I was talking last night with a good friend in a steamy coffee shop. As we looked out the windows overlooking the nearby park, we admired the trees dotted with tiny white lights. The bare branches swayed in the cold wind and blew little, snowy tornadoes around pedestrians feet.
We'd been talking about the press of the holiday season, the acrid scent of espresso mixing with wet boots and newspaper in the cozy space.
“I wasn’t going to start it until January,” my friend A., admitted, referring to a new novel she’d recently purchased. “But I started reading and it was so good I had to keep going.”
Maybe you are a little like me and A. You want to feel holly and jolly every second of the holiday season, but instead you feel tired and frazzled by all there is to do/buy/see/wrap/bake/plan/store...and are secretly looking forward to the dead-boring days of January.
I love Christmas. But it’s completely possible to love something in theory and feel overwhelmed by it in reality.
Something that really helps me, especially during this hectic time of the year, is continuing my “fiction fixes”. These are short segments of time where you can just sit down and lose yourself in a good book. Five minutes? 10 or more? It really doesn’t matter. Just being able to let go of all the other stuff and dive into a story is refreshing.
Like meditation, fiction fixes help you to calm an overly-busy mind. It’s amazing how quickly your outlook can change with just a few minutes between the pages of a good book. This study by PubMed points to real health benefits.
I enjoy my fiction fix most days of the week after lunch. I curl up in the corner of the couch, sometimes with a hot beverage and delve into my current novel.
Want to try a fiction fix yourself but aren’t sure what to read? Check out all of my Reading Recommendation vlogs over on YouTube. I’m looking forward to reading these books (below) in the next couple of months. Maybe one will pique your interest:
If you watched my recent vlog, November Reading Recommendations, you know that I fell in love with the book, Ruler of the Night, by David Morrell. While I inadvertently purchased this, the third in the Thomas and Emily De Quincey series, I'm now going to backtrack and read books 1 and 2. Murder as a Fine Art is the first in this Victorian-thriller series.
I recently learned the (very exciting!) news that Jennifer McMahon has a new book coming out this spring. Which got me thinking--I still haven't gotten around to her newest book, Burn Town. I loved the first of her books I read, The Winter People, and have gone on to read several others which were all page turners. Definitely adding Burn Town to my #TBR list.
Listening to a good outdoor adventure podcast today, S'more Outdoors--sadly, now on hiatus but lots of good listening in the archives--I heard an interview of Kate Dyer-Seeley. Kate writes a lot of cozy mysteries. While I'm not a huge fan of cozies, I am intrigued by her Pacific Northwest Mystery series. In it, a bumbling 20-something poses as an adventurer in order to score a lucrative gig with an outdoor magazine...when things head south.
I love reading about protagonists who are writers and adore books set in nature. Definitely want to grab a copy of the first in series, Scene of the Climb, soon.
Every so often, I need a good palate cleanser. You know how you feel after eating too much chocolate (it happens--rarely, but it does happen) and want pretzels or something else salty to get rid of the too-sweet taste in your mouth?
Sometimes I get this way with books. While I adore mystery/suspense novels, once in awhile I need a little break. When it's time to veer outside that genre next, I'm going to reach for Michele Deppe's, These Blue Remembered Hills. I've read and enjoyed all of her other novels. Think Rosamund Pilcher combined with a little Agatha Christie and some Sophia Kinsella to round things out.
How about you?
One of the reasons I love this blog is that it puts me in touch with other readers. So tell me: what's on your to-be-read list? Or which of the New York Times bestsellers (or better yet, never-heard-of authors) are you most looking forward to reading this holiday season?
Happy early Thanksgiving to all my USA readers. This is one of my favorite holidays because it's so, well, un-holiday'ish. The lack of commercialism makes it more special (though Black Friday sits like a gloomy cloud on the horizon). Wherever you are, I hope you'll take a moment today to express your gratitude in some small way.
I'm thankful for BOOKS, especially great books like the one I talk about in today's vlog. What do you think?
Somewhere out there must be a writer who loves editing.
That person is not me.
Out of the entire book writing/outreach/administrative/publishing parts of writing, editing has to be my least favorite. I've tried everything I can think of to make the process smoother--even writing from an outline (I hate outlines and much prefer to follow the story as it unfolds), but nothing seems to make it easier.
As you can see from the photo above, I've now resorted to sparkly gel pens and highlighters along with tea and pumpkin-scented candles to keep me going. Whatever works, right? ;)
As I work on the edit of the next novel I'm struck by something: there is a "next novel." I am so blessed. Despite the angst I feel about editing, despite the fact that I'm not some huge, best-selling novelist, I get to write books. What fun! And some people buy them. Amazing!
Counting My Blessings
It's easy to get caught up in the why-can't-I-be-as-popular-as-that-author type thoughts, especially when you work alone day after day. I'm making it more of a point though, to count my blessings when it comes to work (and life in general).
What a thrill to be able to write for a living!
I've dreamed of this for years and years: when I worked as a receptionist; when I toiled as a vet tech; when I helped women in the clothes store pick out that "just right" dress; when I was employed for several years in human services where I worked as everything from a DUI program assistant to a case manager.
When you have a creative dream, do all you can to make it reality. Even if you work on it in tiny chunks (like say, writing a book in 15-minutes a day), keep going. Even when people make snide remarks about "getting a real job," keep going. Even when you're stuck in the 9-5 treadmill life, do whatever you can to move just a little closer toward your dream.
And hey, if you find yourself in need of a pep talk, drop me a line: jpcwrites (at) gmail (dot) com. I love talking with other creatives and may have a tip or two that will help you.
What's more exciting than receiving a free book? Giving six away!
This week, you can grab a copy of any of my books for FREE. That's right, dear readers, from Saturday, 10/13/18 through Thursday, 10/18/18, a copy of each one of my digital books will be available for free download on Amazon.
Q: "Which book will be available when?"
A: That's part of the fun.... You'll have to keep an eye on my author page on Amazon or on my Facebook or Twitter feed to find out!
Q: "Will your newest book be part of the giveaway, or is this just for older titles?"
A: Nope, all the books will be available for a single day, free of charge. Even Let the Dead Rest, my newest suspense novel, will be part of the giveaway.
Q: "So, how does it work exactly?"
A: On Saturday, 10/13, the first of my six novels will be available on Amazon for a free download. On Sunday, a new book will be featured for you to grab for free. And that will last six days, giving you the option of collecting my entire library of books for free. :)
Of course, if you don't want to wait, you can nab one right now. Or perhaps try the new Green Mountain Trilogy, a collection of three of my most popular supernatural suspense titles?
Why do you read? That's a question I posed over on my author's Facebook page recently. Stop by and weigh in!
For me, reading has often been a form of escape. I discuss why and when I needed this escape most in this recent vlog post:
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?