Today will be the last post of 2022. And, like we do every year, I’m finishing up by taking a look at the most popular posts. These are the ones that were read the most by you, some of my favorite people in the world.
I’m always a little surprised by what makes the list each year. Which is probably not great for me from a marketing perspective.
But at any rate, here are the top ten most popular posts of 2022. Did your favorite make the list?
We find ourselves now at the end of 2022. It’s time to reflect on the year we’ve just survived. To celebrate the wins, to mourn the losses. And, of course, to consider the best of the year.
Today I’m sharing my top ten favorite books of 2022. These are books that I read for the first time in 2022. I didn’t restrict any genres, this is just purely the ones I enjoyed the most. You’ll find fiction, nonfiction, and speculative fiction. What you won’t find, in my opinion, is a boring book.
10. Savage Bounty by Matt Wallace
The follow-up to Savage Legion, this book was a worthy part two. Normally the second book in a trilogy is kind of meh. Needed for the series as a whole, but rather boring. Not so with this. (Part three is coming out in June, by the way.)
9. Manson by Jeff Gunn
This book was an absolute unit. It was also the most in-depth and detailed depiction of Manson’s life that I have ever read. Not what I’d call comforting reading, but incredibly educational.
8. How to be a Christian Witch by Valerie Love
Most of you know that I’ve been a practicing witch for several years now. This book was a beautiful explanation of living one’s life as a witch who believes in God and Jesus. And Reverend Love is an incredible person.
7. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
This book wasn’t very much like the iconic movie of the same name. But it was still an amazing book about sisterhood and motherhood. It’s about how we as women share our lives.
6. City Magick by Christopher Penczak
Being a city lover who is also a witch is hard. Most of the witchcraft books and media are centered around the woods and nature and having a garden bigger than your house. It’s nice to have books like this that teach magic designed for the city.
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Yes, I know it’s a children’s book. No, I don’t care. The story of Nobody was delightful, whimsical, and dark. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely should no matter how old you are.
4. City Witchery by Lisa Marie Basile
This is a more modern witchcraft book that is designed for the city witch. It also happens to be by a witchcraft author that has written some amazing books in the past.
3. A Song Flung Up To Heaven by Maya Angelou
All of Maya Angelou’s work is just amazing. This book was about first the death of Dr. King, and then the death of Malcome X. And it was, without a doubt, powerful.
2. This is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
This book was on my list for so long, and I finished it in a day. If you haven’t read it yet, make the time to read it now. It was superb.
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Finally, we have easily the best book I read in 2022. The Haunting of Hill House was creepy and touching. I am so thankful that I was able to experience it.
That is it for my list this year. I can’t wait to get started on a stack of books for 2023. Are there any I should add to my TBR pile? Let me know in the comments.
I hate that I have to write this post. This is something that hasn’t happened to me in years. I mean, honestly years.
I did not win Nanowrimo, 2022. And that really sucks.
On paper, it looked like I did everything right. I had a plan in place for my novel. I had an outline. I had a plan. I had the will. I was ready.
But somewhere around the middle of the month, things just started to fall apart. I had a few days when I couldn’t hit my word count, and it just snowballed from there. For about a week, I did my damndest to get back on track. And I did get back on track, only to fall right back off track again.
Finally, with over a week left, I decided to give up for the year. I just didn’t see myself getting caught up, I was too far behind.
I can’t say there was any one reason I didn’t make it to 50,000 words this year. Certainly, I’ve had busier years and still achieved the goal. I even went on a Thanksgiving vacation one year and still hit 50,000 words.
It wasn’t because I didn’t like the story. I actually think this might be the best book I’ve ever written. I say that about every new book.
It wasn’t because the story was particularly difficult. Last year I wrote a season of AA, and it is a hell of a lot harder to hit a word count when you’re writing scripts than when you’re writing a novel, let me tell you.
I’m honestly a little worried that I’m slowing down. I’m in my late 30’s now. I just don’t have the same energy as I did even a few years ago. Or maybe I need to just learn how to ration my energy better.
One way or another, I just refuse to be brought down by this. There are upsides to this, even if they’re hard to see. For one, this is a wake-up call for how I’m treating myself. I need to take better care of myself so that I have the energy to do things like this. I’m not that old, I shouldn’t be slowing down that much yet. Bernie Sanders is still running just fine, and he’s got decades on me. He could have written 50,000 words without breaking a sweat.
(I think that’s going to be my new mantra, what would Bernie Sanders do.)
This is part of why my word for 2023 is self. I need to take better care of myself.
I’m also glad I tried Nanowrimo, even though I failed because I still got a decent chunk of writing done. I still wrote at times I wouldn’t have. I still wrote more than I would have if I hadn’t done Nano, is what I’m saying. And that’s not a bad thing.
Of course, the biggest reward of failure is always the lessons we learn. If we’re humble and optimistic enough to take the lesson along with the loss, that is. Next year I’ll do better, and here’s how.
– I let myself get away with too many days in a row of just barely making my word count. Especially at the beginning when excitement was high and fatigue was low. In years past I’ve written extra, knowing that sometime in the middle of the month I’d hit a wall.
-I didn’t plan any writing only days. Every day I had errands to run, a day job to go to, or a million other things to take up my time. I’d forgotten how much I relied on those days when I do nothing but work on the work in progress.
So that’s it. I didn’t win Nanowrimo, but I will next year. Now, I want to hear from you. Did you attempt Nano this year? Did you win or lose? Let us know in the comments.
Everyone’s got a list of holiday gifts this time of year. And I’m no different. I always post a writer’s gift guide, because I know writers are hard to shop for.
I don’t know why we’re hard to shop for. I don’t think we’re any harder to shop for than anyone else.
I think everyone’s hard to shop for. Except for witches. Witches are easy to shop for. We always need more crystals, empty jars, and candles.
This isn’t going to be a long list of cool things, though. If you want physical gift suggestions, check out Instagram. I am getting nothing but gift suggestions on there right now.
No, this year I only have two gift suggestions. And the great thing is, they’re both guaranteed to fit anyone.
There is nothing in this world that will matter more to the people you love than spending time with them. Not even a blanket with all the words to their favorite book will take the place of time.
So get creative with your time together. Here are some things I’m doing.
Reading in bed with the darling husband.
Watching holiday movies together.
Taking Oliver on long walks to see all the decorations.
Going to coffee with my best friends.
Helping my grandmother decorate her house.
Making one of those fancy spread boards for holiday meals.
I carve out as much family and friend time as possible. I do this by putting all business writing on hold for the last two weeks of the year. I keep holiday meals on the less stressful side so I’m spending less time in the kitchen. Using my crock pot a lot. I finished all my gift shopping before Black Friday. I also dramatically decreased the gifts I bought and asked for.
Take a look at your time, and see what you can cut back on to make space for family and friend time.
Nice things are nice, but experiences are better. So instead of buying things, consider planning experiences. They don’t have to be expensive. Here again, are some fun suggestions.
Go to a local museum.
Plan a potluck craft day with friends. Get everyone to bring some craft supplies. One person brings glue, one brings scrapbook paper, that sort of thing.
Do a holiday book swap. I bet you have some books around that you don’t care for anymore, and your friends probably have the same. Get together with some coffee and tea, and swap books.
If you haven’t finished your shopping, grab some friends who are also still shopping and go together. Even better, gather at someone’s house with your laptops, take out food and do some online shopping.
My local plant shop has a make-your-own succulent bar. It’s always a good time. Check around and see what fun events you have around you. Something you always say you’re going to do, but never seem to have the time.
Give this gift to yourself, too
For an introvert like me, time alone is a vital part of self-care. And as much as I love time with my family and friends, I have to give myself time alone as well.
So, I’m taking myself on solo coffee dates. I’m making sure to prioritize mediation time. I’m reading alone by my little electric fire. I’m making tea and having it with no one.
My point here is this. Things are nice, I’m not trying to shame anyone who asks for physical things. I for sure asked for physical things. But don’t focus so much on those. Give your loved ones, and yourself as well, the gifts of time and experience. Those are the gifts you’ll all treasure the most.
Every year I find myself engaged in the same hunt. The hunt for a great holiday book that isn’t about two people in Christmas sweaters falling in love in an unlikely situation.
And apparently, a lot of you do, too. Because when I gave you a list of six holiday books last year, over 600 of you read it!
Honestly, I’m so touched. And so I had to get together another collection. Here are five more holiday books that are not romance, that I’ve experienced since last year. I hope you enjoy it.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Christmas with the Kranks was based on this book. As if we needed more proof that books are almost always better.
Luthor, our main character, gets the brilliant idea to skip Christmas and go on a cruise with his wife instead. He doesn’t decorate his house, doesn’t buy gifts, and doesn’t donate to any charities. His neighbors are baffled by this and proceed to make his life miserable.
It’s cute, it’s fun, and it makes me thankful for my own holiday traditions.
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
I’m not going to lie, this book wasn’t my cup of peppermint mocha tea. And that was a disappointment. I thought I was going to like this book. The story is about a little boy who sees Santa get brutally murdered. He makes a wish, and the wrong angel hears him. The stupidest angel. An angel stupid enough to bring a zombie into a little coastal town.
The comedy in this book just didn’t grab me. It was a lot of sex jokes and off-color humor. Not that I have any problem with blue comedy when it’s funny. This just wasn’t. But of course, comedy is subjective. If you like a funny tale, maybe give this one a try.
The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine
Some holiday murder mysteries are just regular murder mysteries with a wreath on the door. But this is a cute-as-hell killing spree with Christmas cards left at each murder. Add to that the fact that it’s set in a quaint little British town, and I was hooked. It’s exactly what I want in a Christmas murder mystery. Cute, cozy, and bloody as hell.
The Joy of A Christmas Peanuts
This is a Hallmark gift book, and I do not care at all. It’s a collection of Christmas Peanuts strips, with some cute character information between them. I have purchased this book second-hand three times. And I always love cozying up with it and a good cup of coffee for some quiet holiday fun.
Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien
This might be my favorite addition this year. In addition to being an astounding writer who birthed the fantasy genre, Tolkien was a great father. He wrote his children letters for Christmas, from ‘Father Christmas’ himself. These letters are warm, fuzzy goodness on a page. And I look forward to reading these over again every year.
What holiday books have you discovered this year? Let us know in the comments.