This year I started a logbook. I got the idea from Austin Kleon, who lays it out really well here. Every night before bed I sit with my chamomile tea and jot down the events of the day, how I felt, and what I'm grateful for. It adds a routine to bedtime that helps improve my sleep hygeine and stave off insomnia. Besides, I have long wished for a personal stenographer to capture the details of my daily life since my memory isn't up to the task, and the logbook is as close as I will ever come.

Then, I came across YA author Jodi Meadow's blog and got the idea to do a monthly roundup blog post. (I do occasionally have original ideas, just saying). So here you go:

This Month in Writing

I did double duty, working on two books at once. I finished up the surprise novella I drafted last fall and sent it out for developmental edits. Also, I put the pedal to the metal on the draft for Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 2. I have a title, but I'm not ready to make it public yet because I might change my mind. (I brainstormed nearly 100 titles before settling on Song of Blood & Stone, so I'm hesitant to commit.)

The Month in Designing

Carrying the book around in my purse to show people is kind of awkward, so I figured I needed some swag. After scouring the interwebs, I came up with a couple of ideas and here is the first one.

I made transforming bookmarks that turn into business cards. #MoreThanMeetsTheEye

A photo posted by Leslye (@lpenel) on


This Month in Reading

The first few weeks were a reading desert as the activities associated with the book launch took over. I reduced my yearly Goodreads challenge to 125 books (from 150 last year) because it can be hard for me to read in my genre when I'm writing. Specifically when I'm drafting. Fortunately, one of my favorite authors not in my genre, Courtney Milan, released a new book: Trade Me. It was amazing like all of her other novels and you should definitely check it out!

This Month in Watching

The movie Selma was way, way better than I thought it would be. If you haven't seen it, you're really missing out!

I also caught The Imitation Game. It's great to see movies where the hype is well deserved for a change.  I'm a huge Sherlock fan, and Benedict Cumberbatch's role as Alan Turing had some deja vu moments, but nothing that took away from the brilliance of it all.

So now I've seen all the Best Picture nominations except for The Theory of Everything. I'm hoping to get to that this weekend.

Also, thanks to Ines Johnson, I'm now completely hooked on 12 Monkeys on SyFy. I don't watch a lot of TV anymore (otherwise I'd never have time to write or read anything. I'm in awe of people who can consume large quantities of media in various formats. Maybe I spend too much time in the shower or something…) But it happened and now I have to deal with it. Hopefully it will be a short season. 😉 

This Month in Listening

The new Sleater-Kinney album No Cities to Love came out. I've never met an S-K album I didn't adore, but it's taking me a while to warm up to this one. Though I had the same reaction to The Woods and now I can't remember why I felt that way. So I'm letting the music seep into my pores and settle some more.

This Month in Fur

Sterlying had a good time chomping on my locs as he helped me through my manuscript.

  A photo posted by Leslye (@lpenel) on

And Sabyl had to make an impromptu visit to the vet for her swollen neck. They gave her something that made her almost too high to function and the poor thing is just starting to come down.


[well]Well, that was my month. What did the January hold for you? Let me know in the comments.
And don't forget the monthly giveaway starts in February. Make sure you're on the mailing list for entry information![/well]