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Friday, August 28, 2020

Change of Plans, and a Sneak Peek

Over the past few months, I've been discussing releasing old projects that never found a home, plus the new situation of having the rights to a lot of my old books revert back to me when the publisher closed and having to decide what to do there. I thought I'd had a plan for at least what to do next, but as we all know, plans can change in an instant.

I was chatting with friends in an online group about a month ago, and some of them mentioned how fun it would be to have a book that was like those Choose Your Own Adventure books we all read as kids, but an adult romance. As luck would have it, I had exactly that sitting in my files. A number of years ago, I wrote the story for a particular website that dealt with CYOA romance, but then the site shut down, and I didn't think I'd be able to successfully shop it around anywhere else, so it's been sitting untouched...until now!

One friend did mention that she'd read an Austen-esque CYOA romance; when I did some poking around on Amazon, I found a couple more, but not a huge amount. I went back to my Word document to reread and decided I still liked the story and characters, so I abandoned my plan to re-release The Edge of the Sphere at the end of the summer and focused on cleaning this up instead. I think it's a fun concept, and who knows, if other people feel the same way, maybe I'll think about writing more of them.


This is just the sneak peak, so for now, I'll just mention that I have the book up for pre-order on Amazon, AND I'm also trying something new and I have a few ARCs available on Booksprout. If you find joy in reading books before anyone else can and writing reviews, go take a look!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Starting Something New (Spoiler Alert, It's a Newsletter)

All the cool kids have one, so I guess I should too? Something like that. A few posts ago, I mentioned how the rights for some of my earlier books have reverted back to me, and I plan on gradually re-releasing them. Combined with me also occasionally releasing shorter works that never found a good home, this all means that maybe, just maybe, I might have more than one new release a year. Either way, it's not a bad idea to have a quick way to announce news for people who don't check the blog and/or social media.

The form to sign up is over there in the right column, or you can use this link if you're on a mobile device or tablet. I promise I will not spam you. Hell, some months I barely remember to keep up with this blog, right? My current plan is to send an email whenever I have a new release or a big sale going on, and maybe a monthly roundup of blog posts or something like that.

I'll be keeping it simple and I'm sure I'll be working out the kinks along the way. If there are glaring issues or if you just want to say hi or whatever, the contact form in its own tab always works, as does emailing me at thea at thealanden dot com.

(See? Short and sweet. Just like any mass emails I'll send.)

Monday, August 3, 2020

Summer Reading Roundup

We're back at the Cape, and for once, I'm still reading up a storm. I organized my "read" list on Goodreads by "date read," and man, there are a lot of sparse areas over the past few years. (I blame my children.) Oh well, I guess we can call this making up for lost time! Here's what I've read so far this summer:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
I'm a big Agatha Christie fan. When pressed to choose just one favorite book, I always go with And Then There Were None. Somehow, though, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had escaped me over the years, so I set out to right this wrong. It was everything I hoped it would be, even though I prefer Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot, and I couldn't put it down.

Without spoiling anything, there is a huge! plot twist! at the end. I honestly can't remember if I'd heard about it before reading the book, or just knew there was a twist without knowing exactly what it was, or none of the above. Either way, I actually figured out who the murderer was before the end for what was probably the first time in my life*, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book at all. If you love mysteries, there's a reason this one is considered one of the classics, and I highly recommend it.

*I'm TERRIBLE when it comes to foreshadowing. Like, you really have to smack me across the face with heavy-handed hints to get me to pick up on it at all. That said, my one claim to fame in my family is that I figured out the twist in The Sixth Sense well before the end. But that's it. Never has that glorious moment repeated itself until now. Oh well, at least I'm happily surprised and entertained a lot.

Do Not Become Alarmed, by Maile Meloy
I actually took this one out of the library twice last year, wound up reading a different book instead, and didn't like what I'd chosen to read. My mother read this book last year and liked it a lot, so I was sort of kicking myself for those decisions. The e-book was still available through my library when I was looking for reading material, so I finally committed to reading it.

It was very good, but not really what I expected from the blurb. (Which is probably more of a failing on my part than any problems with said blurb.) I was expecting more of a mystery/thriller, and it was kind of more of a character study. Either way, I found it hard to put down, but the ending did peter out a bit. I'm still glad I (finally!) read it.

The Body in Question, by Jill Ciment
There are certain books where I think your age/life experiences at the first time you read them have a big impact on how you feel about them. (The Catcher in the Rye is probably the most famous example of that theory.) This book might fall into that category—overall, I did like it, but considering all the main characters are at least ten years older than I am, I'm wondering if I would have liked it more if I were closer to their ages. The book is split into two distinct parts, and while I think the structure worked, Part 2 kind of veered off in an unexpected direction. There are also some plot points that don't get wrapped up in a pretty little bow by the end, which I'm sure is intentional, but part of me still wanted to KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THERE, DAMMIT. Still, though, I liked it and breezed through it fairly quickly.

Educated, by Tara Westover
This is not light summer reading. As I said to my husband, I'm glad I read it, but I'm also kind of glad it was a library book that I didn't pay money for. Unlike the previous two entries on this list, this one actually picks up steam as it chugs along, but a lot of it is still pretty dense and heavy. I don't know if it's worthy of its incredibly high Goodreads rating (some reviewers do claim it's overhyped and unrealistic), but I liked it well enough. I just don't recommend bringing it to the beach.