Hey there, writer.
So, uh, the world's changed significantly since we last spoke. I try to write these emails a week in advance and that was a futile exercise this past week. But now I can see a way forward, the outlines of a New Normal. It's going to be really tough, and I think it's going to last a lot longer than a few weeks. But I believe people are resilient, and creative, and we will find a way through.
Today I want to check in with you. How are you holding up? How's life in your pocket of the world? How do you feel right now? Do you need a friend?
Go ahead and Email Me, please. We're all a bit starved for human connection right now, and I want to help if I can.
To that end, let's have a round-up of some good stuff. (I've had to edit this multiple times to add new things!)
First, the book world is coming together to support one another and readers. Indie bookstores are still mailing physical books, even as Amazon prioritizes household goods. You can find an indie to support at BookShop.org.
If you'd rather go digital, TONS of indie authors are discounting their books. Scribd's subscription service is free in the US until mid-month April, no card required. And Kindle Unlimited is offering a two-month free deal for new subscribers. Binge-read to your heart's content.
Some very smart and determined writers are setting up Everywhere Book Fest, an online festival to take place in early May. The Stay-At-Home! book festival is in the works.
If you've got kids, Audible is offering free streaming of kids books, and check out the Kidlit Online Schedule, where you can find authors reading aloud from their books. Several major traditional publishers have given permission to authors and educators to record read-alouds.
You may be curious about what I'm doing with The Monster Novel Structure Workbook during this crisis. I was already working on updating it, making a new cover (I was all ready to share it!), and setting up a print edition. Well.
The print edition will have to wait a little while, as I don't want to overburden the mail service with my requests for author proofs. But I'll let you know when the shiny new stuff is ready to share. And yes, it'll be discounted.
I'm not making promises about timeline for anything, though. If you've tried to write this past week or so, you know. It's hard to get into the right headspace at the moment. Change is tough. But I'm adjusting, and hopefully I'll have something to share sooner rather than later.
Finally, I think everyone needs a little treat while we're in this. So I'm going to scour my recipes for things that are delicious and don't require anything too outlandish. The first selection? NACHOS.
Specifically, Nachos Cheese Dip/Sauce by Nagi of RecipeTinEats. This is the easiest, most delicious cheese sauce I've ever made. The secret is ideal/evaporated milk!
I like to line up corn chips on an oven tray, pour this over them, top with more grated cheese, and bake until deliciously browned. I usually get three layers of chips and cheese, plus meat and beans. I've also used this sauce as a dip, and it's lovely all by itself. What's your comfort snack or habit right now?
Again, my inbox is open to anyone who needs it. Go ahead and Email Me and I'll get back to you quickly. You can ask a question about writing or the Monster, or just vent about life. (Or you can wish me a not-so-happy birthday for later this week. Alas.)
(Speaking of venting, one last link: Comedian Lewis Black reads letters at his shows in a segment called The Rant Is Due. The most recent is hilarious and heartening. Plenty of swearing ahead.)
Wishing you health and what happiness you can find right now,