As I said on the project’s moodboard post, this WIP started as a High Fantasy short story that got out of hand. The story of my life, I guess. At least, this time I still think I might manage to make it a novella.
The geography in this project is a bit weird, but there’s a reason for that. The magic is very strong and it shapes the world. Some people are really affected by it, too. Plus there are not many travellers, so the fact that these two could find each other is nothing short of a miracle.
Anyway, these are the lonely and touch-starved main characters of this weird story. In it, you’ll find magic, animals and very few characters, so I hope you like these two.
This compelling artwork was done by funkle420, whose style is very interesting and colorful. They have amazing portraits of humans and other animals, so please do check their art and commission information on the following sites:
Last month’s update wasn’t very cheerful, but that’s no surprise given how things have been going lately (lately here means “since 2020”, I guess).
I’ve been more active here, even if my posts are still a bit late. If you’ve seen my latest Word Count post, you might have noticed that my monthly word count has been plummeting ever since September 2021. And this year, January and February have been especially dreadful.
Well, let me tell you now: March was even worse. I guess if you count updating my blog and my two unfinished short stories, my numbers are not that bad, but I really want to focus a bit. Wish I could.
In fact, I even had to stop writing the newest short story because I had planned to make it fun, add some dark humour but make it a light sweet story, and I couldn’t keep it up. I was either lowering the tension because I couldn’t deal with it, or making all the lighter scenes depressing. I had to stop because I realized I wasn’t in the best mindset to approach that story, and I wanted to go back to its original idea. I hope I can revisit it once the war and/or the pandemic are over
At least I did the minimum I intended to do: I wrote four letters, several e-mails, and finished my latest notebook. I’ve already chosen the next one. I also created a Smashwords account and organised a giveaway on Twitter, discovered a couple of my favourite reads had been translated into Spanish, made some reference files, rested a bit, and started reading again.
Spring has been quite a relief, to be honest. A week afterwards, I started reading again, which is always a good sign. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I hope the longer days keep working their daylight charm on me so I can go back to writing my projects, especially the funny ones.
However, I don’t think that will happen any time soon, so my objectives during the month of April will be to write a bit during the spring holidays and to keep my blog updated. Oh, I also want to organise another giveaway for the World Book Day. I’m looking forward to it!
I haven’t posted another word count update since October because there were no changes during these months, but it’s now a new year, and knowing about the bad months is useful too.
So here you go, the last two updates together!
As you can see, the difference is not very noticeable. I thought I would be able to write more during the winter holidays, but I’ve been very busy, then sick, then busy again.
I need to be careful these days and not get burnt out again, so I’ve been writing a bit when I’m still able to. I guess I should take it as a win.
Another win would be one more project going over 40000 words. Now there’s only one project left under the 40000 line!
By the way, you can see more about my projects here.
In this second graph, you can see how many words got added to each project along the way. Please take into account that the first light stripe on the left covers everything I wrote from 2014 until November 2020.
Also, it would be unfair (to me) to ignore the fact that I started writing two short stories during these months. I wanted to participate in a couple of charity anthologies, but I couldn’t make it before the deadline. Still, I did get to write around 15000 words for one of them, and 10000 for the other one, so I might continue them in the future. Especially if they turn out to be suitable for another anthology.
As you know, I’m trying to make regular Word Count updates like this one so I can check which months are better or worse. You’ve seen the evolution is not going that well, but I hope I can turn things around this year.
My last monthly update was a bit late, so this one is too. February was a very difficult month for me, so I couldn’t fulfil all my goals. Again. I will keep trying, but we all know that the possibilities of March being a good month are rather low.
In any case, February started pretty well. I managed to rest, back my projects up, write a bit, update my blog, start a new short story for a charity anthology… and then life happened. And it hasn’t stopped happening, as you know.
I’ve tried to finish the short story anyway, even though it wasn’t on time, because I thought I could use it for another anthology or as a freebie. But then I realized that what had started as an amusing story was becoming more and more depressing. I did like the original idea, so I’ve decided to wait until things get better and I can reconcile with my own sense of humour.
And regarding my goals… Well, I did update my blog, even if I still have a few pending posts —the word count wasn’t that interesting, so I might wait until I have more info to share. But I haven’t finished the notebook I was in the middle of… I only have a quarter of the notebook left, so my goals for the month will be to finish the notebook and write some letters and e-mails I should have sent a while ago. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anything done during March, but I’ll do my best.
It’s been longer than a year since I last posted about my notebooks, and a few months since I finished this one, but at long last I had time to write about it.
I bought this notebook way back in 2016, when I visited London with a friend before Brexit would make it more difficult. I didn’t start it until Autumn 2020 because, as I’ve mentioned before, I used to be inclined to use smaller notebooks when I was away from home. Since the pandemic made me stay indoors, I decided to make the most of it and use the bigger notebooks instead.
I really enjoyed using this notebook by Paperchase. The pages have several illustrations as beautiful as the cover, so I was even more motivated to keep writing in order to see all the beautiful animals. And the plastic sleeve kept the notebook safe and clean while making it much lighter than a hardback.
In this notebook, I tried to focus on a few projects instead of sprinkling words all over the place, so I mainly filled it with notes for Academy, Sanctuary, Brothers, Oracle and research. In fact, a quarter of the notebook was just filled with notes I’d taken at an online conference for and by Spanish writers, which I count as research because they talked about structure, dialogue, fear, routines, revisions, action, characters, diversity, representation, psychology, historical fiction, sword-fighting, query letters, irreverent romance, smut, and magical realism. Yes, there were over 15 speakers and it lasted 10 hours, but it was amazing, I laughed and learnt a lot, and I would do it again.
If anyone is interested, the videos can be found in Spanish on YouTube, so just let me know which one you want and I’ll send you the link.
I hope you liked my last art post, because I wanted to share a new one to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This time, I’m sharing an illustration of the two main characters from the Academy project:
As I said on the project’s moodboard post, this WIP started as the High Fantasy version of the Alcalá project. Of course, the stories are VERY different by now. The main thing they have in common is that the characters are university students, but in this case it’s a university of magic.
I thought this project would be easier to write because it wouldn’t require the great amount of research Alcalá needs, but then I decided to create a very complicated magic system, so it’s going to take a while. As you can see, I continue to be my worst enemy.
Anyway, these are the main characters of this enemies-to-lovers set in a fantasy world with a university, magic, flowers and knitting. I love the they-were-roommates trope, so I wanted to add a pinch of it to this project as well. I’m hoping it will increase the tension and pining.
This beautiful artwork was done by RedheadTrickster, whose Art Nouveau style fits perfectly with this project. Please do check her art and commission information on the following site:
You might have noticed I haven’t posted any updates in a while. In fact, my last monthly update was back in November. These past months haven’t been very eventful writing-wise because I’ve been sick and/or terribly busy, but at least I enjoyed the holidays and my health has improved a bit.
I suspected that my goals were too ambitious, and they were indeed. But I had written a lot during the winter holidays the previous year, so I was trying to be optimistic. But now I realize I actually had three goals instead of two: to finish transcribing a notebook, to finish writing another one, and to post my book recs. I managed to do two out of three in as many months, and it took a lot of effort, so I guess I should be happy.
I AM glad I finished transcribing the notebook. It took ages! I mean, I started last year, so there’s that. And I’m proud of my list of favourite books I read in 2021. But that’s not all I’ve done during these two months! I’ve created a personal Discord server to keep track of my WIPs, research and writing progress. Someone recommended that on Twitter, and I decided to give it a try. Although I already use Scrivener, OneNote and my notebooks, I’ve found it very useful. It’s very easy to add links, images and threads, then scroll through them and add reactions, so you might appreciate it if you’re a visual person.
I also organized a couple of giveaways on my Spanish account, worked on a short story for an anthology but didn’t make it before the deadline, got a new illustration for a project, read a couple of books, received new ones from the Reyes Magos…
So I’ve managed to get some stuff done, but I still need to finish the new notebook, which was another of my goals back in November. I’ve just reached the middle, so maybe it could become one of my two goals for this month. The other one will be to update my blog more. At least, I would like to post about the illustration soon and about my word count before the next update.
We’ll see how things turn out next month, I guess!
I haven’t had time to share last year’s recommendations until now, so I’m sorry if I made you wait. To sum up, last year was even worse than the previous one for me, so I haven’t read as much, but I was more careful about the books I chose. This was my seventh year reading Romance with LGBTQ+ characters, so I hope you like my recs.
And here you have 2021, or year seven, in no particular order:
If It Ain’t Love: Another book by Tamara Allen, whose “Downtime” I recommended some years ago, when I published my third list. This short story is also historical and very sweet. The main characters belong to different classes that have become even more distant during the Great Depression. But this is a story with a very hopeful ending that will make your heart feel warm and cozy, so there’s no need to be intimidated by the setting.
Seducing the Sorcerer: You know I helped beta-read this Fantasy Romance, but I couldn’t not add it to this list. I’ve read it at least twice and it was a wonderful experience every time. It even made me enjoy reading again after one of those horrible months in which I couldn’t, so I wanted to share that feeling with you all. This book has magic, political intrigue, some light BDSM, older protagonists and many horses.
The Cabots: I was surprised when I learned Cat Sebastian was going to release a couple of books set in the USA during 1959 and 1960 (and one of them a road trip, even), but I’d never doubt this author. I knew I would love them, and I wasn’t wrong. The Cabots are a political family, but these books focus on the black-sheep members of the family. Both stories are super sweet and will make you believe in mankind once more.
Honeytrap: A Historical Romance that starts with a soviet agent and an FBI agent falling in love during the Cold War? Sign me up! This love story that spanned several years had a lot of angst, a VERY slow burn, and too many goodbyes, but it was also so delightful it’s already on my To-Be-Reread list. You’ll find realistic portrayals of very charming characters, amazingly detailed writing and some historically accurate content warnings in this novel.
Play It Again: The first Contemporary Romance in this list, so you know it has to be good! I really enjoyed this sweet, low-tension, fluffy romance. I love reading novels with gamers, youtubers or ace characters, and this one had everything. Some light reading about a blind youtuber who talks about accessibility, his hilarious sister, and an adorable gamer with anxiety was exactly what I needed during this terrible year.
The Will Darling Adventures: If you’ve ever read my blog, you knew this was coming. KJ Charles is an evergreen in all my lists, both because I love all her books and because she publishes so many per year. This wonderful series is set in the 1920s, right after the war and the pandemic. The main characters are a mysterious aristocrat with too many secrets and a bookseller with PTSD that always keeps his emotional support knife at hand.
Boyfriend Material: This Contemporary Romance will soon have a sequel, and I’m looking forward to it. You know I really like Alexis Hall, so I was curious to see what a Fake-Dating romcom by him would look like, and it didn’t disappoint. The characters are fun, charming and have family issues. Some content warnings may apply.
The Pride: Another author I always recommend. This new series is related to the Hexworld books I mentioned some years ago. Both series belong to the same universe, but while Hexworld was set in an alternate 1890s New York and focused on the Metropolitan Witch Police, The Pride takes place in 1920s Chicago and focuses on the underworld gangs controlled by familiars. I was looking forward to learning more about the familiars that are deemed dangerous, and this answered many questions.
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting: I’m not really complaining about KJ Charles publishing so many amazing books, but I worry that one year she might take over the whole list. I’d have to make two lists then, because I’m unable to choose between her books. This Regency Romance is hilarious, and the characters are SO relatable. Who hasn’t tried to protect a niece from a fortune hunter only to end up falling for him instead? No one? Well, you can still read about it in this enjoyable novel.
Game Changers: It’s been a while since I last read an Ice Hockey Romance series, and I really liked this one. So far, each book features a different couple, and the series keeps getting better and better. Since each couple has a different dynamic, everyone will be able to find their favourite tropes sooner or later. But please, do read the books in order. The characters know each other, so you will spoil the previous books if you don’t start with the first one.
Hamilton’s Battalion: I think this might be the first anthology I’ve recommended among my favourite books because it’s almost impossible to love every story in an anthology, but Hamilton’s Battalion manages to do just that. It might help that it only has three short stories, but why would you need more when this book is just perfect as it is? Three Historical Romances with diverse characters that help Eliza Hamilton collect the stories of her late husband’s soldiers. If you liked the musical, you should read this one.
Proper Scoundrels: In my previous list, I recommended the Magic in Manhattan series, and I’ve been looking forward to the release of this spin-off since then. I managed to read it just before the end of 2021, and I realized I had to add it to this list, even if it would take me a bit longer to post it. In this Paranormal Romance, you’ll reencounter two survivors who will find each other. They seem to be too different to be able to find common ground, but they’ve survived family expectations, traumatic experiences and the Great War. Are they so different after all?
I hope you liked the list. Last year, I didn’t try to sail into uncharted territory because my brain wasn’t up for it. In fact, there were several months in which I wasn’t able to read at all, but I did manage to enjoy new books by my favourite authors and other series that some friends recommended. Fortunately, I’m now able to read books I know I will like, so friends and reviewers I trust are invaluable. I seldom start a new book without their approval these days, so I’d like to thank them all.
Just a reminder that these are 12 books or series I’ve read and enjoyed during this last year, but they might have been released before 2021.
As always, let me know if you need any particular CWs, or if you want more personal recommendations.