Once again, I’m sorry that I had to take a break in February. March got me mostly back on track, aside from a mental health episode that’s stalled a whole bunch of things. But, in the best news, I’m done with my novella, Ice Upon a Pier, and it’s coming out with a paperback edition for those who don’t want to read it on a Kindle or in digital. All links have been updated in the press kit, including some indie bookstores for those who want to support those venues.
Freydís Moon returns to my blog today to chat about their latest release, Heart, Haunt, Havoc (HHH). Things go literally bump in the night when Colin Hart is hired by Bishop Martínez to quell the hauntings. This isn’t a simple exorcism, as it’s tied up with Bishop’s past griefs and path to his own healing. The layers in this book are heart-wrenching, with a hopeful ending, and I can’t wait for everyone to get to experience this tightly-paced mystery with genuine scares and a compelling romance.
Today, I’m celebrating Freydís by having them here to talk about drafting, their favorite scenes, and coming to the conclusion to self publish this gothic romance complete featuring two trans protagonist drawn together by more than mutual attraction.
I had the immense privilege of reading this book early. It’s about a haunted house, a broken relationship, mysticism, and genuine scares. It’s also incredibly hot, and the healing but horrifying journey these characters go through made my heart swoon.
I’m incredibly excited to be part of today’s cover drop. You are completely unprepared.
Per my post about 2023, I really need to refocus on refilling my creative well. So, this year, I’m limiting the number of author interviews I do and reshuffling my to-read list to be mainly about backlist titles. Plus, I am releasing a novella of my own, which I am more than thrilled to unleash upon the world.
I read 192 books this year in a split of: 54 ARCs (up from last year), 33 audiobooks (down from last year), 72 manga volumes (down from last year), 20 physical copies (up from last year), 8 light novels (up from last year), and 5 eBooks (down from last year). I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my favorite 20 2022 books, favorite 10 books from before 2021, and my favorite 5 manga. I would have done a favorite 20 of backlist books, but, unfortunately, I did not prioritize this year, and I think that contributed to my exhaustion.
Overall, it’s not as many things as last year, and it did bring me dangerously close to burning out on reading. 2023 will be a year for resetting some of my priorities with regards to reading, which will focus on my backlog and reading a whole lot of light novels.
November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance Year Release: 2022 Buy Link: NineStar Press
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warnings: blood used in a ritual, necromancy, depiction of anxiety pertaining to pregnancy, conversation surrounding fertility
Ethan and Peter live a pretty idyllic life in the village of Casper as a lighthouse keeper and fishing captain, respectively. One day, a selkie gets tangled in Peter’s net and Ethan uses necromantic ritual to bring another person back to life. Full of healing, intimacy, and interpersonal devotion, this autumnal read is perfect for people looking for some magic and tenderness a la a Miyazaki film that also fucks.
I love the exploration of family here. Ethan and Peter are very devoted husbands at a kind of crossroads in their lives. The selkie does not help in the immediate situation, but opens up the opportunity for something else. There is a mishap with some marrow that leads to heat, but the relationships among the three develop long before ignition. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the husbands, but especially their interactions with others in town. It feels slice-of-life even though there’s definitely an inciting event, a middle, and an end.
The worldbuilding is also rad. The rules of the magic are fairly hand-wavey, but there’s a nice folkloric aspect to Ethan’s rituals that add a layer of dreaminess to the entire narrative. Overall, this quick read is atmospheric, magical, and romantic.
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance Year Release: 2022 Source: Physical Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Content Warnings: explicit sexual content, off-page transphobia, mention of drug use, off-page police brutality
Diego is a trans man who takes on what’s supposed to be a low-key construction job to help get him back on track. The job is managed by the enigmatic Ariel, who definitely has a secret of angelic proportions. Their relationship evolves into something equally queer, intense, and divine.
This book is cozy in a way reminiscent of post-coitus. Diego carries a lot of baggage and a lot of emotional turmoil with regards to both faith and his experience as someone worthy of care and attention. The way the differences between faith, devotion, and religion mingle in the conversations between Ariel and Diego, especially when it comes to drawing lines between what is faith and what is the result of centuries of iterative interpretations. I found these explorations cathartic and affirming as a queer person raised in a religious household.
A theme that permeates Moon’s work is the respect given towards working class individuals, and this is also extends towards sex workers. There are mentions in the novella that Diego has engaged in cam work before and both the text and Ariel treat it as the job it is, with no virtue or vice attached to it. It’s a refreshing detail that also highlights the thoughtfulness in Moon’s work as a canon.
If erotica where a young man falls into lust with a literal and Biblically accurate angel is something of interest, definitely give this one a read. The paperback edition has a bonus scene that takes place a year later, and it is swoony—I cannot recommend it enough.
Somehow, September also saw me in New York City. We can thank the CDC for letting me reunite with my best friend from my childhood in Poland, along with several others who I haven’t seen in years even before the pandemic. This is also a reminder for folks to get the bivalent booster if you are 18 and haven’t had COVID within the last 3 months.
I finished my revision and resubmitted it, which is my big project completion that robbed me lots of reading time. Now, I’m resting an embarking on a reading adventure to learn how to write a horny goth book. Hopefully, I’ll be able recapping that in October’s post. But we’ll see.
August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!
I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.