Do You #NaNoWriMo?



I tried the Official NaNoWriMo a few years ago, I truly did.  I gave it the genuine college try, and then I genuinely beat myself up when I fell short.  I wasn’t even mad that I fell short due to just…not writing enough…I was just mad that I hadn’t been able to give it 100% and therefore didn’t really stand a chance of hitting 50,000 words.  Life, work, health…the usual.

But I’m not a special snowflake, and many others at least achieve the goal they set for themselves, not in spite of life happening, but in addition to life happening!  So I thought about it a lot this year, and realized I was more angry about failing at a goal set than actually writing a novel in a month.

So I guess I’m doing the lazy woman’s NaNoWriMo…I’m not doing it officially, but I’m doing it quietly in my head, not taking up the official challenge.  Is anyone else doing this?  In thinking about it more, I believe my downfall in years past was realizing I wasn’t going to meet the Official Challenge, and pretty much gave up after that.  So for NaNoWriMo 2016, I’m just challenging myself to do something every single day, even if it’s just writing the back cover blurb.

I might not hit 50,000 words, but if I can meet my little goal, I’ll be happy (and much further along than I was last year).

Anyone else doing an Official or Unofficial NaNoWriMo?

Piece of Good News #1 – I’m Obsessed!


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Remember in my last post I mentioned I had a couple of pieces of good news I was waiting to share?  Well I’m super-psyched to share the first one with you…thanks to a dear friend, MontiLee Stormer, I’ve been given the chance to spread my writing wings (fingers?) a little wider and be a content provider for Film Obsession.  This means I get see new movies…before they’re officially released…and write reviews on them.

Let me repeat that…they want me to watch lots of movies…and write about them.


I don’t think I need to spell out my reaction or how loud I screamed or how fast I typed YES PLEASE THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  Movies and writing, two of my favorite things in the entire world!

Please head over and check out the site…I was actually already a fan well before this happened because it’s chock-full of honest reviews, news, giveaways(!!!), and all-around awesome good stuff.  And *deep breath* my first official review is live too, you can see what I thought about Nerve.

I won’t be cross-posting all my future movie reviews here, but if you follow TTB’s Twitter or my own personal Twitter, I’ll be Tweeting when one is posted.  When (I refuse to say if) a movie is made based on a book by one of us hard-working indie writers, that review will absolutely be posted here because DUH!

I’m thinking the second piece of good news will be posted here this weekend.  Talk to you soon!!!


P.S. – I’m having some fun with Snapchat too, feel free to add me as a friend, my username is strikesncharms!

Been Reading – The Quick and Dirty Version


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Don’t you hate it when bloggers start off by apologizing for not writing and end up writing more about that than about the real reason they finally cracked open ye olde blogging software again?  Me too!  I actually have two pieces of good news that I can’t wait to share with you, but I have to finish one, and there’s a reason I’m waiting a couple of days before I share the other one (hints: no, Sub Rosa the book isn’t complete and no I’m not pregnant or gave birth, so there).

I have been reading like a fiend, though…I’ve always been an incredibly fast reader and due to some health issues I’ve found myself on bedrest more often than I’d like recently.  Rather than write a review for each one, I’m going to take the lazy route and screenshot my most recent reads below, along with the star rating, then I’ll tell you what I’m currently reading.

So first, what I’ve recently finished:


Of these, I’d recommend Harry’s Rules for the most entertaining (although Down the Rabbit Hole was a close second, disqualified because I couldn’t determine if it was really an autobiography or some kind of freaky hallucinogenic dim rambling), and then Light of the Fireflies as my favorite overall, although it’s the kind of mindfreak that makes my husband ask “Why do you read this stuff??”

Currently I’m reading Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid and although I’m only 31% through, I’m really enjoying it so far.  Plus it’s currently FREE for Kindle, so dash over there and download that bad boy!

If you’d like to shoot me a friend request on Goodreads, please do!  I normally write a lot more reviews than I have been lately…plus a lot more writing in general is in my future.  That’s the biggest hint you’re going to get from me right now, but keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of days!



Kate’s Summer Reading List AND Kindle First September Pick


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It’s Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., the unofficial beginning of the end to summer.  *pout*  As promised, though, here’s the list of books that I read over the past few months per my Goodreads account:

  1. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn – rated 2 stars
  2. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn – rated 3 stars
  3. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes – rated 5 stars
  4. Sugar – Deirdre Riordan Hall – rated 3 stars
  5. Eyes on You – Kate White – rated 2 stars
  6. The Mist – Stephen King – rated 3 stars
  7. The Good Neighbor – A.J. Banner – rated 3 stars
  8. The Selection – Kiera Cass – rated 1 star

Reviews (if I wrote one) are on my Goodreads account…as always, feel free to shoot me a friend request!

And now for my Kindle First September pick…

hotsurHot Sur by Laura Restrepo!

Book blurb:

From revered Colombian writer Laura Restrepo comes the smart, thrilling story of a young woman trying to outrun a nightmare.  María Paz is a young Latin American woman who, like many others, has come to America chasing a dream. When she is accused of murdering her husband and sentenced to life behind bars, she must struggle to keep hope alive as she works to prove her innocence. But the dangers of prison are not her only obstacles: gaining freedom would mean facing an even greater horror lying in wait outside the prison gates, one that will stop at nothing to get her back. Can María Paz survive this double threat in a land where danger and desperation are always one step behind, and safety and happiness seem just out of reach?

I’ve been reading a lot of translated books lately…we just started a book club at work and our first pick is Death With Interruptions (I’ll definitely be cross-posting a review about that!)…a book that wasn’t originally written in English always seems to have an extra lyrical quality to me, and I hope Hot Sur is no exception!

What did you choose as your Kindle First pick this month?  And Happy Labor Day!


Kate’s Kindle First Pick for August


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I’m so in love with Amazon Prime’s Kindle First program, I actually have it penned into my planner to fire up my Kindle and pick out my free book (and sometimes two!), before it’s on sale to the general public!

So this month I picked…

Good NeighborThe Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner!
Author’s Twitter!  Facebook fan page!  Website!
Book blurb:

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

This sounds like the kind of book that will make me deliciously paranoid while completely unable to put it down!  Hopefully that means I’ll have finished it and (maybe) written a Goodreads review by my next post.

Summer for me is my lazy book-reading season…I’m still reading but not quite as voraciously, and I seem to find more excuses not to write a complete Goodreads review.  Bad Kate, I know, so in my next post I’ll share what I’ve read/am reading this summer!

Talk to you soon!

P.S. – Pistils is back up for sale over at B&!

Being An Author and Leaving Reviews


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Approximately a week ago, one of my favorite authors answered a reader’s question on Goodreads regarding why she’d deleted all of her many (spot-on and often hysterical but always honest) reviews.  She replied and confirmed that she would no longer be writing reviews as it has led to stalking, trolling, deliberate low ratings on her own books, and in truth, full-on harassment.

I’m going to pause here and say that NO, once again I won’t be providing links for this.  If you know who I’m talking about, you know, if you don’t I’m not going to provide a giant neon arrow pointing toward an author who has unfortunately been targeted to the point where it was impacting her professionally and personally.

This author also made the good point that has been brewing in the back of my mind as well…I don’t remember the last time I left a review for a book on Amazon since it became book-eBay.  About the only time you see a genuinely thoughtful review was when it was cross-posted from a blog and/or Goodreads.  And so years ago, many migrated to Goodreads, where the reviews were more honest (and funny, with sparklepony GIFs), a community where the authors were free to interact without fear of reprisal.

I don’t know and I can’t say if Amazon now basically OWNING Goodreads has changed that atmosphere, or if it was just a matter of time, but Goodreads is slowly turning into Amazon.  Bullying, selective moderation, and yes, retaliation has been creeping in for a while now.

It makes me sad that the author I mentioned before has decided to stop reviewing in light of it, but I can’t say I blame her.  To be honest, it’s crossed MY mind more than once.  I’m brutally honest in my reviews, but if a book is hideous, I don’t Tweet my review or blog it.  I’ll leave a review, yes, because THAT’S THE POINT, but I’m not going to use social media to get people to read my often-snarky reviews, because at that point it becomes about ME and MY FUNNY MEAN REVIEW GO READ NAOW.

At the same time, though, I’ve wondered if it paints a giant target on your own back as an author.  Right now TTB and Pistils are small potatoes compared to other indie authors, but it takes one pissed-off fangirl to start a riot.  I’ve read multiple books from one author who is notorious for targeting what she considers to be bad reviews/reviewers and basically throwing them onto her social media with a go get ’em! attitude.  Have I ever reviewed one of her books?  Nope nope nope, not with a ten foot pole.

If you’re an author, do you ever self-censor when it comes to reviews or worry about retaliation?  And as a reader, what do you think about authors who leave thoughtful but negative reviews…is it integrity or detrimental to a community?

And lastly, to the author I write about…you go girl.  Just keep writing cuz you love it and cashing the checks cuz it pays the bills.  Take that load off your shoulders, as authors I think we all understand.


March Kindle First Book Review!


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So I’ve finally decided that it is my solemn moral obligation to provide a Goodreads book review (to be cross-posted here) for one of my Kindle First books each month.  These are oftentimes new authors, diamonds in the rough (not always, but sometimes), and I figured they’re owed a review for flinging themselves out there to the voracious horde of Kindle First readers.

If you’re wondering about Kindle First, check out the details here first, but bottom line it’s a free book (and sometimes two!) each month, before it goes on sale to the general public.

If you’d prefer to read my review with spoiler tags firmly in place, clickity here, and feel free to friend me on Goodreads!  Activity around here has been sluggish over the winter for a variety of reasons, but as my wise oracle/amazing eyebrow wizard said this morning as he worked me over…2015 is going to be a good year.  We just know it.

Kate’s complete review WITH SPOILERS of Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella below the jump!!!  Did you read it too?  Let me know in the comments!!! Continue reading

FREEBIE for You!!!


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Ooooooeee it’s dusty in here!!!  I promise we didn’t intend to neglect the blog for so long, but my only excuse is this…I think of the last week or two of November as the beginning clickity-clack uphill climb of a roller coaster.  Thanksgiving is like the pause at the top of the hill, and then WHOOSH it’s all a crazy fast exhilarating rush to Christmas!  Parties, shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating…it eats up all your time in a glorious wonderful holiday glow!

Yes, I love Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday!  Can you tell??

As our holiday gift to you (although it’s more of an any-day gift), Britt and I are tickled pink to announce that we’ve busily co-signed and stocked up on BOOKPLATES!  Do you have a hard copy of Pistils that you’d love to have signed by both of us?  Just drop us an e-mail at with BOOKPLATE as the subject and pretty please include the following:
1) Mailing address (within the U.S. only for right now)
2) Who you’d like the bookplate personalized for (yourself or a giftee)
3) How you’d like it personalized, e.g. “To Mary from her book-obsessed niece, Jane”…or we can surprise you with something fun!

bookplateAnd where do you pay?  Well there’s the best part…YOU DON’T!!!!  As a genuine heartfelt THANK YOU from us to you, we’re truly pleased to offer these personalized and signed bookplates FOR FREE to carefully place inside your Pistils paperback.  See the bottom of the post for more details.* IMG_1311Additionally, HELLO and WELCOME to all our new followers (and a big squeeze to all our loyal ones, of course)!  Feel free to let us know in the comments how you came upon our humble online home!

And finally, are you buying a book-related holiday gift this season?  I am…a set of Little House on the Prairie books for one of my nieces who I’m convinced will fall in love with them just as much as I did years ago!  If you’re gifting someone with a book or books, let us know, we love to hear what others will be unwrapping in the coming weeks!

Talk to you soon!

*Free bookplate details: YES, THEY’RE FREE!  We promise, no cost or shipping fees!  We just ask that you please agree to the following…kindly limit the number of bookplates you request to the number that will actually be matched into books.  Orders of five or more may get a side-eye.  Well, except for Amanda (she knows who she is).  To keep costs realistic and bookplates FREE for all fans, they will be shipped in a standard business envelope via First Class Mail, and we can’t guarantee delivery dates (e.g. Christmas).  We’ll mail them out as they’re requested.

To protect your privacy, the mailing address you e-mail us will NOT be used for any other purposes, and your e-mail will be permanently deleted after your bookplate is mailed out.

If you have a special request (e.g. upgraded shipping or even the book hard-copy personalized by both Britt and Kate, gift-wrapped and mailed to the recipient), shoot us an e-mail with your request, and we’ll honestly reply with a price estimate.

No resale permitted (duh).

Any questions, just Tweet or e-mail us!!!