The top ten most popular posts of 2019

Note: Sorry this post is so late. Had a stumach bug that put me down hard for a day. Worst time of the year for that.

I also wanted to let you know that all of the Woven Trilogy is on sale on Amazon right now for the holidays. Here’s a link. They’re on sale until Monday.

At the end of every year, I post a list of the most popular posts of the year. I love doing this post, and I love seeing similar posts from content creators across all the other platforms I frequent. It brings back a flood of memories from the year. Where I was, what I was doing and who I was with when I saw or read the posts. I hope you feel the same way, or this post is just an indulging of my nostalgia.

A lot has changed in 2019. I published the last in the Woven trilogy, started writing for a horror review site, and started writing a new science fiction series. (More on that to come.) Altogether, it hasn’t been a bad year. I mean, I’ve certainly had better. But I’ve also had worse.

Without further ramblings, here are the top ten most popular posts of 2019.

Worldbuilding questions to answer for a more realistic world

I enjoyed writing this post. Worldbuilding is something I’ve struggled with and seen done poorly by authors who seem to think it’s alright to just rip off Tolkien instead of writing anything original.

What is Speculative fiction

I’m so thrilled that so many people are interested in speculative fiction. I mean, it’s what I write, so I hope people like it.

What I learned as a flag football mom

This was surprising. It’s an older post. But I was pleased to see that it resonated. 

Picking apart Coraline

I’m pretty sure the popularity of this post is due to the artwork I put on Pinterest. Even so, I loved Coraline, and I learned a ton from it as a writer. So I’m pretty excited that you all loved it too. 

What I learned from Brooklyn 99

Despite the last season of this show being a bit of a flop, it’s still got a lot to teach storytellers. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

An open letter to the teacher who changed my life

I’m touched that this post was as popular as it was. So many wonderful teachers helped shape me into who I am. I hope that all of you had that experience as well.

Science Fiction Subgenres

All of these got a lot of love over the last year. I’m thrilled, and I really hope that they helped.

Keeping a poetry journal

Poetry continues to be a big topic of interest. I think I need to do some research to write more about it. 

Writing gunshot wounds realistically

This was a guest post, and it was the second most popular post of the year. I love/hate that. It was a great post with a great amount of information. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.

Writing Dark Poetry

This was a post that I take a lot of pride in, and I’m beyond thrilled that it was the most popular post this year. Sometimes it’s really hard to figure out what sort of post is going to resonate. You pour time and research into something and it just doesn’t work for people. Then you write something off the cuff and it goes viral. This wasn’t the case with this post. I poured my soul into it, and it apparently spoke to a lot of people.

Thank you again for a year of wonderful adventures and learning. I hope that 2020 is even better.

My favorite books of 2019

This post took way too long to write. I spent far more time than I should have dithering about this list because I read a ton of really good books this year.

These books didn’t necessarily come out this year. None of them did. But I did read all of them this year. I didn’t include any of the books that I read every year or anything that I’d read before. They are across several different genres, fiction, and nonfiction.

Without further rambling, here are the best books I read in 2019.

10. Troublemaker by Leah Remini.51iWPFRZVSL

This is a memoir about Leah’s days in the church of Scientology. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a little bit obsessed with anything about that creepy cult. So, of course, I read this book as soon as I could get my hands on it. It did not disappoint. It’s about her life from childhood until when she realized she wanted to leave the church. And it is riveting.

9. Broke Millennial, by Erin Lowry.

2019 was my year to read a ton of nonfiction. And I can’t suggest this book enough iindexf you need to get your finances in order. I learned so much, and I’m slowly using what I learned to get my credit score in order and make better money choices. And it wasn’t dry!

8. The Pug List, by Alison Hodgson.

pug listFirst off, the pug lives. I wasn’t willing to even touch this one until I found out that not only does the pug live, but his name is Oliver and he has his own Instagram. 

That being said, this family goes through hell and back. Their house is set on fire by an arsonist, and it burns to the ground. They have to rebuild their life from there. 

7. The Bullet Journal Method, by Ryder Carroll.

Bullet journalI don’t think I’ve anticipated a book as much as I did this one. I got it for Christmas last year, and I got to read part of it during a three-day vacation in Pittsburgh. And let me tell you, I was a Bullet Journal fan girl before. This book changed how I do Bullet Journaling for the better. If you haven’t read this book yet, do it now.

6. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.wash your face

This was an inspirational book from someone who manages to be supportive and verbally kicks your ass at the same time. I love how honest and funny she is. No punches were pulled, and it made me feel better about my whole life.

5. Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor.muse of nightmares

I’m not going to go into too much detail here, because I did a review of this book, as well as the first book, Strange The Dreamer. Suffice to say that this two-book series is one of the best modern fantasy books I’ve ever read. It’s creative, immersive and just a treat to read.

limetown4. Limetown.

Alright, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this series recently, so again I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. If you love the podcast, you’ll love this prequel. I can’t suggest it enough.


Outsider3. The Outsider, by Stephen King.

This novel was one that reached right through the pages, grabbed me by the throat and did not let me go. I mean to tell you, I cannot describe how deep this book went. I loved every page. And I can’t believe it’s being turned into a mini-series on HBO next year. Next month, actually.

I haven’t done a review of this book yet, so here’s a quick overview. A small town is shaken to its knees when a popular coach is accused of raping and killing a young man. The only problem is, he couldn’t have done it, even though people saw him at the scene. 

The ending was rather predictable. That didn’t stop me from enjoying every page.

2. Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King.Dr. Sleep

You had to know I was going to have a few King books on here. Dr. Sleep is a followup to The Shining, and I have to say I liked it better. Better enough that I squeed when I saw the first trailer for the movie. (Haven’t seen it yet.) 

If you don’t know about this one, here’s the premise. Davey isn’t the only person who has the Shining. There’s a whole lot of them around, mostly kids. Some people prey upon those with The Shining, who feed on them.

Again, the ending was predictable. But it was a great ride, all the same. 

1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank

Again, this is a book I did a review on and just gushed about. It’s hitting number one on my list this year because it is the most creative and unique novel I have ever read. I cannot wait for the next one.

So that’s it. What do you think? What were the best books you read this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Tips for buying gifts for readers, 2019

In years past, I’ve done gift guides for writers and readers. They were a lot of fun and (bragging) pretty popular. 

This year, though, I feel like I’ve sort of exhausted those posts. So instead, I’ve compiled a list of tips for getting gifts for readers. These should help you get a present for any avid reader in your life.

Don’t buy them a book unless they asked for something specific.

Let me tell you a story, and before I do, I’m sorry Grandma. 

One delightful Christmas, I was handed a big, heavy wrapped book. I’d just finished reading the first two Eragon books and wanted to read the third. (The first two were alright.) And so, having been handed a heavy book, I thought for sure that my grandmother had gotten me book three. “Oh, is this Brisingr?” I cried and ripped off the paper.

It wasn’t. It was Duma Key by Stephen King. 

Now, it was really hard for me to hide the disappointment on my face. Even though now pablo(1)I know for sure that I’d rather read Duma Key than an Eragon book. Most of you reading this know that. So, of course, my grandmother thought that.

But it wasn’t what I was into then. And that’s not her fault. But it is a perfect example of how much of a pain in the ass readers are. Even if you think you know for sure what they’d like, don’t buy them a book unless they’ve specifically asked for it. Even if they like it, you always run the chance that they already have it.

No, they don’t have enough bookmarks.

There’s no such thing as too many bookmarks, the damn things are always getting lost. Yes, a bookmark is a great idea. Yes, they will lose it. So don’t break the bank, you know?

Yes, they would like a coffee or hot chocolate gift set

Nothing makes reading better than a hot drink when it’s cold or a cold drink when it’s hot. And while I can’t speak for all avid readers, I never have met one who has enough coffee cups.

There is an exception to the first rule.

If you are also an avid reader, then I’m sure you have more than a few books that are meaningful to you. These are great gifts because they mean something to you. You can explain to the recipient why this book matters so much to you. And in that way, this gift is about more than the book itself. You’re giving them a part of yourself.

Gift cards are great, gift cards to second-hand book stores are the best!

Look, a second-hand book store is the best thing. It’s an adventure every time. And you can finance that adventure. It also supports independent booksellers. Which is something we need more of.

If you really want to put money into it, you can get them a subscription box

There are so many subscription boxes these days, that you can find very specific ones no matter what genre your reader likes. This can be a pricy gift, but it can be a wonderful one that continues to give all year long.

If you do it right, prepare not to talk to them for a while.

This is the downside of getting the reader the perfect gift. They will sink into their favorite activity, reading. But rest assured that they’ll think fondly of you as they do.

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