Book Review, Gift Ideas, & Kitten Update

Happy Fall! I hope this post finds you will with a cup of coffee in your hand, a book with a well-worn bookmark by your side, and — if you’re really lucky — a warm furry creature in your lap. All of those things are true for me right now, and I’m happy to say that the creature has stopped biting me and is now purring. Ah, bliss.

You may remember, about a six weeks ago, when I shared the news that we adopted a kitten from the litter that we fostered. At the time, Indigo was a tiny gray ball of hisses and fleas who, once he calmed down, liked to sleep on my face. Well, I’m happy to report that we cleared up the fleas (and the ringworm and upper respiratory infection we didn’t yet know he had) and he is now a sleek, soft, growing boy who never hisses anymore but still likes to sleep on my face and also sometimes enjoys biting our feet. Indie’s a mess, and we love him dearly, and he’s currently considering doing some editing to this blog post, so if the phrase “skjhdkjfhasha” appears anywhere, please ignore it.

I think he wuvs me.

In addition to the new family member, I’ve also been working on a few other new things I’d like to share with you.

Finding My Community

I’ve been scoping out the writing community here in the Dallas area and am excited to attend the SCBWI North Texas Fall Conference on October 15th. I’m looking forward to meeting some fellow middle grade writers and learning more about the craft and industry of writing at the workshops and panels. I’d love to meet more kidlit writers in the area, so if you’ll be there too, let me know!

New Items in My Etsy Store

For me, fall means coffee* and pumpkins and getting ready for HALLOWEEN! (I have a new house to decorate this year, and I’m so excited. I’ve got plans…) But fall also means realizing that the November & December holidays are just around the corner, and I should start thinking about gifts.

I have several new items in my Etsy store that are perfect for the coffee-loving, pumpkin-loving, and book-loving people in your life (and I hope there are a lot of them because those are the best people). There’s free shipping on everything, and if you need an incentive to get your shopping done early, the coupon code FALLYALL will get you 15% off your order now through October 22nd, so grab a cup of coffee and start shopping! (<– Clicking on this link will instantly apply the discount.)

* Ok, fine. Winter, spring, and summer also mean coffee.

Website Makeover

You may have noticed that I’ve also updated my website. Take a few minutes to look around. If you see anything that looks wonky or doesn’t work right, please say something because Indie helped me with this project as well. (How long can I keep blaming typos and website mistakes on my kitten? Six months? A year? 10 years?)

Book Reviews

Lastly, I recently became a book reviewer for Reedsy Discovery, a website who shares and promotes recently released indie-published books. I just reviewed my first novel, Birds in the Black Water by Kodie Van Dusen, which came out yesterday.

Here’s a preview of my opinions on the book.

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Reedsy Discovery provided me with a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review. Content Warning: The book contains mention of suicide, self harm, eating disorders, and trauma.

Part horror novel, part journey through the grief process, Birds in the Black Water is a riveting story of the demons that haunt one woman.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Neviah has dark shadows in her past, not unlike the shadow beings, or “Koels,” only she can see that lurk behind every tree and doorway. Though the images torment her, they also give her power. She can use her connection with them to visit “The Other Side.” Neviah and her husband own a counseling sanctuary where Neviah uses her unique gift to help people come to terms with their problems. When Gabriel, the young son of a girl she once tried to help, shows up on Neviah’s doorstep one snowy night, he starts a chain reaction that causes her to finally face her past.

The unique setting and strange supernatural features of this novel made it interesting from the start. The depiction of the Koels created an eerie atmosphere—they were described just enough to make them seem real, but not so much as to make them campy. The author’s experience as a counselor definitely informed her approach to the subject of grief and therapy, and the conflicts and interactions between the adult characters felt real and fleshed out.

While much of the novel was gripping, making me want to start the next chapter each time I finished one, some aspects of the writing pulled me out of the story, distracting me with confusion or frustration…

To read the rest of my review of Birds in the Black Water, click here.

If you’re interested in becoming a book reviewer for Reedsy and getting early access to indie books in the genres that you love, submit an application!

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So, that’s what’s been going on with me… reading, writing, making things, and trying unsuccessfully to keep my kitten out of my coffee. What’s happening with you? Got news? Share it in the comments!

Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, and The Ghostly Tales of Burlington in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

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