Goodbye to NaNoWriMo and Hello To Perfect Holiday Gifts


November is over. NaNoWriMo too.

And I have the first draft of a new novel. Not 50 000 words but that was predictable. 30 000 is enough, though, to know that another story is on its way. A good feeling as November has tilted into December, which means the holiday season has started.

When my husband and I prepared our first Christmas together we realized that we didn’t exactly shared the same traditions. So we mixed and matched and made concessions too.

Mine was to agree to open one gift on Christmas Eve, something I had never done until then.

His to agree to wait until Christmas morning, something he had never done before.

And we both agreed to hang stockings on the mantel, an American addition to our French shoes left at the foot of the Christmas tree.

Later, with impatient children, we decided to empty our stockings on Christmas Eve. A stocking is often too small for a book, however books are so easy to wrap that I came up with a personal shortlist of writers and their latest book. I know each of these authors, whether in person or through our mutual writing or blogs. They are indie and traditionally authors who work hard at their craft.

This season, as you are looking for a meaningful and not crazily expensive gift, give them a chance.




My blogger friend lives in the gorgeous Seattle area and wrote the terrific novel Tiger Tail Soup: A Novel of China at War in which she blends historical facts to fiction. Since Nicki was married to a Chinese man, authenticity and respect fill each page of this gorgeously written book that will appeal to history buffs, fiction lovers and travelers alike. Nicki is currently at work on another novel.



This is from Colorado that Katie’s mind churns chick-lit stories for women of all ages. Her latest Heath and Happiness Society Series takes the reader along the life-changing journey of five women friends who have different obstacles to overcome. Well-paced, filled with heart and humor women will love each of the five books and their realistic likeable characters. I’m not a huge fan of sequels that require to have read the previous books to understand the plot, so I find this series attractive since each book stands alone. To find more about each title and the entire Series, visit Katie’s website.


From California comes a lyrically written and gorgeously illustrated Picture Book about Japanese American sculptor Ruth Asawa, interned as a child in a California camp during WWII. Writing is from Joan Schoettler and illustrations from Traci Van Wagoner. Ideal for the artsy kid in your life but also for your family or school bookshelf Ruth Asawa: A Sculpting Life is not only a biography about the sculptor behind the Ghirardelli Square cast bronze fountain – among many other commissioned works through Northern California – but also a story about choosing the beauty of art agaisnt the ugliness of war.



A librarian by trade Angelica is known for her impeccable research. From the moment she shared her title idea, some years ago over one of our critique meetings, I knew someone would publish Born Criminal. Although feminist suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage fought for equal rights not dependent on sex, race, or class she has never been celebrated as much as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who worked for the same cause. In her book, Angelica explores Matilda’s life and the unfair reasons why her name has faded in history. For YA and adults alike.



SoCal-based author Jennifer and I are still to meet, even though our paths have almost crossed several times. Her indie published YA novel Dragonfly Dreams made it to Teen Vogue, next to Crazy Rich Asians. Set in 1810 in Fresno, a city she and I know well, her novel blends historical facts and immigration experience to paranormal elements. Check out Jennifer’s other books, including her cozy mystery novels for adults.





From the unique state of Vermont comes a writer with a knack for scifi, also an excellent inspirational blogger for indie writers. Michael S. Fedison’s recently released science fiction novel The Singularity Wheel is as engrossing as its companion The Eye Dancers in which seventh-grader Mitchell Grant and his three best friends found themselves in a 1950s world and had to rely on a mysterious little girl with blue, hypnotic eyes to return to the real world. The girl had visited them previously through recurrent dreams and needs them as much as they need her. I admire scifi writers for creating worlds from scratch and coming up with vivid settings and imaginative plots. Michael doesn’t disappoint.



Years ago, I had the privilege to meet and write with Alexandria over a series of workshops. Based in Illinois, the author, educator, speaker is one of the best voices in children’s literature, particularly in historical fiction. She’s also a smart witty warm woman. Her latest Picture Book Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town is fictional but based on the history of the African American pioneer settlement. Former slaves leaving the Jim Crow South founded Nicodemus, Kansas in the late 1870s. Now the town is part of the National Historical Landmarks. The album is lovingly illustrated, always a plus for younger readers. More about Alexandria here.


Attending festivals or doing school visits is a great way to meet other writers. I first met the three following Florida-based authors at a festival which we now attend every year.


Christina’s prolific writing is an inspiration. Her teenage female readers love her popular The Boyfriend Series. A plus: each novel is a stand-alone. More about Christina? Click here.


According to Stacey she writes about things that scares her in order to make them less scary. Four books later she still find enough scary things to keep writing. From her website, more info about Stacey and her books.


Fantasy is at the heart of Nancy Jane’s writing and illustration. Her motto summons her goal: Let Your Dreams take Off! All about Nancy and her books.



And of course, adding one of Evelyne’s books remains always a good option:


All the Mountains We Can Climb

One hot summer month in Yosemite National Park is seventeen-year-old Noelle’s ticket to another chance after the tragic death of her father and younger sister.

Chronicles From Château Moines

Set in Normandy in the early 1970s, this middle grade historical novel braids together American and French cultures via the alternating narratives of 12-year-old classmates Scott and Sylvie.

Trapped in Paris

A fast-paced young adult thriller set in the Parisian suburbs.

Now you can fully relax and enjoy the beauty of the season.

No need to panic if you hadn’t yet found the perfect gift for your teenage daughter, your favorite cousin or colleague or still your grandfather or mother.

Just pick a book from the list above.

You will make two persons happy.

Happy Peaceful Holiday Season to Each of You, my friends!


  1. Congratulations on a job well done. 30,000 words is a lot to write. I’m glad you have a new start. Sharing traditions is a fun way to grow new traditions.

    • Thank you, Dan. Blending old and new is often a great way to get something unique, whether in decoration, remodeling or traditions 🙂
      Happy Holiday Season to you and your family!

  2. Congratulations on the birth of your new novel Evelyne! And still time to share some helpful stocking fillers 🙂

  3. Thanks for the list, Evelyne. Exchanging books is always on Peggy and my lists, for ourselves, kids and grandkids. Did I ever tell you that for our wedding we listed a bookstore instead of any of the more traditional venues. 🙂 –Curt

  4. Thanks for the reading suggestions Evelyne. Am presently enjoying your ‘Mountains’ 🙂

    • Oh, you’re too kind and I hope you’ll let me know how you enjoyed the whole story when you’re finished.

    • Just finished your excellent book Evelyne. Although I’m hardly in your target market I enjoyed it very much and I’ll put up a review on Amazon/Goodreads shortly. Also, your book was well-presented without a typo in sight, which is rare these days. Characterisation was very well done (though not sure perfection such as Manu’s exists 🙂 ) and Noelle’s inner struggles felt very real. Congratulations on a lovely piece of work.

      • Thank you SO much, Roy. I really appreciate your feedback, moreover since as you say you’re not exactly the target market. Thank you for the reviews you’ll leave on Amazon and Goodreads and also for spreading the word. I love Manu very much too 🙂

  5. Behind the Story says:

    Congratulations on completing 30,000 words and making a good start on a new novel.

    Thanks for the gift suggestions, and thank you for including my book. You’re right, books make good gifts and they’re easy to wrap.

  6. Although your book has been published earlier than this year, it deserves a spot on any bookshelf, particularly great for historical fiction fans. I cannot wait for your second novel!

  7. What a lovely and generous gift to share for Christmas, Evelyne, some great books here and of course our mutual lovely friend, Mike’s YA sequel. I hope my book might be there in that list soon perhaps next year…I did my own, earlier version of NaNoWriMo, in a brutal last push to finish my memoir to get it to the editor in mid November. Then I got ill…and now to Christmas. Congratulations on your 30,000 words…you amaze me and it’s so good to read you again. As always, I relate to your shared Christmas traditions with our mix of English and American. I love your wreath! Happy Christmas and New Year wishes to you, Evelyne…see you in 2019!

  8. Congratulations on your November rough draft. It is quite an accomplishment – one I hope to try one year.
    Thanks for the wonderful book suggestions! I’m looking forward to time to read after Christmas and I’ll start with All the Mountains We Can Climb.

    • It was a challenge as I started 3 different novels at the same time and had no idea where to go next 🙂
      You should try NaNoWriMo once, Claire. Although didn’t you do a Picture Book a week or was it a day during the month of November once?
      Thank you for your support and I hope you’ll enjoy the journey to the top of the mountains as you read my novel.

  9. Aw, thanks for mentioning me, Evelyne!

    And congrats on NanoWriMo! I still have yet to participate because of the general rush of the holiday season. The warmest wishes to you and your family!

%d bloggers like this: