What’s Making Me Happy: September 2017

I love September. Firstly, it’s my birthday month. ūüôā But secondly, September is a gorgeous time of year in Massachusetts. Maybe that explains why this month was a balance of indoor activities (the new WIP, reorganization / decluttering projects) and outdoor fun. There were a couple lows (ongoing anxiety, plus a dishwasher leak), but in short September was joyful and productive, with much to be thankful for.

In fact, it was such a good month, I had such a hard time narrowing down my list of joys for this Happy post. But that’s not such a bad thing, right? In the end, I settled on five that best represent the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences that made my heart sing. And as always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments!

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Five Reasons Why The DIY MFA Book Is a Must-Read for Writers

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While I love a good book on the craft of writing, I wouldn’t normally say that such a book would be one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Gabriela Pereira’s¬†DIY MFA, however, is a exception – and perhaps biasedly so. I’ve been a staff writer at DIY MFA’s website since November 2014. So, not only have I been eagerly awaiting the book’s release ever since Gabriela broke the news to us,¬†but I also agree with her philosophy and the concepts she presents.

Last month, the¬†DIY MFA¬†Book was published last month by Writer’s Digest. I’ve had a chance to read it, and I’m thrilled to say it surpassed my expectations. Writing a review for a writing reference book, however, is different than writing one for fiction. I don’t want to spoil too many of the¬†insights that¬†Gabriela shares. Instead, I’ll give Five Reasons Why The¬†DIY MFA¬†Book Is a Must-Read for Writers. Then, if you like the sounds of it, you can fully immerse yourself in the DIY MFA learning experience. Ready?

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Five Benefits of Buddy-Reading

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When you’re a writer or book-blogger, what’s one thing you’re guaranteed to talk about with your online friends? Books, of course! That’s how we bond over beloved reads we share as well as books we’ve been meaning to read for ages.¬†So, when I bought Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear¬†after Christmas, fellow writer Rebekah Hendrian said this in her comments:

“I almost feel like we need to do a buddy read for Wise Man‚Äôs Fear. I just keep looking at those thousand pages and then putting it aside in dismay.”

At first I was hesitant, since I’d never done a buddy-read before and wasn’t sure how it was done. But once Rebekah¬†and I¬†figured things out, we were able to work The Wise Man’s Fear¬†into the same point in our reading schedules. Now I’m so glad we did¬†it – and today, I’d like to share what made that experience so enjoyable, in hopes that you might try buddy-reading with a friend in the future.¬†So, here are¬†Five Benefits of Buddy-Reading!

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What Do Your Favorite Stories Have In Common?

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“What do your favorite stories have in common?”

This was the question that fellow¬†writer Elizabeth Rawls posed at her blog last year. I loved the topic so much that I wanted to respond right away, but I couldn’t. Figuring out what your favorite stories have in common¬†is¬†like playing a writer’s or reader’s version of a strategy game. But once you¬†put some conscious thought into it, the answers can be rather¬†enlightening.

Today, I’d like to share Elizabeth’s activity along with my own thoughts on developing a stronger grasp on the shared elements in our¬†favorite stories. As you’ll find out, those commonalities may have a greater influence on our work that we might think.

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Another “Thank-You” Giveaway!

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Yay! It’s giveaway time again!

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Thanks to¬†everyone, I recently passed 500 blog subscribers and 800 followers on Twitter. Maybe I could say “thank you” 1,300 times in response… Though that would be a bit much, right? ūüėČ

So, I’ll say a great, big THANK YOU once again with a gesture. Last year’s belated blogoversary giveaways went really well, and I’m always happy to offer something that readers can benefit from. This time, I have two international giveaways. In other words, everyone will be eligible to participate – and you can choose to enter one giveaway, or both!

All rules and other details can be found after the jump. First, here are the prizes:
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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 25: March 2016 Haul, Part 2

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

In last week’s Stacking The Shelves, I’d mentioned that I’d expected to do only one STS entry this month. Then, after the fairy novels and new releases had arrived in the mail, I spent a Saturday on Cape Cod to see the house my parents are renovating and do some birthday shopping for a friend. And during said shopping, I bought more books, even though I’d told myself not to. (*face turns strawberry red*)

So, here’s Batch #2, the books I bought at the¬†Market Street Bookshop¬†in Mashpee, MA, along with a couple extras. Make sure you stop at MSB¬†if you visit Mashpee Commons. Their selection is fantastic (especially in science fiction and fantasy, both adult and YA), and the staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and well-read. ūüôā

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 24: March 2016 Haul, Part 1

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

This is getting¬†embarrassing – to the point where, apart from new releases, I might have to institute a temporary “book-buying” ban. (*blushes*) Not to mention this was going to be one installment of Stacking The Shelves. Next week I’ll explain¬†why I split it in two.

For now, here’s Batch #1, a mix¬†of¬†2016 books with the latest additions to my ongoing “market research” project on fairy novels. Let’s have a look:

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