Friday, December 29, 2017

Bye, bye, 2017...

It’s the final post of the year, in Too Many Books to Count! I can hardly believe January is just around the corner. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready for it, at all. I was having too much fun with Christmas, wore myself out, and now the end of the season is here. The holidays are almost done, the year is almost through… and I find myself wanting to say a few final words, before we say goodbye to 2017.

2016 was a year that I felt I had to defend. Everyone was angry at 2016 (or so it seemed), while I thought it was a fabulous year.

2017… I don’t honestly know what I should say about this year.

It’s been an interesting year, without a doubt. It was the year I got promoted to assistant editor, the year I released Dwr and Letters from Hell, the year of so many great and fun things—but it was also the year we suddenly and unexpectedly said goodbye to my grandmother. None of us thought that would happen so soon. We thought we had years and years to go, that she was the strong one who would live on well past others who now live on without her. And so she is, living on, just not where we can see her. But sometimes I do feel her looking at me and laughing, especially when I remind people of exactly what she would say in a given situation.

2017 was predominately a good year. Many amazing things happened in my life. Things put themselves in order, got themselves to where I both needed and wanted them to be. I grew and developed relationships, I expanded my writing, I learned things about craft that had been eluding me for years, and I finally got back into reading. I started new books and scrapped them, I finished writing the last of the Druid Novels, I laughed until my sides hurt, I cried until I couldn’t breathe… but it was a good year.

As 2018 approaches, I find myself wondering what it will behold. What amazing things, what sorrowful things, what beautiful and tragic things will take place in the coming year? What will we all become, by the end of 2018? 

We’ll have to get there to find out.

But the thing I really want to remind you, is this:

If you go into something with positivity, you’re only one step ahead of most. Keep your positivity, keep your optimism, don’t let the world drag you down into its uncertainty. Don’t let anyone else define you or tell you what you’re supposed to be. That’s up to you. Your year is what you make it, your year is what you mold it to become. And yes, some of the things that make up this year will not be under your control, but your response to those things? Yeah, you get to decide that.

So keep your head up. Your year is what you want it to be.

Let’s make it a good one, shall we?

[love and cheers to 2018]

{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Hey guys!

How was your Christmas? 

You know how, when you grow up with one thing, it’s hard to conceptualize something different? Like, I grew up with Christmas, just Christmas, so I sometimes have difficulty even remembering that other holidays exist, or that some people would choose not to celebrate Christmas. I don’t mean that in an ignorant way. No, I know there are other holidays, and I know that other people celebrate them, but I don’t celebrate them, so sometimes they don't occur to my slightly childlike mind. I don’t have a need to remember on them, to focus on them. For instance, I’m not Jewish, so I don’t celebrate Hanukah. I think it would be presumptuous of me if I did, because, again, I’m not Jewish. But if you’re Jewish, I will wish you a happy Hanukah (if I know you celebrate it, anyway). But then, why would you wish me one, if you know I don’t celebrate it? Wouldn't that be silly?

I’ve gotten off on a topic I didn’t intend. 

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t. I don’t think we should all be careful what we say, so that we don’t offend anyone. I think that we should all grow a spine and get used to the fact that if you live in the real world, surrounded by real people who have very different beliefs from your own, you’re probably going to hear something that offends you, every so often. In fact, you’re probably going to say something that offends someone, without even knowing that it’s offensive.

It’s a product of the different ways we were raised, and there’s really no way around it. We all just need to get used to it. And while, yes, we should be cautious so as not to outright state something with the intention of offending others, we should also be aware of the fact that parts of our lives will be offensive to others—and that parts of their lives are offensive to us. Deal with it. Nothing you can do about it. I celebrate Christmas, as a Christian. That's offensive to some people, but that doesn't mean I'm going to change the way I celebrate, or stop telling people to have a Merry Christmas.

This wasn’t what I wanted to talk about today. Actually, I was going to talk about my first Christmas without my grandmother. Then I started typing, and all this came out. But I really think that this is something we all need to hear, and it’s something that pertains to our writing as well.

Don’t be so cautious in your writing that you’re afraid of offending one of your readers. I can nearly guarantee you that I’ve offended people with some of the things that I’ve posted online, some of the things I’ve written in my books. In many ways, my beliefs are quite clear based on the themes of my writing. In others, my beliefs couldn’t be farther from the things I write. That’s what we need to be okay with.

Your writing is a reflection of you, yes, but it is not you. It doesn’t have to conform to everything you believe in, it doesn’t have to be politically correct, it doesn’t have to bend to the rules of society. In fact, it probably shouldn’t do any of those things—a lot of the time, that’s what makes writing better.

Don’t follow the rules. Don’t do what society says you should do. Those are the books that stand out in a crowd, the stories that people don’t forget about.

And I think that’s a great note to leave off on, as we approach the end of the year.

(don’t worry, I still have one more post coming up before the year ends)


{Rani D.}

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Divine Christmas

Hey everybody :)

Thanks for checking in!

Now that we’ve completed our series for the month, I have a few personal things I’d like to take some time to talk about. It’s the holidays, it’s Christmas for my family, Christmas and New Year’s, and there’s a lot to celebrate.

So, that’s what I want to talk about! The traditions with which my family celebrates the holidays.

A Divine Christmas, as it were.

We love to decorate. At least, my mum and I do. We really do pretty much everything together, but this time of year is when we’re practically inseparable. We decorate the house together, we do some of our Christmas shopping together, we help each other with ideas for what to get whom, we bake, we cook, we clean—the whole nine yards in my family, that’s pretty much done by Mum and me. I’m the assistant.

Well, we start by decorating. Thanksgiving is actually Mum’s favorite holiday, so we make sure we give it its due attention. We do a turkey, cook up a ham, and make all the fixings… only to eat it all in about an hour (there’s also more desserts than there are people, usually). After Thanksgiving though, that’s when my favorite time of year comes in.

Mum and I decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, generally. Sometimes it takes us a little longer, but not usually. We’re in a new house this year, but even then, it only took us an afternoon and evening to get everything done. We never bother to decorate the outside, but we go all out inside. Porcelain villages, bows on picture frames, stockings over the staircase, wreaths on the walls, red and green sprinkled everywhere through the house—and four Christmas trees to top it all off (don’t worry, three out of four are little ones).

That’s our first tradition. 

And in case this made you curious, yes, I do currently live with my parents. I love it. They've graciously opened their house to me, and we have so much fun together. It's great to be here, with them, especially through the holidays.

Our second tradition is cookies. The girls of the family make a million (not literally) Christmas cookies every year. Usually, we do a double batch of almost everything, but lately, we’ve toned it down a bit. The past couple years, each of us pick our favorite kind of Christmas cookie, and we add in our family favorite. Then the girls pick a day and spend almost the whole of it on our feet, mixing doughs, rolling cookies, baking, decorating, everything. And we have so much fun with it! …and there are always far too many cookies leftover.

The third is relatively new. Actually, we’ve only been doing it for a few years, and already we’ve had to change things around.

On Christmas day, we eat Indian food. Mum and I are very adept at making it, and it’s a lot of fun, but this year, my Great Grandmother will be joining us for the holiday—and we didn’t want to scare her off by the idea of Indian cuisine. So, we’re flipping New Year’s and Christmas around. Usually, Christmas is Indian food and New Year’s is a prime rib roast. This year, it’s the other way around.

Can you tell how much my family likes cooking, and food in general? Yeah, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

But that’s part of what makes us, us. We’re the Divine’s. We have our little traditions, most of which revolve around food, and that’s the way we like it.

You’d think it a wonder that we all stay as fit as we do, but remember, we’re also pretty fond of staying in shape.

What traditions do you and your families have, this time of year? I’d love to hear all about them!

[Merry Christmas]

{Rani D.}

P.S. Next week, since Christmas is on Monday and by Tuesday I might be a bit exhausted, I’m planning on posting my blogs on Wednesday and Friday. Next year we’ll get back to the normal schedule, promise. :) Thanks for understanding!