How is it June already? 2022 has absolutely flown so far, and as we’re now halfway through the year I thought it was a good time to check in and do a little update on my reading and writing progress.
I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 36 books for 2022 – I’m an incredibly slow reader and I don’t have a lot of time to read between work, writing, being a mum and all of the other plates I’m spinning. But I’m really pleased with my progress so far, I’ve read fourteen books and am on track to hit my target.
I fell into a huge reading slump while I was editing The Solitary King at the end of last year. I couldn’t get into any fantasy books, I started several and just ended up putting them down and trying something else – nothing to do with the books themselves, and I’m looking forward to going back to them (I’m halfway through A Court of Silver Flames on audio and a few chapters into House of Sky and Breath on audio, so it’s definitely not because I chose badly!). I ended up grabbing a couple of crime/domestic thrillers from the library and they turned out to be exactly what I needed, so I’ve been predominantly reading thrillers all year. But I can feel the slump coming to an end, and I’m ready to jump back into my one true love, fantasy.
And I’m currently reading I Know What You’ve Done by Dorothy Koomson. Then it’s back to fantasy for some of my favourite authors’ new books, including Kingdom of Feathers by Alice Ivinya.
After editing and publishing TSK, I was so completely burnt out I couldn’t write a word for months. I’m only just coming out of my burn out and it feels so good to be inspired and motivated again.
I’m currently working on a new WIP, it’s the next email subscriber exclusive story, A Fair Vendetta, and you can find out more about it and the rest of my upcoming short stories for subs in this blog post. My plan is to publish all five shorts on Amazon as ebooks, and give them away free to my email list, and once they’re all published I’ll compile them into a collection called Fair Tales which will be available in ebook and paperback.
I’m also really excited to be cowriting a short story for an anthology with the absolutely incredible Shana Vernon! We’re working on a villain romance/redemption story for Jafar from Aladdin, which we’ve titled Three Dark Wishes. It features a gender-swapped Aladdin and Jasmine, and a romantic arc for Jafar and our female Aladdin (all names will of course be changed, we’re not planning on getting sued by Disney!).
And I’ll also be getting back to The Fair War, book three in the Fair Chronicles, as soon as I can, but at the moment the muse is really pulling me towards these two stories, and who am I to argue!
Back in January, I published the second book in my The Fair Chronicles series, The Solitary King. It’s doing really well, and was a fantastic launch, more than quadrupling what I achieved with The Fair Queen. Reviews are coming in steadily and they’re really positive. I’m actually planning to have a few free days to celebrate the release of an upcoming anthology, so keep your eyes peeled if you’d like a copy of TSK for FREE!
Then in April, Once Upon a Name was published, a short story anthology that I put together with some of my Enchanted Anthologies friends and coauthors, and a whole host of new teammates! Working with such a big team (twenty of us) was an incredible experience and I learned so much from every one of my coauthors, about writing, publishing, marketing and more. My story, Baroness of Blood and Bone, is an urban fantasy centred around a female alpha of a pack of wolf shifters and her quest for vengeance under the Blood Moon. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before and I actually loved it, so don’t be surprised if somewhere down the line I do write a full length urban fantasy series!
And today marks exactly one month to the day Enchanted Forests comes out! We enjoyed working together on Enchanted Waters so much that we decided to do it again (and again, but more on that soon!). As you can tell from the title, these stories focus on forests and woodlands, featuring all manner of magical and mythical creatures including unicorns, elves, and a talking racoon. My story, One Fair Eve, is a spin on the goblin market with a young man in Victorian England searching for a way to get into the prestigious musical conservatory he dreams of, and finding more than he bargained for.
And that’s it for the first half of 2022 so far! Seeing it all written down like that, I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved this year, alongside all of my other commitments and responsibilities, and being thrown some serious curveballs.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, and whilst thinking about what to write for this week’s blog post I stumbled across a post I wrote back in 2017 for Father’s Day sharing ten books my dad and stepdad would love. So, I thought it would be a nice idea to complete the circle and share ten books my mum would love this Mothering Sunday!
My mum loves a good thriller, but she’s also a romcom fan, and she always passes any good books she reads on to me. So let’s see what new and upcoming releases my mum might be getting for Mother’s Day!
Verity by Colleen Hoover
My mum is definitely not on TikTok, and I don’t think she’s read any Colleen Hoover books, but as they’re so popular right now, I think they’d be right up her street. We both loved Gone Girl, and this one is supposed to be like Gone Girl meets Rebecca, with a shocking twist you won’t see coming – me and mum’s favourite kind!
Run, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
Mum and I absolutely adored Nashville when it was on TV, and we actually went to see the cast perform on stage, too. Plus, who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? She’s an icon. We watched Steel Magnolias whenever it was on when I was a kid. Combine that with one of the greatest thriller writers of our time? Match made in heaven.
I’ll probably advise one of my darling brothers to get Mum this for Mother’s Day, there’s a gorgeous special edition in Waterstones with sprayed/stencilled edges and pretty end papers that I’m eyeing up. I don’t mind letting the boys get the credit for choosing this one, as long as I get to borrow it after!
Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
This is the seventh book in Keyes’ Walsh Family series, but as most of the books follow different main characters, this is the first sequel, returning to our original protagonist from Rachel’s Holiday, twenty-five years after it was first published.
Marian Keyes is one of those authors everyone has read at least one book by, and I know Mum has Grown Ups on her shelf right now, although I don’t think she’s read it yet. But at least I know another Marian Keyes book would be a safe bet!
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
I started taking my little boy to the mobile library in our village just before Christmas, and I rediscovered my love of domestic thrillers amongst the shelves. I’m usually drowning in fantasy novels, whether it’s my own writing or my friends’ and other authors within my main genre, so it was really refreshing to delve into a few completely gripping, quick reads as a bit of a pallet cleanser. As my mum is also a fan, I chucked The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley at her after I’d finished it, and she enjoyed it just as much as me.
Foley’s most recent book sounds just as tense and thrilling, and it’s set in exciting Paris, so I reckon this is a good choice for a Mother’s Day gift that I’ll benefit from too!
The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
The Family Upstairs was another library book we both loved, and while the sequel may not actually come out until July, I know it’s one Mum will be really excited to read. This one may have to wait until her birthday!
Because of You by Dawn French
I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory. Dawn French. Enough said.
I’m a huge Dawn French fan, I rewatch the entirety of Vicar of Dibley at least once a year, usually in the run up to Christmas. I didn’t even know she wrote fiction until a couple of years ago when I saw my mother-in-law reading one of her books. I’m yet to try them, but I just know they will be hilariously heartfelt, like everything Dawn does, so when I need a good book to make me laugh and cry with every page, she’s the author I’ll be turning to.
As this book is about motherhood and all of the heartbreak and anguish that comes along with it, it would be a perfect choice for Mother’s Day.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This book was absolutely everywhere last year, and I was a bit put off by the amount of hype – I hate being disappointed, and I’m not usually a fan of mainstream literary fiction. But the blurb, and the fact that with over 1m reviews on Goodreads this book has 4.5 stars, have me convinced.
It’s both a murder mystery and a coming of age story, two of my favourite things, and despite the fact that YA is my cup of tea but not so much my mum’s, I can tell from the description and reviews that this isn’t aimed at young adult readers and has universal appeal. (I mean, over a million Goodreads readers think it deserves 4+ stars? That’s almost unheard of!)
Us Three by Ruth Jones
If you weren’t aware, Ruth Jones is the absolutely hilarious actress and writer from such televisual delights as Gavin and Stacey and Stella. She’s funny, warm and down to earth, and if her novels are anything like her screenplays then they’ll be a definite hit with my mum.
This one follows three childhood friends as they grow up and face all of the harsh realities of life, and events that put their lifelong friendship into question. I’m intrigued already!
Neighbors by Danielle Steel
I remember Mum reading loads of Danielle Steel when I was growing up, and sneaking the odd one to my room to read, hoping she wouldn’t notice! Neighbors came out in 2021, so I can be fairly sure she hasn’t already read it, but I think she’d love to revisit one of her first favourite authors.
The book sounds like a twisty, glamorous thriller, set in San Francisco during an earthquake, as a movie starlet now living as a recluse lets her neighbors take refuge in her beautiful mansion. It sounds right up mum’s and my street!
And of course, Mum loves me, so she’d definitely love a copy of one of my books! She already has copies of all my current releases, but I’ll be treating her to my upcoming anthologies, Once Upon a Name and Enchanted Forests when they come out in April and July. Plus, they’re both raising funds for charity, so it’s a double good deed!
So there you have it! Ten books that would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for mums who love romcoms, thrillers, or fantasy books by me!
What are you getting the amazing mother figure in your life this Mothering Sunday?