I often get a general sense of bleh around the winter months. I hate being cold, and I hate layering up even more, so I’ve created my own catch-22 of laziness. But this season, in addition to my usual hatred for the temperature, I’ve hit a true ennui with my reading that I cannot quite understand.

Read the full story of my reading angst at Book Riot.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that neurodiversity is on my mind lately, particularly in how it relates to my own identity as an author, reader and general human.

Neurodiversity refers to people whose minds work in ways labeled as outside of the norm. It is strongly linked to conversations about people with autism, but also includes people with other differences such as dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, and ADD, among many others.

I have ADD.

It is only within the last few weeks, as I wrapped up a young adult science fiction novel and started sharing it with publishing gatekeepers for consideration (agents, editors) that I started to piece together something that maybe should have been obvious: it is rare for a protagonist in fiction to have a learning disorder. (Like me, the heroine of this novel has ADD.)

Which is where Anne of Green Gables comes in. I adored this character growing up and rabidly consumed all eight novels in this series. It wasn’t until later in high school, after I was diagnosed, that I fully understood why—Anne had many of the same struggles that I had. Ones that were specific to ADD. To see so much of myself--parts of myself that most people couldn't understand--was cathartic.

For more about why this matters and the ways in which Anne of Green Gables displays ADD tendencies, read the full article.

It's that time of year! Between December and January is the magical season of look-backs and lookaheads--list season!

That means we all get inundated with a bazillion lists on what the best books were, and what the best books to come are, and what everyone else is sure to be talking about in a few months.

All of which leaves me hyperventilating as I try to catch up on all the cool things I missed last year, while simultaneously trying to keep up with this year.

It's a bit overwhelming, and there is no way to win. Though really, with so many amazing books to pick from, no way to lose, either. Just choose a title and get started.

It starts with knowing which lists are worth your time in the first place. Here are my faves.

Paste Magazine's 10 Of The Most Highly Anticipated Youn Adult Books of 2018

I will never stop loving young adult novels, so don't even try to start a conversation about "age-appropriate." We could all stand to remember what it feels like to become disillusioned with the world around us on occasion, and that righteous teen angst fueled by that sense of what things should be. The author of this article is a young adult literary agent and author, so this is his scene. Trust him.

Bitch Media's 25 Fiction Books You Must Read in 2018

A carefully curated list of books ranging from the deeply literary to the high-concept speculative, this list has something for everyone. What do these widely varied titles have in common? They're all smart, highly anticipated novels from a diverse representation of women. Yes, yes, yes.

Book Riot's 101 Books Coming Out in 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now

If you really want the mother lode of all the books, start here. Book Riot stands strong by its values of inclusivity and diversity, which means you can trust any list they publish to be well rounded, thoughtful and smart. Even better, the list is ordered by release month, making it easy to keep track of the latest release to download all year long.

io9's All The Most Spectacular New Comics Coming in 2018

Another very nice and comprehensive list, this time focused exclusively on comics. If you don't want to miss any new releases, this calendars of upcoming #1s, listed by month and publisher, will keep you straight.

What books are you most excited for in 2018? Give me your recommendations in the comments!

Down here, we have a saying: “Here in the south we don’t hide our crazy, we parade it around on the front porch and give it a cocktail.” Truer words have never been spoken, but this saying holds especially true for certain cities. Cities like our beloved Asheville, NC and Austin, TX proclaim on t-shirts and bumper stickers to keep their cities weird. They have built tourism around quirky museums and breweries and art districts that are anything but pretentious. However, no city has quite embraced its strangeness like my favorite city (which happens to be just down the road) New Orleans.

As friendly and upbeat as New Orleans is (and believe me—it is a friendly city) certain aspects of its tourism are not only tied to the odd, but to the macabre. Tourists pay money to parade around sites of murder and gore, and to hear about deals with the devil. It is this fascination with darkness, I think, that has been an idea breeding ground for authors. With above ground tombs, the eerily beautiful architecture of the French Quarter, and free-flowing cocktails, it is easy to get inspired. Anne Rice made the Crescent City a mecca for vampires and witches, and the city embraced the reputation with open arms, soon after offering witchcraft and vampire tours to boozy out-of-towners.

When I first got the idea for the Murphey women in THESE ROOTS RUN DEEP, I knew one thing, and that was I could absolutely not, under no circumstances, no way no how, house them in New Orleans. It has been done many times since Anne Rice first created the seductive world of the Mayfair witches, a family of connected witches with a rich back story and a deep mythology. I would never dare to write about witches and stick them in the same city as Anne Rice’s intricate, well written story. I especially wouldn’t do so with short fiction. But then…

But then a friend visited from Canada and we spent six days in New Orleans, and I got to enjoy my favorite city with the fresh perspective of someone who’d never been. We played tourist and sipped pimms cups and hurricanes while touring around town. We visited cemeteries, learned the history of New Orleans’s voodoo-doo, got lost in the Garden District, and listened to the music of Frenchman.

Suddenly, I couldn’t picture my family of Irish descendant witches anywhere else. I knew exactly what their house looked like, a raised center hall cottage, pink with white scroll work and a big porch. I could see a yard filled with oleander and hydrangeas and pink crinum. I knew their neighbors couldn’t be concerned with living next to a family of witches, after all, what was one more witch in city that prides itself on the different and dark?

I also knew my witches weren’t your typical bunch. I couldn’t write about yet another group of dark, skilled, beautiful witches living in New Orleans.

The Murphey sisters…well…let’s just say they don’t have it together. Their family is dysfunctional to say the least, and they pride themselves on pulling themselves up from the trailer park. Each sister escaped childhood, but not unscathed. They are a tangle of trust issues and defensiveness, wearing chips on their shoulders like badges of honor. Cheyanne over-compensates by being the best at everything—the prettiest woman in the room, the smartest at the table, and the fiercest at work. Marchland does her best to do no harm, an easy going vegetarian who never raises her voice. But she looks outwardly to fill the dullness that plagues her heart. Bradley does her best to slip by under the radar, never making waves, her sharp tongue and sullen nature is her defense against the world. For all of their problems, the women love each other with a fierceness that rivals even the healthiest family dynamic.

These are three very different women with one thing in common: magic refuses to behave for them and for them, things always have a way of turning out wrong. Even when they know it is a bad idea, they don’t hesitate to help each other cast. When Cheyanne, New Orleans’s own top weather girl, finds out her fiancé may be cheating, her sisters put aside their opinions of the good-for-nothing man and do what Cheyanne asks. Of course, Cheyanne has never had an eye for detail. And if one thing is true—it is that magic requires an eye for detail… And maybe there are more to those live oaks you see around the parks of New Orleans than meets the eye.

When tattoo artist Marchland needs help casting a spell to keep an obsessed man at bay, of course her sisters help her out. But magic knows intent and can read the message of your heart…so what happens when your heart is hollow?

And poor, poor Bradley. Killing a man in self-defense is still killing and killing is scary…scary enough to panic and bring a person back from the dead. There is a reason necromancy is forbidden, and Bradley soon learns that every spell has a price. And every price must be paid.

The women bumble their way around the city and through their spells, and when their story is finished, no one will be left unchanged.

About Em:

Em Shotwell is a Mississippi native turned Louisiana local who writes about misfits and the people who love them. You can learn more about her books at her website, www.emshotwell.com, or visit her on Facebook at facebook.com/emshotwellauthor.

The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:

Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.

A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

Magic Spark on Amazon.com
Only 2.99 or FREE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!

I have been sick for over a week and hardly have any voice, let alone decent mental capacity to focus ... but it's a new year! And I wanted to get something fresh up to kickstart 2018.

As I lay in bed, pathetic and exhausted and sniffly, I've spent a lot of time flipping through Twitter. And ... book buying bans seem to be having a moment? Apparently, this is a thing.

I'd never heard of it, so here is a roundup of articles to explain, for both of us.

What the Heck is a Book Buying Ban? -- Cornerfolds

10 Ways to Totally Rock a Book Buying Ban -- Broke by Books

Why Book Buying Bans are a Bad Idea -- Book Riot

5 Ways to Cope During a Book Buying Ban -- Book Riot

How to Survive a Book Buying Ban -- Blog of a Bookaholic

Have you heard of book buying bans? Have you done one? Would you? Do tell, in the comments.