February 23, 2023

Monthly Author Check-In

Monthly Author Check-In: February 2023

What I’m Writing: Beacons 5 and 6
What I’m Reading: If, Then by Kate Hope Day (a re-read)
What I’m Loving: Steampunk music! Especially Alice Strange/Alice’s Night Circus, The Dolls of New Albion, Vagabond Opera

WIP Excerpt

It was not immodest to say that he was one of the handsomest men in the room. People had remarked on Daridon’s fine looks since he was a boy, and he’d never had difficultly finding dance partners. Besides, he had eyes; there were many fine men and women in attendance that evening, but only a small subset could rival his high cheekbones, the smooth and near-glowing quality of his skin, the mahogany sheen of his wavy, swept-back hair. Daridon never left the house looking anything less than resplendent, but he’d put extra care into his appearance that evening, and within an hour of arrival it was already paying off: he’d waltzed with several truly becoming young ladies, made subtle but significant eye contact with several truly devilish young men, and if he played his cards right, he’d be taking at least one member of either of the above categories to his bed before the evening was over—Daridon had never particularly fussed about which it was.

February has been kind of all over the place.

I spent all of January and the beginning of February in a reading slump. No shade on the books I was in the middle of, this was definitely a classic case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” On top of that, I had to do a lot of emotionally draining tasks over the past few weeks, and by mid-month I was just so done. I crashed the day after Valentine’s Day, totally wiped, and said to myself, Jenn, you know what you need? A trip to the library.

So I hopped in the car and went, and I picked up five books I had never heard of before.

Now, as a book lover, I obviously adore talking endlessly about books. But the downside of social media and the modern, interconnected world is that it’s become almost impossibly rare to pick up a book and have absolutely no idea what anyone else thinks about it. Even in a library or a physical bookstore, it’s become most people’s habit to immediately hop on their phone to check the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads when something catches their eye.

And it’s not like there’s no value in that—as an author, I understand exactly how important reviews are, and by the way if you’ve read one of my books please go leave a review! But there’s also value in coming to a book with absolutely no preconceptions, not even a star rating to guide you.

Not to sound like an old person, but this is obviously how things used to be, more often than not, and honestly I loved returning to that experience this past week. There was something so quiet, in strolling along and picking up whatever caught my eye, in skimming the description, in thinking, Yes, this is a book for me, in taking it home and diving in and having no idea what to expect.

Your mileage may obviously vary. I’ve always had a strong sense of what I like and what I don’t, and I also grew up in a time when we didn’t have the internet, so for me it’s nostalgic and peaceful. I’ll definitely be doing this more, especially when I’m feeling slumpy, or just need a fresh boost of something new and unexpected.