Hello, dear readers,
I’m currently mourning the death of summer. If you’re wondering, I’m still in the denial phase.
How on earth can August be over already? We’re heading into cooler temperatures, auburn leaves, and drawing nearer to the dreaded w*nter. As lovely as autumn is, I will miss the sunshine and cicadas.
I had a wonderful (and busy) August full of exciting writing achievements, unexpected reads, fantastic podcasts, and encouraging Bible verses.
What I Wrote
August was a busy month in terms of writing. To begin with…
I FINISHED DRAFTING FOR ELISE!
For Elise is my YA historical fantasy novel that centers around the childhood of Ludwig van Beethoven and a modern day pianist. It holds so much of my heart and helped me uncover a lot of what I like to write. I’m letting it sit a while before revising it, and I will definitely miss working on it.
Because of that, I’m now planning out a new historical fantasy novella. Apparently, I still haven’t learned to function without a writing project in the works. The going has been slow, but it’s been a fun challenge, and I can’t wait to see where this story takes me.
What I Read
I certainly didn’t set any reading records in August, but I did find some wonderful and unexpected reads. A few of them were:
The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron
Lila is a dressmaker-turned-spy, having used her abilities as a tailor to collect critical information from the Nazis, but when a handoff of intelligence goes wrong, she ends up finding her ex-fiancee who is now part of the Resistance, which throws everything into disarray. Sandrine works at the Nazi art center, secretly cataloguing every stolen piece to return to the rightful owners when the war is over. However, her efforts are threatened when a Nazi officer begins paying attention to her, which is the last thing she wants.
The two words that describe this book are “grit” and “grace.” Our two protagonists have an ample supply of both, giving a refreshing alternative to the stereotypical “strong woman” character. While the unique, non-linear structure may not work for everyone, I found it to be wonderful. I do think a little more meat and progression could have been given to the present day storyline, because we honestly didn’t move forward that far. Overall, though, I thought the back and forth narrative worked. My only recommendation is to pay close attention to the dates in the headings. Though this story falls outside what I typically read, I absolutely loved it.
4 out of 5 stars.
Sir Orfeo translated by J.R.R. Tolkien
A medieval retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice.
I picked this up as a spur of the moment decision because I’ve been looking at the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for inspiration for my new WIP. It turned out to be quite enjoyable, and it was fascinating to look at the differences between the Greek version and this one. Tolkien’s translation was delightful as expected, and I found myself reading it aloud to myself just to savor the rhythms and rhymes.
4 out of 5 stars.
Sweep by Jonathan Auxier
Nan is a chimney sweep in London serving under a cruel master and dreaming about the Sweep, a father-like figure who disappeared and left her only a bit of mysterious char. After an accident, that char transforms into a soot golem. Together, Nan and her sooty guardian attempt to make it on their own in the streets of London as they try to figure out why the Sweep gave the golem to Nan.
I really enjoyed this charming historical fantasy novel. It was full of found family, adventure, and touching moments. Being a middle grade, it was able to touch on the harsh realities of being a chimney sweep while still infusing hope and light into the narrative. Not to mention, the way Auxier described Victorian London felt visceral and real.
3.75 out of 5 stars.
*Note: All cover images were found on Amazon*
What I Listened To
August became the month of podcasts for me. I listened to a LOT, but a few of my favorites have been:
Call me skeptical, but I wasn’t sure I’d like this podcast at first, even though it’s hosted by Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells. No set topic? Just two friends talking for forty-five minutes to an hour?
Well, I underestimated the immense entertainment factor of two author friends talking about whatever strikes their fancy.
This show is wildly funny, and I’ve enjoyed all the discussions of art, food, and inside glimpses of the publishing world. For me, this is the perfect podcast to turn on when my brain needs a break, but I still have tasks to get done.
I’ve been listening to this show off and on for a while, cherry-picking which episodes sound most helpful for where I’m at. Despite not being new to me this month, I still enjoyed listening to it.
Like Intentionally Blank, I love the dynamic of a bunch of author friends. They give great nuggets of advice, and I appreciate that each episode is the digestible length of fifteen-ish minutes.
This is another podcast I found a while back, but I listened to it a TON in August. It’s always full of sound wisdom on relevant writing topics. No ads, no getting off track on side-tangents—just focused writing advice.
This podcast is a wonderful resource for writers, and I highly recommend it.
What Encouraged Me
I turned to Psalm 23 frequently this month. It’s shorter length and soothing words made it perfect to read right before bed or on a busy morning when I didn’t have time for a longer devotion.
While the picture it paints is undeniably comforting, it also struck me how vulnerable of a Psalm it is. It’s a prayer of trust. It cries out, saying God is the shepherd leading us down “right paths.” It’s a prayer of surrender. It says that we will follow God, choosing to believe in His goodness and peace. In many ways, this Psalm reminds me of Psalm 139:23–“search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
It’s easy to read Psalm 23 and think about how nice and comfortable those words are. For me, it’s a lot harder to live like it’s true and trust those promises to hold me up.
So, there you go! That’s my August in a nutshell. What did your August hold? And what podcasts do you listen to? I’m always on the lookout for new ones.