#StoriesOfJorie | a return to blogging, tweeting & a readerly life

Posted Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Jorie Loves A Story Blog Banner created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography by Ben White. (Creative Commons Zero)

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts

what an interesting January & past few months, eh?

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tanguy Sauvin. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tanguy Sauvin. (Creative Commons Zero)

I wasn’t entirely sure what I expected I could accomplish my first full month back into book blogging but I found January a bit unsettling due to unexpected circumstances which sort of threw me for a bit of a loop, I must say! It started early-on in the month, when my dear cats (as I have two, out of the four original lovelies we adopted) started to struggle with their food. As they are each entering their ‘senior’ years – one is 13 on April Fool’s Day and the other follows ringing in her 12th year on the 4th of July – I had no idea cats can develop food intolerances and food allergies this late in life.

The irony is whilst this was happening, my Dad was starting to make his rounds to his follow-up appointments past his carotid artery surgery and TIA strokes – some days I say my Dad had a stroke (singular) and other days I refer directly to the fact he had a series of TIA’s. The discrepancy I blame on the doctors who seem to prefer to clump the ‘series’ into one ‘singular’ stroke episode, although anyone who was present in the ER that day, realises it was multiples. Irregardless, this was Dad’s first step ‘forward’ out of his hospitalisation and recovery period at home to see where he stood now a full month out of surgery. Blessedly, we were thrilled to bits to learn everything is going alright – even his levels of cholesterol are being maintained naturally; as this was one thing both he and my Mum and I were insistent upon: half conventional and half natural medicine on exit of the hospital. Dad takes a small dose of BP (blood pressure) medicine, a full aspirin (coated) as well as Red Rice Yeast and fish oil. To find his levels are maintaining a normal range when they were spiking over Thanksgiving weekend was welcome relief!

Concurrent to my Dad’s doctor’s visits – of which conclude in February, as he has a few more follow-ups before he can take an absence until the six month visit to his surgeon’s office to see if he needs secondary carotid artery surgery (on the other side). We are hoping he won’t need it – but if he does, we did remind him, you survived the worst of the worst when it comes to that procedure, surely the second time round won’t be so intense? – my Mum has been picking up extra shifts, by re-instating with an agency she worked with previously as she’s a Senior Caretaker/Companion for both special needs adults and those who are dealing with degenerative issues. She was growing more concerned about our family car as it’s a used car which might have seen better days even before it became ours. We prayed it would get us to the hospital all the days Dad was a patient, but one night, the mercy came in the form of a late night nurse and a cab company who helped ferret us back when Dad was struggling after his surgery; our car was as good as dead at that point. We did have a bit of a reprieve with the car shortly afterwards, but for the most part you could say it became the ‘unreliable’ necessity of our lives.

Mum’s computer started to crash and die during this period of January, as well – though thankfully whilst Mum took me out of towne for the day for a ‘girls’ night out’ – a bit of a rarity these days, the time away not only helped give me some ‘down time’ but presented a lovely experience at a new store similar to the ‘five and ten’ of long ago! This was the store where Mum and I had a bit of fun – she helped pick up new things for my desk – whilst finding colouring books for a neighbour, a keychain for herself and I found the coveted yet usually expensive flash drive to save her files for a wicked low price! (works like a charm, too!) Blessedly, it worked out where Mum could get a portable tablet notebook computer with Win10 (blessed, as I’ve spent three months getting acquainted with the operating system since my own computer died and was replaced!) – giving her peace of mind and renewing my joy of introducing Mum to the new apps and games! The interesting bit is how much fun the games are on a ‘tablet’ laptop because you can ‘touch the screen’ and play in tandem with someone else! Talk about a bonus burst of joy for a gamer!!

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Andrew Furlan. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Andrew Furlan. (Creative Commons Zero)

Contrary to what you might think, some weeks and months just prove to be full of life’s curve balls, as whilst Mum had a computer to use, we barely had an internet connection! To be honest, I haven’t been able to blog nearly as much as I had projected I would have this month, due to the drop in connections and the insane and unfaithful connectivity I had thought had been released over the past year since switching from my last ISP. This new one was meant to be reliable but you have to start to question it whenever you call tech support and they say “just be thankful for what you have” rather than eager to resolve the issue at hand?! I tried to explain ‘what I have’ is a dropped connection each time I hop online to do anything and then other moments, I have a stable connection. The issue was mute and we all decided to switch ISPs again, ironically going back to the original carrier, as they seem more keen on fixing the issue as the new ISP failed to acknowledge was a problem in the first place! I only felt switching originally was a good idea as I thought the new company might have a faster network or be more established to stablise the connectivity issues – this became a nightmare when I realised they are simply too big for their breeches! And, sadly I found out the new ISP makes their users ‘smooch’ off each others’ connections rather than dedicate a private line per each user’s access! Oy vie. This explains quite a heap why our ‘disconnective’ status was increasing rather than decreasing of late!

With all the dropped hours, I barely was able to post the past two weeks leading up til February – the books I was working on sharing were the following:

Current reads end of January 2017. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

As these were the books I wanted to share with you ever since my Dad went into the hospital – these are the next stories I’ll be sharing on my blog as my reviews start to post during the start of February. This stack of books I’m reviewing shows the variety of stories I love to read as this is a good cross-section of literature I love reading – you’ll see there are two Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies by World Weaver Press on top; followed by the lovely anthology of stories supporting Indy Reads Books (of which I mentioned on my review of Gifts of Magi); Dancing Through Life & 31 Men of the Bible, I was truly looking forward to posting about as it marks my first contributions for the publisher; Who is to Blame? is the ill-fated blog tour which was going live days after my Dad went into the hospital; and Such Mad Fun is lovely memoir about Old Hollywood. Getting all of these up on my blog will not only give me peace of mind but I will just be thankful to finally be in a position to share them with you. Similar to how I am itching to share my joy over Natural Color which is a beautiful book about natural dye practices for those who love fiber arts! For a knitter such as I, it is filled with season by season recommendations and creative inspirations!

ChocLitSaturday banner made in Canva by Jorie.

Even returning to hosting #ChocLitSaturday was forestalled – as I quite literally lost all connectivity sometime on Friday where the internet was only blinking a bit over the weekend, but nothing stable enough to think I could host a chat! I even had issues posting my interview with Ms Patel as I had to use community wi-fi but the frequency was low and thus, the post had to run with a few things missing from it – such as the author’s biography and photo as well as my comments running under her replies. Oy. Sometimes tech issues can drive you bananas but the migraine I dealt with over the weekend sort of blindsided me.

I think it was a combination of ‘good stress’ and ‘bad stress’ all at once. This was the week Mum was starting her new shifts and we were concerned about the car. On Saturday night, mind you, we took a chance on scouting out a way to turn in our car and perhaps, exchange it for a more reliable used car which would alleviate our woes to realise Mum would be safe on the highway but also, we wouldn’t be wrecked with worry about the petrol smell, the oil leaks or the issue with the starter. Oy. Saturday night proved to be quite an interesting night – the first dealership we went to all but rushed us back out the door without so much as a by-your-leave! The second one (and last one we were going to try that night!) didn’t seem to want us to leave at all! So much so, we felt a bit hopeful we might be able to get a new to us used car!

By Sunday, how the tides turned and we were driving back home in a different car than the one we were in a mere twenty-four hours ago is nothing short of a miracle for my family if you knew the rest of the story. Let’s just say, there are angels amongst us and there are kind-hearted dealerships who like to help people get out of a ‘bad car’ and into a ‘solidly stable’ car they don’t have to lose gray hair over!

My connectivity issues were meant to dissolve by Monday, which I was thankful about as I knew I had a blog tour coming up around the 1st of February (a tour I had to postpone and re-schedule) – except to say, nothing quite goes as planned! Earlier I mentioned my current (then old) ISP is bent on fixing the issue plaguing me at the moment? As I typed this in WPS (the alternative to Word) I awaited the tech who hopefully can restore my connectivity and allow me to get back on schedule!! (this being Tuesday, the 31st of January) Especially, as I would like to populate my blog right now with some of the stories which have been such an inspiration to read! If your curious about why I wasn’t using community wi-fi more frequently, it isn’t something that is readily available to me.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Michael Fruehmann. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Michael Fruehmann. (Creative Commons Zero)

In the fray of all of this, I started to make my ‘return’ to my reading life – as we (Mum, Dad and I) had regained our rhythm. I am the main caregiver to my Dad – making sure he takes his medicine, drinks copious amounts of water (of which he would prefer not too!), exercises and to help him find things he can do this side of the stroke which give him back more of his independence. He struggles a bit more with short term memory issues now post-stroke and the only visual clue he had one at all is that sometimes when he smiles you can see a leftover reminder and/or the fact his voice hasn’t reinstated it’s usual tone of vocality due to the surgery. He still has his good and bad days, but the fact he’s regained a bit more of his stamina is a positive sign, plus he’s able to do things we didn’t think someone could do who had a bilateral moderate stroke. His energy levels are still a bit low which I worry might have something to do with the medicines; but it’s hard to say what causes exhaustion after someone survives something so critical as everything he’s gone through. Each day I try to remind myself to be more patient with the things he’s forgetful of and to try to work around them without drawing too much attention to what is forgotten. I say I am hit/miss with excelling at this at the moment but I am trying to be more mindful of just reminding and moving on. I’ve taken over cooking full time – which ironically or not, I find my motivation to cook falters some days more than others; especially as I notice Dad’s robust appetite is sometimes here and other days, he’s less inclined about anything in particular.

I do notice a few changes in him and I of course, do realise we’re only 10 months away from the first 12 months after stroke, too. Something I purposely try to remind myself to ‘forget’ and just go with the moment of where we are rather than overtly worry about situations that might or might not arise in the future. Yet. Yes, it’s in the back of my mind – how could it not be!? The moments where he gets frustrated and doesn’t like any of the reminders I give him, I try to temper my retorts, and at the very least, remind him of why I am being insistent about watching over him rather than to allow him in that moment to think I’m doing it out of spite; which is never the case, though I think he might believe at times I’m ‘on him’ all the time. It is moments like these where I want to remind myself to borrow Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s memoir about how she dealt with the curiously curious medical condition which affected her Mum. Her Mum has a rare condition where her long term memory ‘self-erases’ itself and each day Kimberly has to draw a breath of strength, courage and patience to ‘deal with whatever come may’ in that moment of her Mum’s life. A lot of the premise already resonated with me as I’ve gone through the motions of degenerative illnesses in my family from childhood to my early twenties, as I’ve dealt with a lot of medical emergencies, crises and long-standing medical conditions afflicting my family. What I liked the most about her non-fiction release is how ‘relatable’ she wrote it – how convictingly honest and raw she allowed readers into her life and how she tried to make sense of the larger picture – how and why we might not always get everything right but somewhere along the journey we make headway, learning more empathy, endeavouring to give more compassion and always, striving for a peaceful calm in a sea of chaos.

Her release alongside one of my December purchase requests are on my mind to queue as soon as I read a few ‘fun’ reads for myself. I’ve been putting off starting my #NewYearReads – the stories I chose for a variety of reasons to begin just after the ball dropped in Times Square and yet, have unfortunately become delayed until the second month of 2017. The books I checked out to help me understand stroke were returnt half-read and consumed, because I reached that invisible level of ‘no more’ information to where I needed to take a slower approach and still read with the purposeful intent of understanding more than I do now. You have to weigh it all – again, back to Ms Williams-Paisley, we all strive to endeavour to be better versions of ourselves, but sometimes, we just have to own to the fact, we need a bit of down-time, too. Time away from the situation at hand and also, a licence of acceptance, some days we’re just going to muddle it every which way to Sunday!

Recently, despite my issues with connecting online (which by the way is my bit of joy to hop onto my blog or to share a note on Twitter), I was most thrilled to be able to converse with Ms Gray! Not only was I ‘on time’ for one of the ChocLit releases this month (as I missed a few between December & January) but I found a kindred spirit in someone who understood what happens ‘during’ and ‘after’ a loved one’s stroke. It reminded me too, I need to write a postal letter to one of my dear friends sooner than later, as she too, went through all of this herself with her loved one. The convo on Twitter arrived at just the right moment for me – it was a true lift of spirits and it felt grand to simply share thoughts and feelings with someone who ‘had gone through it’ and thereby, almost instantly recognised how you feel or what you were thinking. There is such solace in finding this in someone else and I am thankful we could be there for each other if for nothing else than to acknowledge – I get what your going through!

For me, it was shortly after my return to ‘chatting’ on Twitter – something I had been wanting to do for a few weeks but kept finding myself holding back a bit. Even #LitChat was tempting to re-join especially after the New Year, but I kept silent on my end and just waited til I felt I could resume with the happy-go-lucky spunk I generally feel and exhume. This returnt to me during #HistoricalFix where one of my beloved authors Jessica Brockmore was the featured guest historical author! I have loved her style since “Letters from Skye” which was one of the first expanded ARC reviews I posted on my blog as I received the book through the First Impressions programme with Book Browse. A programme I had to take a hiatus from in 2015. Her stories next in sequence have been borrowed from my local library more times than I care to admit, but each time in turn, they boomeranged back unread. Part of my intention this year, after I clear out my backlogue is to work my way through the stories I dearly want to read next and finally alight back inside the stories of writers I love to read!

Similar to #HistoricalFix, I was finding my way back into stories this month – wherein I sort of approached it from an interesting angle! I started off with ChocLit novellas in December which carried over a bit into the early hours of New Year 2017. From there, I found my feet again by curling into an anthology of short stories which became such a joy to review: Gifts of the Magi. This anthology is full of inspiring Christmastide and Yule stories your not expecting to find and which give you such a breadth of Fantasy and Science Fiction to read – it’s quite hard to put down! I will be reading two stories connected to those shorts soon as well: Sower of Dreams, the first of the trilogy by which the short story concludes (whoopsie!) and SHIFTY which is a collection of stories set within the Sage world by Ms Allen; of which I read one enticing short! These opportunities to continue to read the author’s stories so soon after MAGI was truly humbling, unexpected and a blessing as both authors approached me about continuing to read their stories.

I found myself indifferent to a few of the historicals on blog tours this January – one really let me down as far as how much joy I had initially to how it flipped a switch somewhere towards the middle of it’s heart and just pushed me past where I can tread (ie. The Semper Sonnet). The one historical which stood out for it’s charming wit and it’s sophisticated approach to telling a story during the Roaring Twenties is You’re the Cream in my Coffee! I quite literally cannot wait to read more of this innovative series as it just hit all the right notes with me for an INSPY Historical debut!

Meanwhile, a few stories fell by the wayside – I had hoped to dig back into The Egg and I as much as get a solid footing into the audio narration of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc; however, the hours flew off the clock far too quickly to entertain either one! I am going to re-hug Egg to Anybody can do Anything which is my third blog tour featuring the collective works of Betty MacDonald. In regards to Anna Blanc, I happily caught sight of the blog tour arriving in March and asked to be an ‘extra’ stop on that particular tour for a review as I had received my complimentary copy direct from the author in December. I did ask to be put on the tour itself with the option to interview the narrator as I was most impressed those small bits of narration I heard how well the narrator captured the very essence of Anna Blanc! I am wicked happy I have a full month to absorb back inside Anna Blanc’s world and re-live everything I loved about her since I first found her in print! (see also review)

Other stories I want to highlight this February include my #NewYearReads selections which had to be postponed until I caught up a bit with the other reviews I needed to post ahead of them.

Those are as follows:

  • A Turn of Light by Ms Czerneda,
  • Memory Box Secrets by Ms Anderson,
  • Hungry for Home by Ms Anderson,
  • A Light in the Window by Ms Lessman,
  • The Last Letter byKathleen Shoop
  • The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop
  • Jane Eyre & Wide Sargasso Sea ahead of All Hallows at Eyre Hall

I am also going to be featuring select Fantasy stories and/or authors throughout the month, as two years ago I conceived of the idea for #FantasyFebruary but had to ask the bloggers behind the hashtag if they minded if I hosted an event of the same name as they had conceived themselves. I heard back from one half of the team who green-lighted my efforts but as I haven’t heard back from her partner, I’ve been trying to re-invent the wheel so to speak on what to call this showcase of mine. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do!

I had hoped to be on the sequel to A Turn of Light by February – although how I would have managed that since the books arrived to me, is unknown. If I wasn’t battling my migraines last year, I was dealing with a dead computer and a thirty day wait to replace it – plus, I went through everything with my Dad shortly thereafter. To be honest, I find it incredible everything I did do in 2016 as if you re-look at the year overall, it was hard-hitting start to finish. I’ll be posting a full recap of favourite reads and my reading life during my 4th Blogoversary this coming 31st of March; a tradition I started as a 3rd Year.

The main reason I want to entreat inside A Turn of Light this month is because I can finally get my imagination to re-alight into fantastical worlds. January was my proving ground to myself – can I read with the same gumption and breadth I had in the past OR was I going to find each novel a bit of a work-in-progress to re-establish where I had left off?! After reading the short stories within MAGI, I happily discovered I could handle the depth of Fantasy once more and I immediately cast my eyes upon Ms Czerneda’s tome of joy! I wanted to open this beaut of a book the very moment I knew the timing was right for me to enter inside it! Happily that moment is NOW!

If you’ve been a visitor or long-term reader of Jorie Loves A Story, you know dearly I am attached to Ms Czerneda’s Hard Science Fiction series: The Clan Chronicles (read through the thread of posts). To be able to embark of reading her Fantasy series this New Year is not only a ‘pinch me now’ I cannot believe it moment (think of ‘Annie’) but a moment to disappear into a whole new layer of insight into how Ms Czerneda pens her stories – as this duality she has between Science Fiction & Fantasy has left me marvelled for her dexterity as a writer. I, too, write Science Fiction but I never thought I had the chops to delve into Fantasy – especially Epic Fantasy, as I lean towards that side of the genre; something I started to toy with the idea of pursuing whilst holed up inside the #CreatureChat’s on Twitter during 2014 and 2015; as I don’t believe I made it to one in 2016. Just to see how her ‘voice’ changes and alternates between the two genres will be wicked amazing – but it’s how she’s pivoted this series to be such a vessel of light, hope and the renewing balm of second chances or ‘re-starts’ that has me the most enthralled pre-reading! Although our friendship is quite new, the best joy for me is to share my reading experiences with her and talk about the new characters & world I am about to live inside for quite a long while as the combined pages of A Turn of Light & A Play of Shadow are 1,472!!

Jane Eyre & Luccia Gray's Eyre sequels. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.In regards to Jane Eyre, I feel as if that particular story has haunted me a bit – I originally began reading Jane Eyre in September 2013 – yes, the very year I began blogging and only a month after I went live to the world! I was participating in a book blogosphere event called: Septemb-Eyre which on principle was such a lovely event to be a part of! It was a solid month of celebrating Jane Eyre and I had hoped, as the chapters were spread out quite well, I could consume this lovely tomb of Classical Literature within the time frame of thirty days. Sadly, I missed the joy in finishing it – and then, even further disheartening, I left the book on my shelf for a long, long while. I simply could not motivate myself to dig back inside it – not until last year, in early 2016, when I stumbled across a sequel author (Luccia Gray) of whom had written a trilogy set around Jane Eyre! I thought for sure this was going to be the moment where I re-visited Ms Eyre and Mr Rochester – and I did. Briefly. The timing was off again – this time with the death of my beloved cat (see also post) and my heart wasn’t into reading, blogging or tweeting to be honest.

I tried a few times throughout 2016 to re-pick up the novel, even in-between my migraines of Spring, Summer and Autumn (oy vie!) but nothing truly seemed to be working. I did make good headway in re-aligning myself into where I was within the narrative itself and even wrote several paragraphs about my continued readings, but to feel as if I was ‘back inside’ still felt elusive. This is why I marked myself to read this story and Wide Sargasso Sea as ‘New Year Reads’ as a way to re-inspire and re-capture what I had lost. I wanted to read through both novels prior to entering Ms Gray’s sequels as they are both intimately connected to the originals.

Memory Box Secrets and Hungry for Home round out my readings of Ms Anderson’s debut INSPY Realistic Contemporary series – the latter of which was gifted to me before the close of 2016 by someone who understood how important the series was to me. I had hoped to read both stories in December as it arrived a few weeks ahead of the month, but as you might have already surmised, my Dad’s medical crisis overtook a lot of things back then, lest of which was my reading life! This series became quite dear to me ever since I first read her initial debut of the Coming Home series: Chain of Mercy (see also review). What captured me so fully into her style of writing is how authentically she tells her stories – she truly digs into the psychological and sociological heart of her character’s lives. She presents hard-hitting and compelling narratives which are current for today’s modern world but also, timeless in their heart-felt approach to telling stories of real-life ficitionalised. To finally be able to round out my readings of her first series is a hug of joy.

I should mention I befriended Ms Anderson whilst awaiting her debut novel to release and then, quite happily became a part of her Author Street Team. As moving forward past the Coming Home series, I have a chance to ‘catch-up’ this Spring to where she is currently in her publications, as she has released two of her next trilogy but not the third as she did a bit of re-write in order to make the narrative sound the way it was intended to be read. I commend her choice for pushing forward her #PubDay to ensure her readers receive the story she meant for them to have but also, to maintain the continuity and the intergrity of her writings.

I had plans to read A Light in the Window at Christmas for two years running – the first year, I was sick for thirty days (where only Doctor Who and Carolyn Steele could pull me out of that funk of being ill) and the second year, my Dad was recovering from his stroke. Apparently an ill-fated plan on my behalf! This is the prequel to the Daughters of Boston series (my own personal name for her Irish family saga!) which is actually an anchoured set of three trilogies each with their own designated names, reaching through the lives of the O’ Connell children bourne of Patrick and Marcy! This particular novella is one I ached to read even before it was available in print editions – it was Christmas release for a few years, before it finally kicked into print editions, and therefore allowing me the pleasure to finally bring it home!

The author and I had crossed paths in the book blogosphere starting at the ending chapters of 2012 and throughout the months leading up to my own blog’s creation in Spring of 2013. I kept re-crossing her path for most of the past few years until a year or two ago, when my own blog visits started to decrease as I had to keep my own blog buoyant. (another goal for this year: visit other blogs more frequently!) I reached out to Ms Lessman privately as well on those lovely blogs, garnishing a friendship between us but one I put on hold this past year, as I felt guilty I still couldn’t lay my mind back inside her beautiful historical saga! I have mentioned it a few times during #HistoricalFix, as I wasn’t sure if the chatters only read mainstream historical fiction or a hybrid of mainstream and INSPY such as I do; but I wanted to give them the chance to consider Lessman’s series.

She’s since moved into a Contemporary series, I am sure I will get into next year – as I have one prequel novella and three trilogies full of the O’ Connell clan to read this year! If I average one of her books per month, I have exactly 10 Julie Lessman books to keep me company throughout 2017! I am hoping to read one book per month, whilst reading her notes about how to write Romance in Fiction during December. I have 11 months, game on!

The Letter series by Kathleen Shoop. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.Part of my readings for BookSparks Summer Challenge was the sequel of the Letters series by Kathleen Shoop. We exchanged convos on Twitter and despite my earnest attempts to maintain my reviews during the Summer of 2015 what derailed my efforts were the 90 days of intense lightning storms and a faulty internet connection which simply could not compensate for the storms nor the damage wrought out of the lightning grounding on our lines. Thus, prompting me to exchange that service for another and ironically, this end of January, 2017 I am finding the original service bested the newer one which sadly was like finding the balloon you purchased deflated before you had a chance to smile.

Her historical novels contained in the Letter series are two of the books the author sent to me, as she didn’t want me to read the stories out of sequence (which mirrors how I felt about reading her series out of sequence, too) – she included more stories with these two I was slated to read and review as part of the challenge – as I had already decided to see if I could borrow a copy of The Last Letter to read ahead of the book included on the official BookSparks Reading Challenge tour of bloggers. Sadly, giving how turbulent my 2016 kept churning, the harder hitting stories I kept attempting to read (including the lovelies from Alma Books & Bloomsbury as well as Simon & Schulster) were simply not ones I could focus on as I found in-between my migraines, my focus to read was in flux. The harder the story-line, the more my mind pulled out of the vortex of the character’s journey, which is why I decided to wait until I felt I could soak inside Ms Shoop’s narratives without coming out of a migraine or dealing with a life crisis personally. Ironically, my entire year was one connective threading of the two and thus, I had to push forward my readings until now.

I have lamented about this previously – about how sometimes stories arrive to us at the wrong moments to read them. We think it’s the right moment at the hour their presence has become known but for whichever reason, the timing is simply ‘off’ and we have to remain patient to re-pick up their bindings and resume wherever we left off and/or begin anew or start their stories for the first time – whichever would apply per story. This is something I hinted at even on the Riffle List denoting all the lovelies which have curated into a book blogger’s backlogue – I wrote the anchour to that list attempting to even reconcile what happened in my own mind – and it simply boiled down to one simple truth: sometimes life throws you even a small bit and that small bit of time where you’ve become ‘unaligned’ from what you were doing is enough to lose traction on your goals.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Rob Schreckhise. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Rob Schreckhise. (Creative Commons Zero)

For whichever reason, 2017 is simply my year to read the stories which I ‘let go of’ at some point in the recent past, for the reasons which were valid at the times in which I pulled out of them and to find a path back inside them now. It’s not so much as trying to defend what happened – as we all have personal lives outside our online lives – it’s more to the point of finding a way to re-approach the authors whose stories have not yet had the grace of meeting me and giving those authors a chance to know my impressions about their stories. I will not know going into this process which ones will become my favourite reads nor which author will consume me heart and soul directly into their character’s lives – but one thing is definitely certain – I ache to read these stories, and I am thankful I have part of Winter and Spring to fully immerse myself into their worlds.

Most importantly of all, aside from reading, blogging and tweeting is how thankful I am Mum and I still have Dad amongst us to carry on with our adventures. He celebrated his birthday this month and it was such a special day considering everything he had gone through. I know I had originally wanted to write a singular post about my Dad, but somehow, those updates made their way into top anchours of the posts I’ve published throughout January or sneaked onto my Twitter feeds or through private conversations via DM or email. Sometimes I think the best way to share how you’ve carried on is simply by how you’ve picked up the pieces of where you left off and the hopes you have for the future of what is still coming right round the corner. We’re a very positive family – we live on prayer, we thrive on hope and we focus on the positive at each turn we can – come what may in life, we stick together and we rise through our adversities – no matter what they are or when they occur. I think for me, just to live through the past few months was something I needed to do whilst tucking myself into my shell (like a tortoise) and re-emerge after a breathing space of time away from being online. Sometimes the best things to share afterwards is how your dealing with your every day and continuing to dream and think about the future – even if nothing truly resolved except for your family’s hope for what can be knitted out of tomorrow.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I appreciate all the kind thoughts and healing notes sent to my Dad inasmuch as the supportive hug of comfort being given to myself and my Mum. I appreciate the comments on my blog which aren’t even connected to this medical crisis, as it was a lovely diversion to know my posts are still reaching those seeking my readerly thoughts on the stories I am reading – I suspended responding until now, but you’ll start to see my commentary returning as I feel as though I have more to share.

As far as returning to blogging, reading and tweeting!? I’m taking it one day at a time – sharing what gives me joy (or a bit of angst, as some of my RTs/favourites might have already reflected during #WomensMarch & #IStandWithStandingRock) – whilst letting the stories walk back into my life one book at a time. It is a joy to be able to fuse my heart back into the narratives and to find my way through the stories – even the ones that might wrinkle my brow or test my envelope for tolerances, each story in turn is one story back towards feeling as though I’m a reader in command of her reading life. There is such a delicious joy in that – as I love to read, but moreso, I love the adventures and memories reading can give you. You can live multiple lifetimes through reading – you can advance yourself forward or backward in time, and you can get into the underbelly of sociological thought which inspires the characters to act and live the ways in which they do. Reading is a joy I hope I never lose completely – even if life’s emergencies or upheavals take me a way for short spells, I pray I will always find my way back inside them. They are such a beautiful lift of joy to become immersed inside.

Thank you, too, for your patience and your understanding in my less than frequent postings. I appreciate your returned visits and the comments you’re sharing with me. Here’s to a new month of stories and a lot of wicked good fun in reading them!

Alas, if you were curious about which food aided my cats the most!? It was none other than Rachael Ray’s Nutrish – originally they were both finding the dry food to be the best choice for their systems, but in the weeks since we first tried that version of the food, we’ve come to realise something quite ‘interesting’ if you will. My little Tux (the almost 12 year old) now prefers the wet food of Chicken Purrcata and her dear brother (the nearly 13 year old tabby/Maine Coon) has a fierce preference for the dry food of the same flavour! Imagine!?

Each of them has found a renewed sense of calm in their digestive lives, they are calmer in their active hours and far more satisfied between feedings than they were on every other brand on the market; both conventionally, naturally and otherwise. Sometimes you just have to keep ‘trying’ to find the thing that works for your family – including your felines, because the moment you give up is the moment grace alights on your path.

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This post was composed on the 31st of January offline whilst I was awaiting techs to help resolve my connectivity issues. I decided since it truly was written on the 31st, it should be back-posted to the 31st. Therefore, the content of this post was written prior to the 4th of February, however, the Unsplash images and book photography were added the date it posted, which is the 4th.

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{SOURCES: Although it is not required, I gave credit to the photographers whose photographs are included on this post to help set the tone of my message. All photographs on this post are from Unsplash.com and are available under Creative Commons Zero. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Book Photography © jorielovesastory.com. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories of Jorie Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Ben White, the ChocLitSaturday banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Sci-Fi November, Stories of Jorie

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2 responses to “#StoriesOfJorie | a return to blogging, tweeting & a readerly life

  1. Carolyn Steele

    So glad to have you back online, my bookish friend! Cheers to a brilliant 2017 that finds you and your family healthy, happy, and ship shape in Bristol fashion! (Okay, maybe that was a little wink to what will be coming your way next.)

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Steele,

      Getting back to ‘Bristol fashion’ took the first six months, I’m afraid. I had a lot to work through – as once you lose that connective thread + muse to dive deeper into the stories your reading whilst being able to articulate all that on your blog; wells, I simply had to remain patient with myself. There are still stories listed here as ‘next reads’ which are still in that category of ‘wanting to be read next’ but not quite stumbling onto the ‘right timing’ for them to be. I have been taking it one book, one week and one moment at a time. I’m thankful I gave myself the leeway and the headspace; February + March were my ‘down months’ where I wasn’t as inclined to do as much as I had hoped or planned; but I started getting my footing again in late Spring. Especially as April moved into May, etc. We just have to remain patient, keep positive and make sure we have a heap of humour in our lives!

      Of course, one tv series became our ‘opus’ this Spring: #Heartland! This beautiful gem of a Canadian tv series became such a fixture in our lives; we now ache to see S9 + S10 which might be years off yet as NetFlix isn’t streaming them right now. We went from S1 to S8 from March to 1st of June! We feel like we’ve left part of our spirits up in Alberta as a result! It’s a series to champion inasmuch as #TheFosters for providing an incredible look at how families can be supportive even when life becomes complicated, stressful or where the growing years are the most difficult to transition out of. The fact it’s a horse drama made it even sweeter for me! :)

      Therefore – thank you so very much for your lovely comment – I truly took your advise to heart and made it a mission to ‘pick up my joy’ after I had lost it worried about things which were weighing on my heart and soul.

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