Episode 10: NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap Up and CozyPunk Reads

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss their NaNoWriMo 2019 experiences along with the books This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap Up

#NaNoWriMo2019 has concluded and it is now December. And here we are.

Doing is good, but the learning is in the reflection.

  • How did it go?
  • Did you write what you said you were going to write?
  • What did you learn? How was this year unique?

Plansting means I think I am writing one thing and then it turns into something else partway through the month. – Lissa

Marian wrote the first 50,000 words of a British historical mystery novel with Egyptology and various levels of success in the advanced plotting. Lissa wrote 51,000 words of a story that started out writing about a woman who creates “Book Club for One” and then another reader joins, 15 years later. And then I added the “Narrator” of both of their stories, as a social worker type of influence in their stories/lives, manipulating them from outside, and then their Narrator got harried with additional workload and sent an ancient copper dragon straight from the D&D 5e Monster Manual to Topeka and the story got….a little bit different and a little bit better. And in the end, most of my novel was about how being in a book club is very very good and also how we all deserve agency in our own lives and our own stories.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is described at goodreads.com:

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?


This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

Quotes and Discussion

“ There’s a kind of time travel in letters, isn’t there? I imagine you laughing at my small joke; I imagine you groaning; I imagine you throwing my words away. Do I have you still? Do I address empty air and the flies that will eat this carcass? You could leave me for five years, you could return never—and I have to write the rest of this not knowing.” 
― from This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Marian perfectly captured why it was so hard for Lissa to talk about why she loves This is How You Lose the Time War when she shared the idea of “Meals and Snacks” from the Malcolm Gladwell MasterClass. People don’t talk about things (movies, books etc) the same way they think about them. In conversation we cling to the little “snack” moments that are easy to transmit to others, but that is different than the bits that we mull and savor over a longer period of time. As writers, we include both snacks and meals so that consumers can use what we write on multiple levels. Lissa wants to annotate a copy of the book with her friends so we can all share the jokes, but also mull over and savor the book on her own, for a long time.

When Lissa hear about this concept of Machinebrain and Gardenbrain from Brad Rourk last week, she thought — it’s Red! and Blue! And she was very glad to be at a training to learn how to be better at Forestbrain.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is described at goodreads.com:

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

from goodreads.com

We agree that this book gives us SO MANY well developed characters:

  • Ashby – captain
  • Sissix – pilot
  • Kizzy – tech
  • Jenks – tech
  • Lovey – AI
  • Dr Chef – doctor and chef
  • Rosemary – clerk
  • Corbin – algaeist
  • Ohan – navigator
  • Pei – Ashby’s secret partner

“She was exactly where she was supposed to be.”

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

What spinoff projects did we propose during this podcast?

  • The cookbook/craft book based on The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Marian will work on the recipe for smokey buns and Lissa will knit a hat for fix bots. Maybe.
  • This book is the first in a series! We have more stories to read!

Coming Up

Next episode: The Book Evangelists will discussing 2019 in reading and our plans, hopes, and dreams for 2020.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

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