3 Books to Get You Into the Valentine’s Day Spirit

In a few days, the season of love and chocolate hearts will be upon us. If you’re a single pringle like me, Valentine’s Day is a mixed bag. Sure, it can be a bit of a bummer when you see couples being all lovey-dovey. But, there’s plenty of chocolate and cute gifts that you can get for yourself. Why not embrace the spirit of the day and celebrate self-love? I usually take myself out on a date to the bookstore and drink my favorite wine with takeout. 

I’m also a fan of themes, so every year I read romantic books at the beginning of February. It’s a great way to get yourself into the spirit, and also an excuse to read a sappy rom-com. With countless romantic stories to choose from, you can read any trope of your choosing. I have three go-to stories that I reread when the heart-shaped Reeses appear at Target.

Image via Goodreads

  1. A Little Something Different– Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different is a classic rom-com story with a twist. It tells the story of Gabe and Lea, two students who meet in writing class. Instead of hearing their sides of the tale, the story unfolds through the eyes of others. Everyone from the Starbucks baristas to delivery guy see their romance unfold. Their creative writing teacher ships them. The baristas watch them like they’re a real-life rom-com. The different points of view allow you to see how well these two work together despite their flaws. It’s charming, funny, and a lovely read. If you’re in the mood to relax with a glass of wine this Valentine’s day, this is the book for you.

Image via Goodreads

  1. Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen

Is it a list of romantic stories without this book? Like many, I’ve read the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy a few times. Add the miniseries and 2005 movie to the mix, and you have many ways to enjoy this classic. The mix of dynamic characters and a strong plot make this a must-read. Also, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is frustrating and exciting. At the beginning of the novel, you are as frustrated with Mr. Darcy as Elizabeth. As the story unfolds, both the reader and Elizabeth learn more about Mr. Darcy’s true character. It’s a great slow-burn romance that allows the characters to grow and learn more about each other. Each time I read it, I roll my eyes at Mr. Collins and shake my head at Elizabeth when she believes Wickham. The romance is still exciting to me, despite my knowledge of the end. If you’re in the mood for a classic enemies-to-lovers story, this novel is the one for you.

Image via Goodreads

  1. Emma– Jane Austen

Another Austen novel? What can I say, the lady is good at her job. This is another classic that tells the story of Emma, the well-off matchmaker. She sees no reason for marriage but enjoys intruding on her friend’s love lives. Meddling has consequences, which Emma must learn from to prevent more disasters. Emma, like Elizabeth, is a well-rounded character who is both frustrating and lovely. She wants what’s best for her friends, but more often than not she has no idea what that is. Her relationship with Mr. Knightley is dynamic and full of respect. When she stumbles, he isn’t afraid to call her out while helping her back up. If you’re a fan of friends to lovers stories with great side characters, this story is for you!


What books do you like to read during this time of year? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any romance novel recommendations, you can send them to me by filling out the survey here. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day! If you need me I’ll be counting down the hours until all the chocolate goes on sale between books. Happy reading!

NaNoWriMeh?

Header Image via GIPHY

Another week, another scramble to cram as much writing as possible. With work, exercise, and my other projects, time seems to be scarce. Thank goodness for Saturdays! I can go to my favorite local coffee shop and sit for hours. Coffee is plentiful, the atmosphere is nice, and I don’t look like a weirdo squinting at my computer screen for three hours.

“How is NaNoWriMo going?” You may ask me politely at future family events or if we ever meet in public. I, being an awkward person, would perform a perfect replica of the cringe-face emoji and hope you never ask me again. The thing is my productivity train has gone off the rails. I’ve been lucky to get a few-hundred words in, let along the 1,667 they want you to write per-day. As the suggested word count graph makes a steady incline, mine’s tapered off like a tiny hill next to a giant mountain.

I have increased my word count by a total of 3,743 words this week. Sure, you may be thinking, “Emily, that’s pretty good!” While this is exponentially better than I did last year, the fact that I’m 30k words behind on the writing goal is a bit embarrassing. Sure, I never thought I would hit the writing goal, but I always enjoy surprising myself. Hopefully I’ll be able to hit my personal goal of 20k words by December 1st. The hurdle of Thanksgiving stands in my way, but I am determined to make it happen! After all, 6k words in a week isn’t completely bonkers, right?

On a more positive note, I have managed to expand the world and personalities of some of my characters in the past week. I brought back a character from death, summoned a grand escape, and even sprinkled a hint of emotional growth in there. I witnessed a new backstory unfold before my eyes, giving me even more insight into some of my characters. The world I’ve tasked myself to create has continued to grow more complicated. While this does scare me a bit, I’m also excited.

One of my goals going into the next week of this challenge is to continue expand my world. I’m hoping that, with some more information, I can fine tune how everything works in the story. In the future, I want to make a visual timeline for myself. A timeline can help me piece together the history of these secret societies, and maybe even help me add some fun historical references. Throughout this process I’ve also been doing some edits to the history of the societies, taking out things that don’t mesh and searching for new ideas that work well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I know that I have a long journey ahead of me. Giant stacks of notecards and story diagrams are in my future!

Are you interested in joining me in this crazy writing journey? You can sign up to get email notifications or follow me on Instagram @teaandcoffeforemmy and on Twitter at @emiliz32695. Comment down below to let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going!

NaNoWriMo Week 1- Adventures

Hello dear readers!

Today marks a week and three days since NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month, sent writers across the globe into a frenzy. The countless characters, plot lines, and world-building unfolding every day is insane. The number of stories unfolding in the many chat forums on NaNoWriMo’s website is almost overwhelming, with people popping in to ask questions from how to describe a gunshot wound to the hierarchy of a dystopian society. It is also inspiring to someone who considers herself to be an amateur writer. NaNoWriMo writers are bonded in this very specific quest to bring a world to life in 30 days, and they somehow have the time to offer advice and be the cheerleaders I need at 11 pm.

In the past few days I’ve given my creative brain enough jolts of espresso to get back up on the writing hamster wheel. Through what I can only call my “Emily determination”, I’ve managed to write more than I ever thought possible in one week. As I write this post, I have reached 10,797 total words! While I’m not on track for a sparkly first draft on November 30th, these 10k words are like a badge of honor.  Last year I wrote a total of 6,223 words over the entire month. You could say I’ve made progress!

The story I’m writing this year required much more planning and outlining than the one that popped into my head the year before. In June a crew of thieves slipped into my mind and refused to leave. They told me a story of cons, underground societies, and an oblivious college student who somehow gets caught up in the middle of their adventures. Even though I’ve written a rough outline and have a Pinterest board with my characters neatly lined up, they’re still telling me new information as month moves along.

Storytelling for me is usually like that. I’m brushing my teeth, or sending an email, and a character pops in my head. They start weaving a tale of their adventures, their worries. However, they never start the at the beginning, so it’s up to me to figure out how they record scratched and ended up in their extraordinary circumstance. I’m always left diving for a nearby notebook or my phone so they don’t turn into wisps and disappear from my mind before I can solve their mysteries.

Over the next few days and weeks, that’s what I hope to uncover. I’m putting on my deer stalker and channeling my inner Agatha Christie to solve the case. How does my character wind up in this gang? Why does she stay? That, and much more, will unfold before my eyes as I join them down the rabbit hole.

Want to follow my adventure as I try to write a novel? You can sign up to get email notifications, or follow me on Instagram @teaandcoffeforemmy and on Twitter at @emiliz32695. Comment down below to let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going!

The Journey Begins

Friends, countrymen, lend me your ear.

Or your eyes. Eyes are more appropriate.

I, Emily Elizabeth Thompson, am about to embark on a quest that could be considered a terrible idea or a great creative outlet –– that will be determined at the end of this adventure. The word “adventure” is stretching it, because for most the task of writing is nothing more than a yearly or everyday occurrence. To me, the grocery store or a trip to the nearest cat café is an adventure. With that in mind, come with me down the rabbit hole as I join the adventure of NaNoWrimo.

What is NaNoWrimo, you may ask? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a national event every November where writers commit to creating a novel – at least 50,000 words – in 30 days.  It’s a great way to challenge your creativity and exercise your writing muscles. However, it’s also a huge undertaking. The goal of 50,000 words is a walk in the park for some, while others sweat bullets to write a thank you note.

Those people include me. I have done some writing in my time, with social media apprenticeships and writing classes in college. However, I’ve always felt like the person gasping to keep up in a marathon where everyone’s miles ahead. I would sit in my poetry class and feel the grip of anxiety while my classmates chattered about rhyme schemes and iambic pentameter. I always became lost in the technical side of writing, which I refer to as the “math side” of the craft. My sister is blessed with the magical understanding of sentence structure, but apparently that is something that can’t be passed on between identical twins. This lack of understanding and a self-conscious outlook kept me away from something that, as an avid reader, I should love.

My quest for this November is to rediscover my love of writing, and to gain confidence in my ability to tell stories. Hopefully, I’ll have a story at the end that I can one day turn into something more. While 50,000 words is the goal, I’m going to give myself a more realistic one. By the end of November, I need to write between 8,000 and 10,000 words. I also want to build out my world and characters to make them more developed by the end of the month.

Thankfully, the story I’m focusing on popped in my head during my lunch break in July, so I’ve had time to start creating some of characters and building a rough outline of the story. With my Pinterest board and ideas in hand, I hope to conquer my fears and end November with something that remotely resembles a good story. I’m also going to post here about my writing, because apparently, I’m a crazy person who wants to give herself more work during the busy holiday season.

If you are also going on this journey, I hope you have a lack of plot bunnies and a bountiful snack stash. If you’ve read this and thought, “Emily, what the heck is this and how do I find out more”? You can learn more about NaNoWrimo and all of the great work that also comes from this month at https://nanowrimo.org/.

Happy Writing!