7 Ways to Read More Books

#1. Stay inside and at home all the time because you’re terrified of catching the plague that is COVID19.

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Ha. Ha. All kidding aside, I have read more this year than I have in many years. That started before COVID19 was a national emergency here in the states. I decided to go for 100 books on the GoodReads Challenge this year. I hit it pretty early. I’m at 122 for the year now.

My new goal is 162 for the year. That’s a very exact number, Maggie! What’s going on with you? If I succeed at my goal it would mean I read double the books I did last year. That’s something to celebrate.

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So, how do I really read more? (Besides the obvious I’m happily single and childfree by choice and I work from home) I just do it. Not everyone wants to read 100s of books a year. Not everyone needs to either. If you’re looking to read more here are some things I’ve discovered over the last few years that have upped my reading numbers.

I won’t be discussing how to read ‘faster.’ I encourage everyone to read at the pace they enjoy. That means, I’ll be focusing mostly on the other factor- TIME. The one thing none of us ever seem to have enough of.

  1. Be honest about how much time you can invest in reading.
Shallow Focus of Clear Hourglass

Seriously, don’t plan to attempt 500 books if you’re juggling chainsaws. Metaphors aside, if you know you have a busy work and home life, you’re going to want to set a realistic goal for yourself. Audit your free time. Do you spend two hours a day scrolling through social media? Nix that and read. Even if it’s broken up in 5-10 minute increments you can get a lot read in two hours.

2. Audit your free time.

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I touched on this briefly above, but if you want to read more that time has to come from somewhere.

3. Prioritize reading.

Closeup Photography of Book Page Folding Forming Heart

No, don’t starve your kids or skip your dog’s walk. That’s not what I’m talking about. Cancel your streaming and cable for a month and see how much more you read. Give up gaming for a month if that’s your thing. Ideally, we’d all have time to do all the things we love, but time is limited. You only have so many hours left earth and so many hours in a day.

4. Join a book club!

Pile of Hardbound Books With White and Pink Floral Ceramic Teacup and Saucer

Talking about the books I read has led to me reading more books! Not just from recommendations, though I’m gotten some great ones this year. But more reading overall. Discussing the books I read makes it feel as if it’s part of my introverted social life.

I’d recommend checking out Reddit’s r/52book and r/bookclub. I participate almost every month in r/bookclub. In September, I’m participating in both choices – Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles and the older Age of Innocence. Come over and join us! We have some great discussions there.

5. Audiobooks!

Silhouette of Person Standing on Field

Don’t groan at me! I know that look! Up until last year I hated audiobooks. It wasn’t ‘reading!’ How was I supposed to pay attention to the story? Well, there’s a couple options here.

I listen to audiobooks while I clean the house, workout, play Stardew Valley, design my book covers, and while I craft. Depending on the length of the audiobook this can add 4 books to my total every month.

Can’t get into fiction audiobooks? I have friend with that problem. She listens to memoirs and other non-fiction audiobooks that perk her interests. Got a long commute? Turn off the radio. The news is depressing anyway! Listen to an audiobook! Scribd is my current go to.

6. In a reading rut?

Eyeglasses On A Book

Reread an old favorite!

7. Don’t make yourself read books you don’t like!

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Thoughts on Finishing a Series

In December of 2017 I started writing a book that would change my life forever. Only I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know it would be that book that launched something more. Omega Studies wasn’t the first novel I wrote. The first I wrote in high school and it’s been lost to the passage of time. Others I wrote for ghost writing jobs and then under another pen name for a different genre.

Freelancing gave me decent income, but was slowly eating away at my creative soul. Novel writing hadn’t provided enough income to become my full time job. Publishing my own stuff was what I wanted to do, but it seemed so far away. It seemed like an impossibility.

Still I wasn’t ready to give up. So, I tried something new. I tried mpreg romance. It was a test run that I was sure would flop out. Only it didn’t. It paid the bills. Then came Omega Sight and people were still reading. I was shocked.

Health problems got in my way after the third book and my publishing slowed down. My writing ground to a halt. I didn’t know if it would ever work out. Then, my health improved and I came back to write Healer’s Oath (Doctor Bane’s book) and people read it too. I was and am a little flabbergasted when I think about it.

The teenage girl scribbling out a vampire story in the back of her AP classes during lectures would have never thought it was possible. Sure, I’m not rich, but I’m doing what I love and paying the bills. That’s not something everyone can say.

Today, almost 3 years after I started writing Omega Studies, I finished the last book in the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga. That’s 13 books in total.13! That doesn’t count the three books in my other series in my standalones.

Finishing the last chapter this morning was bitter sweet. I never imagined being able to pursue this series for so long and pay the bills with it. At the same time I can’t believe it’s over. I mean, there are rewrites, edits, and all of that, but the creative part of the series is over.

I’ve always referred to the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga as my baby. It’s my brain baby. I love my world and my characters. I love waking up every morning and working with them even when they made me want to bang my head on the wall.

At the same time, I look forward to what comes next. I have Fairy Tales to catch up to the timeline. I have standalone ideas falling out of my ears! And of course the illusive Juda and Frost origin novel I’ve spoken about countless times. That one is actually up next unless I crash and burn creatively on it. Which I don’t feel like will happen. I always just give that disclaimer, in case something goes wrong.

It’s bitter sweet to end a project that’s been going on for almost 3 years. They’ve been hard three years in my personal life. Sometimes I think my Hemlock Universe saved me from my own mental health issues. No, I’m not advocating writing over mental health care. It’s just part of my management strategy.

I found strength in my characters. Finishing each book built my confidence in other areas of my life too. Feedback and constructive criticism during my writing process gave me a thicker skin and more resilience. As I created them, they built me up. I’ve made so many friends both in other writers and with readers. Which due to my social anxiety seemed impossible before I started publishing the saga. Not to sound like I’m writing a thank you letter to fictional characters, but without them in my daily life I don’t know where I’d be.

So for those of you who have followed the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga this far, I extend a huge thank you! I hope you’ll continue this journey with me as I explore other areas of the Hemlock Mpreg Universe.


Breakfast Time – Dewey’s 24 Readathon

I’ve always envied those who can read for hours on end without coming up for air. I’m not one of them. I get stiff and squirmy. I get thirsty and my water bottle or tea runs empty. I need to pee. And of course, since I didn’t eat breakfast when I woke up today. I’m hungry.

I’m off to a decent start to my own personal challenge of reading 10 hours today. I started at 4:12 AM and so far have managed 3 hours. I got through my reading for the book club and the group. I posted in one discussion and will post in the other when it’s time.

I’m about 100 pages into IT and to be honest I didn’t know a lot about this book. I haven’t the newer movies. I watched the old one in band class (Yes, band class. I was a band geek and we had a horrible teacher) in middle school and I don’t really remember much from it. As always, I enjoy King’s rough voice and the way he gets inside his characters. I’m not even to the ‘good part’ yet and I’m really enjoying this read.

All together I’ve read 234 pages in 3 hours. I need 7 more to hit my goal of 10 hours today. It may be because of how early in the day it is, but I’m hopeful that I’ll get there.

Happy reading!


Good Morning- Dewey’s Reverse Readathon 2020

Since, my mental health upkeep requires a decent sleep schedule – I went to bed really early last night instead of just staying up. Everyone is who started last night will be almost 8 hours into the readathon. I’ll be starting shortly. I’m excited. Usually, I get about 8 hours in during the readathon – which is huge for me! This year I’m challenging myself to try for 10. By 4:30 readathon time I’ll be reading. So, it should technically be possible. We’ll see what happens.

This morning I’ll be starting with a few short stories from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. It’s the R/bookclub pick this month over on Reddit. It’s a book of short stories from the Vietnam War. I almost sat this one out since I don’t read much about that time period. I decided to give it a chance since I joined the club to read books I wouldn’t normally select for myself. We’re 2 stories in with another 2 up for discussion today. I really enjoyed the first two so far. They’re insightful and the man has a beautiful writing voice.


Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon Prep! (I’m Psyched!)

Today is definitely one of those days where I wish I could give up sleep for a night to read. Though, I know better! I’m still psyched to get an early start tomorrow morning. Now that we’re a little closer I know exactly what I’m reading tomorrow besides starting King’s IT.

This month I’m participating in not only r/bookclub on Reddit, but also a buddy/group read. Discussion days follow tomorrow – don’t worry that doesn’t take too long. So, I decided to begin the day with what I need to read from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Madeline Miller’s Circe. I’ve wanted to read Circe forever and kept putting it off because of how many books I have on my TBR list. Now, that I was invited to a group read I have no reason to put it off. After those little sections of reading are out of the way I’m all over IT.

Currently I’m waiting on an Instacart order for my snacks tomorrow. Once they arrive I’m all ready for the readathon!


On Writing and Loneliness During a Pandemic

2020 has been a giant raging dumpster fire so far for most of us. I remember first hearing about the virus New Year’s Day. I found out sitting alone in my little apartment. That morning included waking up at a friend’s house where she and her mother both had Norovirus (that’s a stomach bug if you didn’t know) and being extra worried that somehow even though I left and wasn’t that close to them I’d get it too. I was listening to an audiobook (I don’t remember which one) and browsing Reddit. Yep. The first I heard of COVID19 was on Reddit. It was just a Chinese thing then. I remember how my anxiety surged and I told myself in my best self-parenting voice “They always do this. Think about Ebola. It didn’t come here.”

Now 8 months and 2 days later I haven’t been in a building that isn’t my home in 4.5 months. I haven’t hugged any body for at least that long. Not that I live around many people I want to hug, but even if I did – I couldn’t. That’s really messed with my anxiety, because I overreact, right? I make mountains out of molehills. Except this time – what I told myself was wrong. I know this happened to a lot of people, but it’s increased my anxiety – because the voice I used to fight nonsense anxiety off was wrong.

This whole year feels surreal to me. It came in with my friend’s Norovirus that ended up with her elderly mother in the hospital ICU. Then two tornadoes spawned within 30 minutes of me on January 10th. I moved out of the Midwest that same month. Then I got Norovirus here in February. That cost me a week of my life – mostly recovering at home from the dehyrdation. Then March came and it’s only gotten worse sense.

At the beginning of this I told myself I had a job. I had to keep writing – unless the world ended, the government fail, and the internet died. Writing books, social media, and blogging was my job. I’d give people stuff to read and escape into while they were stuck at home. I expected lockdown to last a lot longer. I know that’s a heated subject but I did and I wish it had. Maybe things would’ve been different and lives would’ve been saved. I’m not a scientist, but it just seems like common sense.

Now, the world feels more surreal every time I log onto social media. People are out and about. Not even always wearing masks. Some days until I talk to a few other friends who are doing their best to social distance and stay home I wonder if I’ve lost my mind and I’m overreacting. I look at the number of cases and deaths and remind myself I haven’t. That we are in the middle of a pandemic.

I have a few writer friends who haven’t been able to write a damn thing since this started and that’s okay too. This shit is hard and real and raw and I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t at least known someone body now who’s had it. Hell, all but one of the people I talk to daily has lost someone to it. Myself included.

So, I write. I write because I want to give people something to read, I want to keep a schedule to keep my sanity. Mostly I write because what the hell else am I going to do?

Usually before I write a blog I have a plan for what it will be about. This time I only had a vague idea and it even derailed from there. Maybe I just needed to shout in the voice. Maybe someone out there is feeling that surreal feeling from being inside or so ‘socially’ distant from others while so many aren’t doing that and just need to be reminded they’re not crazy.

If that’s you: Hello! Welcome! Sit down. What are you reading today? Tried anything new since all the chaos broke out?

As always, stay safe and healthy out there.


My Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon TBR

Guys! I can’t believe it’s August again! Already?!! 2020 sucks. We can all agree on that. What does suck? Is how much reading I’m getting done this year while staying inside for my health.

This Saturday is Dewey’s Reverse 24 Hour Readathon. I missed the last one, but this year I’m on the ball. I mean, besides writing on Book 12 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga what else do I have to do??

As with each time I participate I’m not going to give up sleep to read.That would be a nightmare for my mental health and work schedule. I do however hope to clock around 10 hours, if not a bite more, of reading. So what do I plan on reading you may ask. This year I plan to take a different approach. I’ve been bad about buying books left and right through amazon and thriftbooks this year and they’re stacking up. I could try to read a bunch of the shorter and medium length ones. Nope. I’m starting Stephen King’s IT that morning. I’ve wanted to read the book for years and haven’t gotten around to it. So, I’m using the readathon to jump start my reading of that novel. I don’t know if I’ll finish it that day. Howlongtoread.com predicts it’ll take me 21 hours. If that’s true I should get through about half of it at least. We’ll see what happens. I’ll have a few books of short stories around if I end up needing a break. Usually, I have the trouble of putting the book down if it’s by King.

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If memory serves correctly this book is about 1100 pages. I look forward to giving updates throughout the day of how much of this book I eat my way through.

What are you reading this Saturday?