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Book Chat #79 – Books By Becca Syme, Brigid Kemmerer, James Scott Bell, and Mary Robinette Kowal

I haven't had a Book Chat since October! So let's go over the last books I read in 2022. It wasn't many as I was certainly swamped with writing at the time. But these four were very memorable.

Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca Syme (audiobook)

Despite the title, this is not a book to convince you to stop writing. It is instead a guide on how to find the stuff you're good at and quit the other things that are stressing you out and you don't need. I found Becca Syme's “Question the Premise” slogan to be something I use quite often now when people say things like, “You HAVE to do TikTok or you're leaving money on the table” or “You should have a subscription” or whatever. Yeah, but why? Quite often, I find that I don't need to be doing things other authors are doing. I'm fine where I am. I just bought her new book about intuition which I'm sure will also speak to me since I'm a fairly intuitive person.

Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer (ebook)

This one was great. I wasn't sure what to expect in this book, but once the story got going, mostly out at sea, I was sucked in. There were a few twists I really didn't see coming either, and the ending got me. Now I really have to know what happens next. As usual, I love Brigid's writing style. It was infinitely readable and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell (audiobook)

I use a lot of James Scott Bell's techniques in crafting my stories so none of the material here was new to me. It was good to listen to an audiobook that reaffirmed what I already knew about endings, wrapping things up, and leaving the readers satisfied. I feel it's a good thing to revisit these techniques often and remember why we do things the way we do. That's a part of the writing craft that can always be improved upon.

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal (ebook)

I love mysteries and I love space, so when Mary Robinette comes out with a sci-fi mystery, I had to pick it up. There were a lot of things to love about this book. The protagonists were fun and memorable, and they had great chemistry. There was one moment in the book where I gasped and said NO out loud because I was worried about the husband, but it all turned out fine. Of course, Gimlet, the service dog, was the star of the show and what a good dog she was. YES SHE WAS. There were a few parts of the mystery I found confusing because I lost track of who some of the characters were. Most likely my fault as my brain has trouble with this often. The cocktail recipes at the top of each chapter were fun, and I laughed out loud at the Dry Gin Martini where you merely whisper the word “vermouth” over the gin and ice and call it done. Lol. Mary Robinette is an exceptional writer. I love her work.

And that's it for now! I am reading and listening to audiobooks so expect another Book Chat in the coming months!

S. J. Pajonas