasons for less books this month: it was super busy at work, where I get a lot of my reading done, and it took me a while to get into Gone Girl. 

When it finally picked up (after the second part, I read most of it in just a few days). I also watched the movie, and I’ll admit I was rather impressed by how similar it was to the book.

While the movie was pretty true to the book, it made me realize just why books are always better than movies. Because we get inside the characters’ heads. If you’ve read Gone Girl, you know how big the narratives of Nick and Amy are to the book.

Part of what made me love to hate both was the narratives. You don’t get that in a movie.

Either way, it’s slowed down at work so it feels like we’re going to be back in business for reading. A minor hiccup, but we’re all set now.

The Books I Wrote

I finished Airtimes and Alibis this weekend, and while it’s a mess, it really felt like a good way to get into this world. The draft is finished at about 35,000 words.


What’s Up on Deck for May

Books I’m Planning to Read

  • Purity in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb
  • The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
  • The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  • The Dime by Kathleen Kent
  • Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
  • I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I’m still working on the In Death series and I’m sure I’ll finish by the end of the year. Three books are from the Austin Public Library, Our Kind of Cruelty is from Book of the Month, and I grabbed I’ll be Gone in the Dark after the announcement of the Golden State Killer’s arrest.

I’ll be Gone in the Dark was on my radar before the arrest, but that just added the book higher up the list.

The Books I’m Writing

I’ll be starting the second short story in the series, out of the three I have planned for right now. I’m hoping to have this done by the end of the month so I can write the third story.

As I said earlier, I hope for this month to be super productive.

What books are you reading this month?

For the Love of Words: March Recap and April Look

Spring is finally here in Austin, Texas, and man I hope it’s here to stick. After a long, dreary winter, the sunshine just makes me feel better. When I feel better, I’m more productive. Looking back at March, it shows. I read a lot of books and my word count was higher than it was in February.

For the Love of Words

March Recap


The Books I Read

Originally, I had another book on the list, Happiness for Humans. I started the book, but it just wasn’t my style so I didn’t finish it. Life is too short to read books you aren’t into!

I didn’t know a lot about The Wife Between Us and while I liked the premise the two authors were going for, the ending left me feeling deflated. I expected more of a climax and in the end, nothing really happened. But that is life, is it not?

The Books I Wrote

I’m still working on my short story, Airtime and Alibis. I know the title is a little corny, but it’s a fun story. I’m hoping to have the first draft done soon.


What’s Up for April

Books I’m Planning to Read

  • Finish The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
  • Fire and Fury by Michael Wolf
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Purity in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb

Yes, I’m about to read that book about the Trump Administration. I worked in politics in the 2016 election, so any book that really talks about what happened and the outcome of that is something I’m interested in. I’m skeptical of the book, but excited to see what’s really in there now that the controversy has died down.

Also on the list is Gone Girl, for all the books I’ve read with the word “Girl” or “Women” in it, I have never read Gone Girl. It’s been on my list for a long time and I found it at the library a few weeks ago, so I grabbed it.

I definitely say this list is an exciting one and I can’t wait to read all of these books.

The Books I’m Writing

I’ll be finishing up Airtime and Alibis, and then I’ll start the second story of the series. I’m hoping to do three short stories in this quarter, all in the same universe. It’s been a fun experience so far writing something new and getting to try something different.

For the Love of Words: February Recap + March Look

I know I’m a few days late with this post, but happy beginning of March! While January was a stellar start to the year, February seemed to sputter out in the writing department. The reading, however was pretty incredible.

For the Love of the Words

 

February Recap


Books I Read

While my goal was to read five books this month, I read nine. Almost double my goal. The five books I had on my list were all done by February 16th (I keep track in my Day Designer!), and I found myself wanting to read something familiar. My final list of books I read in February was:

 

Now the last five books were all in a series, The Heather Wells series. There were two main reasons to turn back to a series I’ve read multiple times. Reason 1: After so many dark books, I wanted something a little more lighthearted. Heather Wells is a murder mystery series, but Meg Cabot is a chick-lit writer and there is definitely that in these books, too.

Reason #2: I wanted to get back into that lighthearted mind frame as I planned my stories. Of course, I ended up just reading the books instead of utilizing them for the right frame of mind. Oh well.

Given that these were re-reads, I clearly love those book series, but what about the rest of the books?

Well, I’m still loving the In Death books, even nine books in. So those are solid for me.

The Woman in the Window was a two and a half day read. I wasn’t sure how I liked it, but after a morning at work where our systems were down, I read more than half the book that morning. It had some interesting turns, but there were a few times I wanted to throw the book at the ridiculous plot twists.

Bonfire, though, was by far my least favorite read of the year to this point. And that’s a shame because I was really interested to see how Krysten Ritter did with debut but I didn’t connect with any of the characters and the main character was a bit ridiculous for me.

Nine books is a lot of books to read in twenty-eight days, and looking back, I could swear that I read Holiday in Death back in January, not February.

Books I Wrote

In February, I finally finished my draft of Hit List. Then I started working on Airtime and Alibis, my short story. Though I suspect that it won’t be very short. It’s been a struggle, trying to get everything figured out – the plot, the story, the tone, the characters.

It’s a challenge, but I’m loving it.

March Look


Books I’m Planning to Read

Happiness for Humans will be an interesting read for me. I picked it up at the local library totally based on the cover, because I loved the technology aspect. The premise sounds good, and since I read a lot of dark books, it’s good to sprinkle in some happiness!

 

The Wife Between Us is a book I snagged in my Book of the Month subscription box and it has patiently sat on my bookshelf for a few months until I was ready to read it.

I only have about 50 pages left of The Bride Wore Size 12, so that practically doesn’t even count. After, I’ll dive back into In Death after finishing.

Given that I gave myself a full year to read this book series, I might have it all done by June. These books are definitely fast reads.

Books I’m Writing

I want to finish the first draft of this short story. I know that if I sat down and gave myself a weekend, I could probably knock most of the story out. I’m just lacking the focus lately. After I finish the first draft, I’d actually like to write the second one. Ideally, I’d like to write three of these short stories and release them back-to-back later this year.

Given that it’s already March, I’m not sure how well I’ll do.

Even if my writing is struggling, I’m so happy to be back into reading. For a long time, I didn’t read a lot, but reading is what started my love of writing. Reading is a wonderful feeling, always.