January 2020 Ishness!

It’s only been FOREVER since I posted one of these, but I want to get back into the habit of writing Ishnesses, so here’s a recap of January!

Today I’ve got an update on my writing/reading/watching/listening, as well as some photos I took, and other thoughts. So let’s get to it!

(I plan to have a 2019 recap post soon too, but I got this one done first. XD)


I took a writing hiatus in January, and it was so refreshing! After writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo, and another 7K (finishing my WIP novella!) in the midst of Christmas craziness in December (which is when I usually take a writing break), I was ready to recharge.

I did start a new writing journal, though—a gorgeous Christmas present that I’m in love with! It’s my 11th in a series of yearly writing journals I start every New Year.

I also popped out of writing hiatus to write the second installment of my Urban Fantasy serial Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole, which I posted last week!

(Images via Unsplash)

That was the first writing I did this year (decade??), and it felt marvelous to dive into after a three-week break following finishing Double Lives at Kedran’s Wood in the final days of December. Also, I wrote it on my “Writing Day” (January 20th), on which I’ve written at least something every year since 2010. (Bonus: that’s also my character Tare’s birthday.)

I’m not sure what my writing goals are this year, but after taking a month off to refill my creative tank, I’m looking forward to dipping back into writing again now that it’s February. 🙂


I read fifteen books in January! (I use the term “book” loosely. XD)

Seven novels (ish?), four short stories (one on audio), two anthologies, and two nonfiction works about writing.

Some of these I beta-read or copyedited (I edited 400,000 words in January, so . . . that took up some time. XD), and there were a couple of review books, and the rest I just slipped in for fun.

I’ll post a complete list on my book blog with brief thoughts on each, later, hopefully. 🙂

Highlights were Winter Spell by Claire M. Banschbach and The New Emperor’s Concerto by Hazel B. West! Both are releasing this month (I can’t wait to see their covers!) and y’all need them in your life!

(The physical books I read in January.)


My watching this month has been rather assorted. A couple of random action movies, re-watching the first Thor movie (I forgot how much fun that one is!), finishing the first season of Trollhunters, finishing the sixth season of NCIS, a couple of random fantasy movies (Dragonheart and Earthsea, both . . . strange but with good parts), and Arthur Christmas—which was hilarious and so much fun. XD


I’m still obsessed with Burn the Ships by For King and Country. *grinning*

I planned to get back into audiobooks this year, and I did! Albeit in a small way. I listened to a short story, Elapse by Sarah Holman, and quite enjoyed this Kingdom Adventure tale, which made me excited to read the next book in the Tales of Taelis series.


(Most of these were on my book blog.)

Cover reveals

Other posts


I got a nasty flu a week into January and spent most of the month sick and trying to stay on top of work and commitments. But it was a good month, regardless. 🙂

I went to a writer event and got to see authors and talk with friends new and old, which was fun.

Those are the main things not represented by pictures. XD So here are some photos from this last month!

It’s the little things. Drinking lots of tea from this new mug I got. Setting up my new journals for the year. Getting back into using calligraphy pens, to spice up my journals.

Nature pics from rain and sunshine! My cat and a good book helping me beat the flu. Sparklers on New Year’s Eve and watching the decade turn at midnight. Going to a horse farm event where I got to see an old friend and watch talented people train and ride gorgeous horses.

I got to trek through some rainy woods and while I was looking at a HUGE tree my brother snapped this picture of me. (Sometimes I forget my hair is that long because I don’t see it!)


I absolutely love this quote from Winter Spell (by Claire M. Banschbach)—a book that I copyedited this last month. I loved this so much I had to write it out in calligraphy and prop it on my nightstand as a reminder. It’s been so inspiring. ^_^

Other musings and things I’m learning include that I’m afraid of change (I’m Baggins-ish and don’t always have that Tookish adventurous spirit!), but that even when things are scary it’s still probably going to be okay and I need to stop worrying so much.

Breathe. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word. I don’t really choose a word for the year like some people do, but if I did, I might pick this one. Breathing is literally the number one thing that keeps us alive, physically, and this might be a hint about needing to metaphorically breathe—to rest and take time between things. I spend a lot of time feeling stressed or behind or trying to conquer the never-ending to-do list. But slowing down and taking time out for resting and recharging is so important. I’m trying to remember to stop and breathe in this way. Last week I took a whole day with the internet turned off and my to-do list cleared, and I rested up—I read some short books, napped, watched a movie, sat in the sun for a few minutes, and just breathed and de-stressed, and it was fabulous. Just a reminder (mostly to myself!) that we are not machines and we can’t keep going every minute, nor should we.


I’m hoping to make some writing goals and get back to that, as well as catch up on review books, keep up with editing jobs, and finish up some other life projects. We’ll see how the month goes . . .

It’s February Fantasy Month, hosted (for the fifth time!) by the fabulous Jenelle Schmidt! So be sure to check that out for giveaways and fantasy awesomeness! Not sure if I’ll have a chance to do much for that, but I hear there’s a tag, and an Instagram challenge, and I might post some reviews . . . We’ll see!

Also . . . we get a leap day. How cool is that? 😀

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my January! If you read this far, you deserve a cupcake. *offers virtual cupcakes*

What have you been up to so far this year, and what are your February plans?

Thanks for reading!

19 thoughts on “January 2020 Ishness!

  1. I love your Ishness posts! Fun to see all the things you’ve been reading and watching and doing and learning… and getting to learn them vicariously a bit, too, because OH MY GOODNESS I need to relearn how to breathe.

    The metaphorical kind. Of course. Not the actual kind. Though I did get a bad cough in the middle of January and spent two nights lying in bed actually having to THINK about breathing and worrying a little bit because I was having to think about it so much that I was afraid that if I fell asleep I might just stop. That was scary. As one who has never dealt with breathing issues or asthma, EVER, that really freaked me out. And was a little eye-opening.

    But thankfully I didn’t stop breathing.

    Anyway, the “slow down” sort of breathing is something I need to relearn, somehow. I told a friend on the phone the other day that I have forgotten how to rest. I’ve been going so very non-stop for the last 18 months with building the house, writing all the things, and now I’m diving seriously into editing and polishing all the books… I just don’t know how to sit still and not “get the next thing done.” The to-do list has become too heavy to put down. So this is a good reminder…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aaahh, thank you so much! Believe me, I still haven’t totally learned, but I’m trying. XD (Uggghh, that’s awful! 😦 I hate when you have to actually think about breathing. I’m sorry you had to deal with that with your cough! *hugs*) I sooo often forget to rest too, so I hear you! I’m glad this was a good reminder! (And speaking of reminders… I keep thinking that since you like talking on the phone and I don’t, I should totally start having phone convos with you to teach me to like it. XD) Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I hope you’re able to do some of that “slow down” breathing after February! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad it seems like you had a nice month! I do agree on learning to breathe; it’d be nice to be able to relax without feeling like I’m terrible for not doing anything, or to be able to do something without feeling like I”m terrible for not doing something else. I enjoyed seeing what you got to do this month, and I hope you have a nice February!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ISHNESS POST. YAAAAY!!!I I have missed these!

    It looks like you read so many lovely things in January! All those books ON TOP of all the editing projects. o.o WHOA. You read a LOT! I definitely need to get Beyond the Shadowed Earth sometime. And I cannot waaaait to read The Geppetto Complex EEP!

    Oooh, you’ve been watching Trollhunters? I LOVED that show. And it just gets better and better as it goes on. I got so fond of those precious characters. :’)

    Loooved seeing all those beautiful pictures. THE ONE WITH THE BEE. *heart-eyes* And the pic your brother snapped of you by the tree is gorgeous. You look like a woodland elf waiting to grant some passersby a wish. ^__^

    I am SO with you on learning how to breathe. It’s something I’m working extra hard on since the new year. It’s forever a work-in-progress, but I have been noticing a mental shift. But yes! It is SO hard. It’s crazy how we literally have to LEARN to rest! I loved your thoughts on that! ❤

    Thank you for sharing all this loveliness with us! I do hope your February is full of spectacular things!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you!! I have missed writing them! 🙂

      Heheh, I did read a lot. XD And yessss! You would love both books!

      YES TROLLHUNTERS! I guess I’m only half done the series, but it’s so much fun! ^_^ Blinky and Argh and everyonnnne!

      Aww, thanks! I’m so glad you like the pics! A WOODLAND ELF?? Best. Thing. Anyone’s. Told. Me. XD *blushes*

      You are actually one of my big inspirations about learning to breathe! I so so so want to work on it more on a daily basis like you do! Weekly is about all I can manage right now, but I’m definitely trying to work on it. And yes, it is crazy we have to learn to rest. XD

      Thank you! I hope yours is as well!!


  4. Breathing is a good thing and something I need to remind myself to do a lot, sadly not metaphorically. Yes. There are a few strange people in the world, myself included, who do this. When I get stressed out or am just reading a captivating book, I tend to hold my breath and only remember to breath when I’m literally gasping for air.

    I’m so glad you had a good month. It sounds like you were really productive! Also, happy belated birthday to Tare! I love your Ishness posts! I saw this one pop up in my inbox today and almost gave a tiny shout of jubilation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my word, I totally do that too! If I’m reading or watching something super intense I stop breathing and have to remember to take a deep breath eventually!

      Thank you! (Tare thanks you as well. :)) And aaahh! That makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy my Ishness posts! DAY MADE! ❤


  5. Your part of the world is so GREEN. I’m jealous. Everything’s grey and brown and white and rainy/snowy up here. It’s an Actual Tragedy. (I mean, it’s also standard Ohio fare, but . . . yeah. I will complain no matter what.)

    Also, your journal pictures are so pretty! I am very impressed that you can keep up with journaling stuff.

    Glad to see your Ishness return!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That journal is gorgeous and I love that quote too! It sounds like the majority of your month was wonderful! Taking a day to breathe is definitely important. I started doing that weekly a few years ago and it helped me so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Ishness! February 2020 | The Road of a Writer

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