Welcome Ladies & Gents, to the August Wrap Up!
August has been a busy month! For me, there’s been vacations and birthdays and a trip to the dentist (BLECH), and a solar eclipse! I am so so proud of myself because I have posted every day this month! I know a lot of people are heading back to school within a week, if they haven’t already. Can you believe summer’s almost over? SHEESH. I think that we all have had a crazy month, so let’s get down to it! EXCITING THINGS ARE AFOOT, MY PHOENIX FRIENDS. No, not that kind of foot! Silly people.
The August Haul
My August book haul was intense. This is for a couple reasons:
- I discovered #booksfortrade* on Twitter and it is MAGICAL.
- I decided to splurge my cash rewards on books because I earned it, gosh darn it.
- OwlCrate gave double books this month and it was a wondrous thing.
*Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of ARCs people want, so trading hasn’t REALLY been happening, but I HAVE bought books inexpensively and added to my library in that way, but I think it’s AWESOME that the community is out there and I’ve connected with some really lovely ladies. Without further ado, here are the lovelies now gracing my shelves! All covers link to the Goodreads page so you can check these beauties out for yourself.
I’m pretty pleased with all the reading I’ve managed this month DESPITE all the running around. I thought I’d get more hardcopy books read on vacation, but I don’t think I read anything at all while we were away. OH WELL. There were too many things to do and see. 🙂 All book covers will link to my review pages, as usual.
WHILE I DIDN’T DO MUCH READING ON VACATION… I did write. A little.
I have this thing with books. Once I get started, I can write forever. 2000 words/day is EASY for me. I have the ability to be prolific. But the first sentence kills me. It’s that sentence that gets everything going, the knowing where to begin. I thought of a sentence while I was in a meeting the day before vacation, and it was OKAY. Not good, but the best I’ve come up with in a month. I used it. I got about 700 words in, and I faltered. It doesn’t feel right to me.
Then, of course, I came across a post talking about all the worst first sentences in a manuscript and I was all like, “YUP. THOSE ARE ALL OF MINE EVER!” I’m kicking myself so hard because I was so busy being traumatized that I didn’t save the blog post ANYWHERE and I can’t share it with you. It was really good, and also really “you’ll never be a writer I’m sorry try again forever.” Soooo, back to the drawing board on that one? I guess I like starting with people waking up and mostly this article said “if you write about the scenery, I’ll think you don’t know how to be subtle about it and I don’t care about your characters so don’t write about them either.” … I’m lost!
What types of subjects do you lovelies use in a first sentence? I’m the type of person who can’t write a story out of order. It doesn’t work for me – I’m a linear thinker. So until I know how to begin – including that pesky, horrible first sentence – The Land of Dark and Broken Things will remain in limbo.
So, erm, you may have noticed some changes? I took the leap to self-hosting this weekend and I AM SO EXCITED! I’m working with Ashley at Book Host and she has been wonderful and I’m just tickled pink to have everything on my own shiny .COM
Type it in your browsers! Write it in the sky with planes! It works, it’s beautiful, and it’s mine, thanks to Ashley and all my lovely followers who gave me the confidence by visiting every day to make the jump.
Some things that may be changing
- Layout. I’m trying to keep the layout pretty similar to the WordPress.com hosted site, but now I have Scripts! Tools! Plugins! Excitement! Chocolate Pie! This means there’s some new stuff in the sidebar. I’d like to point enthusiastically at the QUOTES FROM BOOKS widget? Am I the only one who loves quote randomizers! Aaagh, so excited about that.
- Reviews. I’m going to be using the really cool Ultimate Book Blogger plugin to format my reviews. You’re going to find they’re much simplified, less image heavy, and consistent. THIS ALSO MEANS going back and editing the old ones, so bear with me as I do that. You can get an idea of how reviews will look going forward from my Tiger Lily review and my Anne of Green Gables review. Things that will change within reviews:
- Format. I won’t be splitting them up by Characters/World/Story/Writing/Personal. Instead you’ll get a nice, concise review. Won’t that be swell?
- Featured Content. The featured content in each review will vary – at the moment I’m leaning toward embedding book trailers and relevant media. What do you want to see?
- Reorganization. Things may be in a different order than you’re used to BUT everything ought to be easy to find.
- Indexing. THERE ARE OPTIONS NOW HUZZAH! Thanks to the UBB plugin, all the book reviews get automatically indexed. If you click the “Reviews” link in the header, you can see the various indexes. More books will be populated as I update old reviews.
- Images. While I play around with this new template, I may need to forgo some of my pretty images until I can create new ones. This may take an eternity as I just got a new computer and am Photoshopless at the moment. I WILL KEEP THINGS PRETTY THOUGH I PROMISE!
- Super slacking on reading blogs. GUYS I’M SORRY. I will probably get behind on your blogs because I have 300+ old posts to go back on and fix the SEO. If you have a post you’re SUPER proud of and you think I’ve missed it, comment it to me OR send it on Twitter!
Don’t worry! You’ll still get my GIF-filled silliness on all other blog posts, as usual. I CANNOT ABANDON THE GIFS I LOVE THEM SO.
I ALSO WANT TO TAKE THIS MOMENT TO SAY THANK YOU!
In August, The Literary Phoenix:
- Tripled views from the month before.
- Doubled followers!
- Had viewers from all around the world (my usual demographic is USA and Canada, with a smudge of UK/Australia).
- Posted every day for a month.
- Had a record number of Likes AND Comments.
And GOSH DARN IT ALL I couldn’t do it without beautiful people like you rallying behind me and my passion for books. I’m so lucky in the community I’ve found in this Book Blogger niche and it’s been wonderful fun talking to you all and discussing our passions. LETS DO IT AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER!
*passes out foam fingers and chocolate ice cream for everyone*
The crowds have spoken and these are the posts from the blog, Twitter, and Instagram that people loved in August!
Loads of people had opinions on this topic, and I think it’s really awesome we were all able to connect over the awkward moment when you walk into a Potential New Friend’s house only to discover there are no books! The consensus seemed to be that we’re a little awkward and judgy at first, NOT BECAUSE WE HATE YOU but because it’s harder to start a conversation.
— Amber Calkins (@Morteana) August 7, 2017
This one tweet had over 11,000 impressions. My Twitter, guys? It’s not usually exciting. BUT IT IS EXCITING WHEN PATRICK ROTHFUSS RTs YOU! Which is what happened here. It was a good thing I was working from home that day, because I SQUEALED and told my husband. We’re both big fans of The Kingkiller Chronicle. And, in all seriousness, check out that review. It’s marvelous.
I seriously love my rewards points. All these lovely books, and I only paid for shipping on the book trades. Life is good sometimes. #books #book #booktower #bookhaul #augusthaul #augustbooks #emeraldgreen #percyjackson #dieforme #thebostongirl #thegraveyardbook #rubyred #sapphireblue #casinoroyale #psiloveyou #sleepyhollow #theheartswesold #shiver #linger #forever #yellowbrickwar #thewickedwillrise #dorothymustdie #themartian #booklover #booklover #bibliophile #instabook #bookstagram
Apparently people like stacks of books? This Instagram image after I unpacked all my packages from book trades and Amazon purchases took the cake, even though it’s not particularly pretty or well laid out. Huzzah to the celebrating of people loving piles of books!
In the Writing World
- Patrick Rothfuss launched a crowdfunding campaign for an ULTRA GORGEOUS deck of The Name of the Wind playing cards. If you haven’t already seen the Kickstarter, you can check it out here.
- YA Twitter dethroned a book that spammed its way to the top of the NYT Bestseller list. The debunking of its validity is a fantastic read and further proof this community is awesome. I’m also really pleased the the NYT took the research of this community seriously, rescinded and corrected their list, and issued apologies. If you missed this event, check out EW’s coverage of it.
In the Blogosphere
- Vanessa @ Postcards for Ariel muses about the signs to look out for if you think you might be a book-a-holic.
- Liv @ Curly Hair Bibliophile shares the idea of Traveling Books and how to start your own.
- Ida @ Ida Auclond shares one of her methods of draft revision: self-critique and scene cards!
- Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog has put together a toolkit for writer’s self-care.
- Daley @ The Invisible Moth shares all the ups and downs of being an introvert author.
- Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink did a hilarious interview with Cait @ Paper Fury!
In Other News
August is always a quick month because my husband’s birthday is this month, plus several of our friends! We got out to dinner a lot, buy a lot of presents, and celebrate the lives of the people we love. We’re busy every weekend, and that’s great, because August is really icky and humid where we are and without something to do, it can get a little miserable.
This year, we skipped the BBQ/Birthday party for our friends’ daughters because:
- We’re the only childless adults there and it’s weird.
- Since the miscarriage, large groups of children are not my favorite.
- It usually falls on the weekend of my husband’s birthday.
- We went on vacation!
It actually worked out that we could have gone this year if we wanted, BUT… see 1 & 2. We did go away for a long weekend and with the exception of humidity and a headache, it was lovely!
We went up to the Lakes Region and stayed in a condo with an amazing lakeside view. The first day, we went to a place with the “largest arcade in the world” and I managed to get a high score on the rad old school Asteroids Deluxe machine. Then the day after, we went to the drive in and saw The Hitman’s Bodyguard but had to leave before The Dark Tower (I think I’m destined not to see that film?). One morning, we spent hours watching reruns of That 70s Show which was also fun.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re not swimming or hiking, there’s not a whole lot to do but relax, and we had a rainy day as well, so RELAX WE DID! Other than that, we did a lot of not-fun adulting stuff this month that will pay off in the end and be perfectly wonderful.
- I got two fillings, blech.
- Matt got measured for his groomsman’s tux.
- I brought my bridesmaid’s dress for alterations.
- … Grocery shopping happened?
- Matt went to a Zomboy concert and I DID NOT because EDM is the worst (sorry!).
- Work, mostly.
OH YEAH AND THERE WAS A SOLAR ECLIPSE.
Which is a big deal, because it’s been about a century since one was visible in New England! … But I’m super lame and didn’t watch it or get cool pictures because I forgot about getting a solar filter for my camera and also for my eyes, which is super necessary.
What’s Coming Next?
Well tonight (as I type this, Saturday) I’m going to a throwback night at our local drive-in theatre to see Back to the Future and Jaws so I’m pretty pumped about that. I’M SUCH a big Back to the Future fan, it’s a little sad.
We have another long weekend this month thanks to Labor Day and Matt and my two-year anniversary. <3. After that I’m going to be fairly busy with work, since my co-team lead is going to Guatemala for two weeks! Finally, my little brother’s birthday is at the end of the month. September is fun! In regards to the blog, you can look forward to things like:
- Ranting about bits of blogs I find bothersome.
- OwlCrate unboxing!
- A make-your-own book box.
- A discussion on Albus Dumbledore.
- I’m thinking about doing a post abut LUMOS.
- …and more Reviews!
Plus other stuff I haven’t thought of yet. I’m not that organized, guys. There’s ALWAYS other stuff.