July 2020 Roundup – Reading, Writing and Blogging… #BrainfluffJuly2020Roundup


Lockdown is slowly easing and right at the end of the month, we actually went to a café together and had a cup of tea and cake. It’s been lovely to meet up with my daughter and the grandchildren and have them over to stay, again. But most of the time, I’m still at home reading and writing, while Himself has continued to go out to work.

I read fifteen books in July, which used to be an outstanding number for me, but isn’t anymore. No DNF’s and once again, it’s been a great reading month – particularly for space opera and space adventures in general. My Outstanding Book of the Month was The Relentless Moon – Book 3 of The Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal and my Outstanding Audiobook of the Month was Deep Roots – Book 2 of the Innsmouth Legacy by Ruthanna Emrys. My reads during June were:

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell – Book 1 of the Embers of War series. Review to follow

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. Review to follow

Scarlet Odyssey – Book 1 of the Scarlet Odyssey series by C.T. Rwizi. See my review

Skin Game – Book 15 of the Harry Dresden files by Jim Butcher – reread

AUDIOBOOK The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Review to follow

Velocity Weapon – Book 1 of The Protectorate by Megan E. O’Keefe. See my review

End Game – Book 8 of the Fallen Empire series by Lindsay Buroker. Review to follow

Peace Talks – Book 16 of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. See my review

Chaos Vector – Book 2 of The Protectorate by Megan E. O’Keefe. See my review

AUDIOBOOK Deep Roots – Book 2 of The Innsmouth Legacy by Ruthanna Emrys. Review to follow – OUTSTANDING AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH

Seven Devils – Book 1 of the Seven Devils series by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May. See my review

Last Dragon Standing – Book 5 of the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron. Review to follow

The Relentless Moon – Book 3 of the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal. Review to follow – OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Outcast Dead – Book 6 of the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Mini-review to follow

AUDIOBOOK The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents – Book 28 of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Review to follow

Writing and Editing
I had intended for Picky Eaters 2 to be a novella, but though I’ve written a reasonably comprehensive outline, the writing has fallen into the rhythm and pacing of a longer piece of work. Oh well. So rather than polishing off the first draft during the first fortnight of July, I found it has been something I’ve been picking up and putting down between the final two editing passes of Mantivore Warrior. Mhairi has now produced the cover, which I’m very happy with – and I’m on track to publish it at the end of August, as planned. Again, due to all the editing I’ve been doing, my writing wordcount is way down in comparison to the beginning of the year.

Overall, I wrote just over 35,500 words in July, with just over 20,500 on the blog, and just over 15,000 on my writing projects. This brings my yearly wordcount to date to just over 288,500 words – which completely justifies my decision to step away from my regular Creative Writing stints at Northbrook, because that is over 92,000 more words than this time last year.

I am more or less back on track with commenting, though I still struggle to get around and visit as much as I’d like – sorry to those of you who I’ve neglected! But again, I’m finding it such a lifeline to be able to chat about books to other folks – it certainly cuts down the sense of isolation. Take care and stay safe.x

20 responses »

    • I know! When did THAT happen?? It doesn’t help when all the books seem to have the same release date – I had a bunch due to come out on 4th August – and I’m still working through posting them…

  1. Omg I can’t wait to read RELENTLESS MOON. It’s the first book I’m going to read in September once the Summer of SFR is over.

    • I’ve been reading hard to escape the wider world throughout the year, to be honest… And I can’t say that I’ve kept up with all the books I’ve gone and got hold of – because I haven’t! I don’t think we do, do we???

      • Oh, I know. It doesn’t help that I tend to react to the new and shiny releases with all the restraint of a sugar-stimmed toddler in a sweetie shop…

  2. It’s so nice to catch up with your reading and writing. You’ve been a busy girl.
    My Better Half reads Jim Butcher, and I’ve tried Terry Pratchett (still have a couple of his on my TBR shelves), but I struggle. Any suggestions?

    • If you’re wanting a Pratchett recommendation that might be a more user-friendly – have you tried the first the Tiffany Aching series. It’s absolutely lovely – about a young girl who lives and works on the chalk downs, which we also have here, and her adventures while turning into a witch. The first book is The Wee Free Men.

      If you don’t think you can face tiny fierce blue-skinned men who talk with a thick Scots accent – my other recommendation is the Lady Astronaut trilogy. The first book is The Calculating Stars and all three are a joy. They are set in the 60s in an alternative history where a huge meteor hits America and it changes the course of history. But it isn’t all doom and disaster – it provides the spur to make it into space a lot sooner than we do.

    • Listening to audiobooks while doing my chores helps to get through an extra two or three books a month – and I’ve also been reading harder as an escape…

  3. What a wordcount! I do like to think of editing as writing–after all, one’s got to rework, rewrite, re-something else to make a story what it is. 🙂 I may have missed it, or you may have given this update already in a post I’ve not yet read, but what about your book on writing craft?

    • It’s been put in the pending pile… I was all set to get going on it, but I wanted the How-to videos lined up first. However, my first few attempts show that I come across on camera with all the charisma of a shop dummy. I simply haven’t had the energy to work on the necessary improvements, so that project has gone on hold. I haven’t even made much progress on Picky Eaters 2, which more or less writers itself…

      And I take your point about the editing process – you’re right. My first drafts always need a lot of work to make them suitably readable.

      • Considering your active projects at work, there’s nothing wrong with putting a few on hold! The WIP I brainstormed when the boys were in pre-school is still sitting in the outline stage four years later. We need to be okay with ourselves for using the ol’ back burners because we’re doing what we can when we can. xxxxxxx

      • And you’re absolutely right, of course! Having dragged my weary self around the house feeling like something the cat sicked up for the past fortnight and more – I need to be kinder to moi! Thank you for the reminder, my friend.xxxx

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