Monthly Recap: August 2020

August flew by in a flash, and I feel like I blinked and lost a whole month! That being said, I accomplish a lot, and I’m feeling really excited about next steps. Also, it’s finally fall which is my favorite time of year! If only Texas got the message that things are supposed to be cooling down…

What I Read

GRAND TOTAL: 3

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
I was hesitant to read this book since the main characters are children of the characters from one of my favorite series of all time (The Infernal Devices), but after a slightly slow start, I was hooked. The historical setting of 1900s London shined, the plot was unique and held my interest, and the characters easily ranked up there alongside their parents. Cordelia may be my new favorite Shadowhunter heroine with her spunky sass and bravery, and I fell in love with the rest of the crew. The main romance in this one was heart-achingly painful and sweet at the same time. Yes, the drama was a little over the top at times, but it was so much fun that I can’t complain. Definitely a must-read for fans of Clare and her world.

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert ★★★★★
Talia is a new favorite romance author of hers, and this sequel does not disappoint. In fact, I think I liked it even more than the first one! This adorkable rom-com about a viral video causing two friends to pretend to date is fun from the first moment to the last. I connected and related so easily to Dani Brown and her workaholic ways, and Zaf’s gruff teasing tugged at my heartstrings. I loved how the author somehow kept it light and electric while also working through some really important and heavy issues like anxiety, grief and learning how to find someone who loves you for who you really are – flaws and all.

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn ★★☆☆☆
I am super bummed because I really wanted to love this book, especially after really enjoying Hahn’s debut. But this one fell really flat for me. To be fair, I think a lot of it has to do with the audiobook. There were so many strange issues like pronouncing the name of the female protagonist two different ways, terrible British accents, and the two narrators using totally different voices/styles for the main male character. It was very off-putting which set this book up to have to work harder. I did like the concept and the characters. They were well-developed and the progression of their relationship was engaging. But beyond that, everything else felt very heavy-handed. I love a book about music, but the characters constantly sending each other songs back and forth (and then not being told what’s noteworthy about these songs) was really distracting and kept me from connecting emotionally. Each of the main character’s wounds felt very overdone, and there was never a true conflict. Not a bad read, but not my favorite.

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What I Wrote

After taking so much time, it wasn’t easy to jump right back into revisions, but I forced it to happen. And like usual, once I got started, I got on a good roll.

I ended up being able to knock out the big items of this revision – adding more scenes, developing the characters more, tightening the pacing, and straightening out the progression of the relationship – in one month which I am really proud of! All of that is thanks to the strong outline I put together at the end of July. I was also able to get some immediate feedback from my CPs that told me I was headed in the right direction – always a good sign and feeling that you aren’t totally ruining your book (and yes, this is a common concern). I ended the month of revisions with a nice, relaxing weekend with my mom coming to visit so that I could feel recharged and ready for the next round.

Coming Up

The one not-so-great consequence of August revisions is that now my book is a touch too long… Actually, it’s about 15,000 words too long which shows you how much I added and strengthened. That number causes a little bit of anxiety, but I am not too worried about because I still need to do a read-through for grammar, wordiness, flow and consistency. Considering I was able to cut 30K doing just that for a different project last year, I am confident I can get this book where it needs to be! And then its off to some amazing beta readers who are waiting in the wings!

Because of my extended timeline, I have decided not to submit to Pitch Wars. There’s a small chance I could get a wild hair and change my mind at the last minute, but that’s looking slim. I want to make sure this book is ready and right before I send it out into the world. But I will definitely be keeping you all updated on my progress and plan as I go!

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