Bookish Thoughts:You Lucky Dog

Stay with me on this one, I promise even if you don’t read romance, it goes beyond the genre.

You Lucky Dog by Julia London is, according to the back cover, a Contemporary Romance. It is a romance (there is DEFINATELY a HEA at the end) and it is contemporary…. But it’s not a Rom-Com per se (there are funny bits) and the spice level is mild.

I liked the book, a lot. Finished in the way I do books I enjoy. The above is just to get it out of the way, because I want to talk about something else. I need to talk about this book. So obviously I loved it LOL

This book sucked me in and kept me turning pages. And it felt like I was reading a different sort of book. One like… A Man Called Ove, or the Hendrick series. So why was I feeling that with a romance?

In A Man Called Ove, the titular character tries to off himself a few times and keeps suffering mishaps that thankfully ruin his plans. But it sucks you in because you want to know what on earth can possibly happen next.

The Hendrick book that I started with, well Hendrick and his best friend accidentally kidnap a baby. And again, I was pulled through wanting to know what could happen next.

And this story was the same. It pulled me through with what on earth could possibly be going wrong for the heroine, and the couple, next. Because they clearly belong together — they even have matching doggies that are so heart-warming and smoochable.

So while there is romance, and tingly feelings, this falls hard on the fade to black side of romance.

And quite frankly, is just a really good book romance or otherwise.

Ta for now, my lovelies. Hope you’re having a great reading day!

Books: Starting stopping and in-between

Normally, when I DNF (Do Not Finish) I never go back. Either something annoyed me, or I didn’t connect, or something was there that I knew. I’d never go back to try again.

I’d find a new home for the book, a friend, the used bookstore, a home.

Right now I’m second guessing myself. Because I started a book and put it down in the first 50 pages. Went to the Tiky Tok to watch some videos (none posted) then I picked up a magazine. Started reading.

Then I just gave in and started a different book. But that first book, it had some good ideas. And it’s physical, so I flipped forward. And it does get good. I just don’t have the patience right now to wait for 100, 200 pages for a book to get good.

That’s one of the biggest differences between genres for me. Between Fantasy and Romance. Except that’s a lie. There are Fantasy writers that grabbed me by the throat and haven’t let me go even during the first book of theirs that I read.

Some even have complex world building. And the one I put aside has enough that I want to read it… Just not right now. Which is confusing because I’m used to either ripping through or DNFing with no regrets.

It’s a reader’s conundrum. How do you deal with it?

Quarter 1 Writing Goals

For 2023 I had some goals. Mostly related to writing. So far, I am failing at every single one of them.

1. Write and finish a novel

2. Submit short stories (these are already spot polished and ready to go)

3. Blog every other week

4. Read 150 books

Well, as you can tell from my blogging history this year (up till recently) I have failed on that one. I have written exactly 1 paragraph in the novel I started. This past week. As for books I’ve read… I am at 29 so far.

So I have a few options here. I can hang my head in shame and give up because I’ve already sucked at it and I’m going to keep sucking obviously. But that’s not ME talking, nor is it anyone I love. It’s that tiny, tinny voice in my ear that tells me I’m never going to do anything. I’m not a good writer I’m not pretty enough talented enough… I’m not enough of anything.

Or I could remember that I wrote my stories, published and otherwise, for me. That I enjoy writing them. That it helps me work through ish, even if I’m never a writer making money at writing. Art isn’t about money, or shouldn’t be.

And that might be my problem. Coupled with having been sick off and on (mostly on) since Thanksgiving, I haven’t been able to even think about actually writing. But lately, I’ve been thinking about my story. About where it needs to go and what the story actually is.

Because originally it was going to be a spicy romance. Because that sells. But it doesn’t sell a book to me. Even tho I’ve read romances since forever, I have never written one explicitly. Or am explicit scene. The closest I’ve come is a sweet romance. Although I have written at least one spicy scene, it’s not in a story that’s going anywhere right now.

And that’s ok. The last thing on my mind right now should be writing for cash. Although with prices going the way they are it’d be nice. It’d be helpful. But I need to get in a different mindset because apparently that one strangles me creatively.

So. I wrote a paragraph this week. And for me that’s a big deal. And that’s ok. I’m not in this right now for anything other than me. Of I find homes for my stories that’s wonderful. But I need to get back to writing for that first reader.


Pacing & HEA in Romance

I recently read a “Rom-Com” that clocked in at almost 600 pages. It was pretty good— I blazed through the first half, then got to what I thought was the HEA… But I still had hundreds of pages to go through.

I’m not going to name names or give titles. But there were at least 3 points where the HEA could have been achieved and the reader be completely satisfied. Meanwhile, the actual ending… Left a lot to be desired. Definitely NOT a situation I want to ever be in with a SO. Nope. Not even a little.

Does everything need to be tied up with a big red bow? Not really. But what I was given at the end of this book was 2 characters sicker than dogs and about to go (albeit temporarily) long distance. In a romance.

Now, if your readers have stuck with you for that many pages… I don’t know. Maybe give the a firework ending. Or give us the epilogue where they are reunited.

Because this hot mess that we were given? Whelp. Any of those other premature HEA endings would have been better.

As a writer I am taking from this to make DANG SURE that the payoff is worth the slog.

How’s you’re reading going?


I’m starting to think my birthday is cursed, just a little bit. Since the pandemic hit, they’ve just gone sideways. Pre-pandemic my bff and I would take the boys to a museum, or the beach for a picnic or… You get the idea.

2020 my birthday was during the first of the lockdowns. We ate at home, figured fun things to do (for me, I  decided to write cards for a rehab/care facility. 2021 I don’t remember. Last year not only was I too sick to enjoy lunch, Barnes and Noble made me cry. I was so upset with that particular B&N that I didn’t return to it until a few weeks ago. They fixed the problem.

This year… My 97 year old father, whom I live with, has pneumonia. My son is sick and was an ass on my bday. Went went, spent got lunch and B&N trip. The kids went into the mall and got me the cutest little wallet for my BDay. But… Kid is sick

Yesterday my brothers were going to come over, but illness has struck their families too. My one sis in law did come, and brought me the cutest coffee mug and key chain! Book related!! But… I bought 2 large pizzas, and now al stuck eating them by myself. Bc…. Everyone’s sick.

And my allergies are in high gear. I’m whining and I know it. And I know my bday isn’t cursed. And this will make a HILARIOUS story at some point.

But next year my a$$ is gonna be in a museum. Or at the beach.

DNF’ing Books

First of all— DNF (the way I understand it) means Did Not Finish. Clearing that up because I had to ask someone myself lol.

I just DNF’ed a book for being too YA. I didn’t realize it was YA when I bought it but that doesn’t really matter. I read YA, the occasional Middle Grade and of course my normal reading diet of Romance and SF & Fantasy. So, if I have no problem reading YA, why on earth did I DNF one for being TOO YA?

Because I have a teenager.

Yes, my lovelies, the Princeling is 16 and 6’5 (at least). And after spending a day with teenager mood swings and general angst I just couldn’t.

Could. Not.

So I DNF’ed. Do I feel bad? Not really. I’ve always said life is too short for bad books. This book wasn’t bad– I just couldn’t take the teen angst. I know growing up is hard. I know he’s at a weird age where we’re treating him differently and he’s figuring it out.

But my books right now need to be an escape for me. This one was not, in fact, an escape.


(and by onward I mean to the unlikely romance series I started thanks to my public library. I bought the book I’m currently reading and have been sooooo looking forward to it! I’ll talk about it later in the week. Cheers!)

Happy Reading!

So I did the thing…

And it is out now! You can read my short story, Family Dinner, here

Or you can go this way

Isele Magazine was wonderful to work with. A huge thank you to the editors for polishing up my story so it shines!

I do hope you’ll go check them out. The stories for December center on food– and there is so much emotion that goes into it. I highly recommend Emma Raymond’s “Sustenance” (I felt the inappropriate laughter to my bones– it’s wonderful when a story shows you that you are not alone in how you cope). Meanwhile, James C Holland made me simultaneously want a squished Wonderbread sandwich and more of my mom’s friend bread (although my brother made some for Christmas breakfast and Chaz– you da bomb! It tasted like home!)

So. Lots of good reading! They have poetry & essays to.

Happy reading my lovelies!

Doing the thing

The thing where writers get….. Published. I wrote stories, have been learning how to edit my work (which is an act of love even if it feels like you’ve gone to war) and have started actually… Gasp…. Submitting stories.

It’s hard sometimes as a writer. To send out your work, into the ether. Trusting it to people unknown. Sometimes it feels like every rejection is personal. That they are rejecting us, the writer, as a person.

A few things have really helped me with that. One is Rie, and how she just takes a story and sends it back out if it gets rejected. She has done challenges where she submitted every single day for a year. It reminds me of the story in Poets magazine, where the writers colleague had buckets of rejections and 10 acceptances. Everyone was jealous on the 10 acceptances, but they didn’t have the buckets. Rie is a great writer (go find her– Rie Sheridan Rose or Rie Rose) and puts in the work. I haven’t been.

But I’ve started. 4 stories went out. Three were rejected. One found a home. I can’t wait to share that with you, as well as more of the writing journey. It’s past time for me to take control of that part of my life and find a way to share my stories.

And yes, I’ll share the details as soon as I get them .

Bookish Thoughts: The Blacksmith Queen

Sometimes a girl just needs to not DNF (do not finish) a book.

I’ve stayed away from my TBR (to be read) pile because I’ve been DNF’ing so many books. So. Many. Books. It’s much easier to DNF a library or Lobby book than one I’ve spent my pre-inflation salary on.

If I’ve read a book by G.A. Aiken before I don’t remember. I’m not sure why. Because The Blacksmith Queen was just what I needed. (Found on Libby)

Fantasy. Check.

Romance. Check.

Funny. Check.

So many things checked off my list. Magical beings; centaurs and elves and dwarves and demon wolves. A heroine you can get behind– she’s strong, knows her own mind and my goodness. There is family, politics, savage battle and a Dragon! Oh how I’ve missed dragons!

Now I either have to wait for my (estimated) 4 week wait time to get book 2 from Libby or… Wait till payday. May go back to Nook Books just because they’re cheaper but…. I really like physical books. Some books I really need the ability to flip through.

Not The Blacksmith Queen, tho. Nope. Ripped through it in less than 24 hours.

Bookish Thoughts: Priory of the Orange Tree

This is a monster of a book. But the thing is– it was only 800 and change in pages, so I’m not sure why exactly this book was soo thick. Printing options, I guess? I bought it online so, I had no clue until I received it.

And it intimidated me for a long time. Even when I started reading, it took a while to get going to where I was actively ripping through the story. 1 week to do 200 pages. The other 600 and change were completed the following week.

I would give this book… Hmmm… I don’t know. I read it. I enjoyed a lot of it, but for me I wish it had been tighter with more dragons and less of one of the male characters. If you read it you know.  You probably feel the same. But Tane did not have enough screen time.  For while her ending was beautiful, it made no sense to me. 

And I wish it did.