Cute ginger cat is sleeping in the bed on warm blanket. Cold autumn or winter weekend while reading a book and drinking warm coffee or tea. Hygge concept. Text on the pages is not recognizable. Greetings and salutations!

I returned home from a vacation with that dastardly minx COVID, and so, this week, I am embracing the way of the potato.

I shall become the potato, and I shall potato most…aaand there’s my favorite COVID symptom: I forget words.

GREAT FUN. Not like I need them or anything.

So, that’s how I am: POTATO.

I am potato.

Yup, that’s me.

This year, July 4 feels super weird. Does it feel that way for you, too? There’s an election in the UK – y’all, I am sending you so many good vibes, I can’t even tell you. In the US, well, again, I’m out of words but [insert your favorite cranky words here].

ASSIDUOUSLY! That’s the word I wanted. I potato most assiduously.

Anyway. Shit is weird! I have one thing to say, and one question.

Thing to say: Romancing the Vote Ends Tomorrow!!!

There are so many rad things to bid upon, from crafts (so many quilts! So gorgeous!) to critiques to consultations to amazing reader bundles. One of my favorite (sold out!) items: a bookbinding kit to bind your own hard copy of a fanfic. I love this so much.

The bidding has been furious, and honestly, the lift the auction and the enthusiasm surrounding it has given me is not measurable. I’m in awe of the organizing folks and volunteers – thanks, y’all.

I donated a whopper of an item, if I say so myself: co-host a Romantic Times Rewind with Amanda and me! That’s two episodes of co-hosting with us, plus you get to read this weird, wonderful magazine and see all the fuchsia glory for yourself. I hope someone is as excited as I am each month to take a look at all those nipples and wild hats.

Question to ask: How are you today? What’s going on with you? I’m as potato as I was at the start of this entry, and I would really like to know how you are.

Potatos for all!



General Bitching...

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  1. taffygrrl says:

    I’m currently reading Every Heart a Doorway by Seannan McGuire. Great book…but I picked it up because I found it on a list of cozy fantasy and OMG IT IS NOT THAT. Again, it is a very good book, but I was looking for something closer to Legends and Lattes! (Seriously, commenters, if you have recommendations for things like Legends and Lattes outside of T. Kingfisher, Heather Fawcett and Joy Demorra – all of whom I love, and all of whom are a bit higher stakes than L&L – I’d love to know! Especially if they are not “only available on Kindle” since I’m not in the Amazon ecosystem.)

    I am feeling as ambivalent about today as you are. My friend’s annual Independence Day party is once again canceled due to COVID, and since I work from home with clients outside the USA, it’s just…a day.

  2. Neile says:

    So sorry that evil virus got you. May you recover quickly and fully and emerge from your potatohood.

    All here is well though I am participating in a Write-a-thon to benefit Clarion West Writers Workshop while I am so so so so tired by this year. I have promised to work on revising my novel (much wheel spinning, much reading of SBTB when I’m supposed to be working on it) and write the first draft of a poem a week and this week I got nothing. We’ll see what scraping up I can do by Sunday when I have to write my weekly report to my sponsors and share whatever words I come up with. Though I confess, I can be very motivated by deadlines.

    Anyway, feel better, Sarah, and anyone else who is under the weather, or just exhausted like me.

  3. denise says:

    I bought a Romancing the Vote bracelet before they sold out.

  4. Kris Bock says:

    What happened to comments? I haven’t seen any on any posts for a couple of days.

  5. chacha1 says:

    We did our best to potato after shutting up the house and turning on the AC, which otherwise would not have been needed, in order to mute the noise of explosions in our backyard-fireworks-legal neighborhood. Explosions which began at 1:00 in the afternoon and went on until about 3:30 a.m. because people who want to blow up backyard fireworks are not actually patriots making a patriotic demonstration, they are just assholes who enjoy making their neighbors miserable and having a legal pass to do it. Fuck you, lawmakers who allow this bullshit.

    I guess this makes me a fried potato?

  6. Jiobal says:

    Sticking to the theme, I rather feel like a mashed potato. The last two weeks have been really busy, and I was already exhausted before that. Today, I had an appointement with my neurologist. It’s only ten more days to the summer holidays, and I’m optimistic that (with some cat-and-garden-therapy) things will start to get better. Best wishes to everyone potatoing!

  7. Empress of Blandings says:

    I’m doin’ OK. I’m sorry you have the Covid though; following the way of the potato sounds like the very best thing to do.

    Work is fine, family are fine, and we have a new government! Although the success of Reform is concerning, I was delighted to see that Jacob Rees-Mogg (nicknames included ‘minister for the 18th century’ for his outdated views and mannerisms) not only lost his seat, but also got to hear the results while standing next to a man wearing a baked-bean-patterned balaclava.

  8. Escapeologist says:

    @taffygrrl – hard agree on the Shannon McGuire books, I’ve seen them recommended a lot and boy are they heavy. To each their own, for me they hit too close to home, too triggering.

    Cozy fantasy recs in the vein of Legends and Lattes:
    – Diana Wynne Jones: Howl’s Moving Castle, House of Many Ways, Year of the Griffin.
    – The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, also Sorcery and Cecelia if you like a Regency-ish setting.
    – Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill is a graphic novel with tiny adorable dragons, less plot more vibes.
    – A Rival Most Vial is a bit higher stakes but not too stressful and the found family is top notch, plus adorable rivals to lovers romance
    – check out r/cozyfantasy subreddit, lots of recs in their wiki

  9. Barb says:

    I’m feeling a wee bit like a potato that fell out of the basket and got flattened by the tractor, so I am rereading all the Ilona Andrews books I can get my hands on. Competent people who care for each other and also blow things up are very much my wheelhouse today.

    @Empress of Blandings, I thought someone made the image of JR-M and the baked beans guy as a joke! I am delighted to know it’s real.

  10. taffygrrl says:

    @Escapeologist, thank you! I am a huge fan of Sorcery and Cecilia and had not thought to look for other things by her. You also recced several things I didn’t know! I…um…got the rec for SMG as cozy fantasy from that subreddit (although it was ages ago) which made me wary.

    Today the news about the UK election is making me feel like a potato joyfully growing!

  11. Empress of Blandings says:

    @Barb – it was a very special moment. According to the Bristol Post, he is called Barmy Brunch, and was the candidate for the Monster Raving Loony Party.

    Actual film:

  12. Jill Q. says:

    I’m feeling good after coming back from the pool and a nap, plus we are heading out to see our beloved Bethesda Big Train tonight! (Very minor league baseball, essentially college baseball players staying in shape during middle of summer). I really mostly like to go for people watching and really good ice cream, but it is just fun in a way that major league baseball isn’t.

    One child is heading off to sleepaway camp next week and the husband is taking the week off so we will keep the other child busy together.

    Honestly, I think this will be the peak of the summer for me, after that week it will be pretty quiet. . .

  13. Jazzlet says:

    Feeling more hopeful than I was, Starmer has appointed a Timpson as Prisons etc minister. Timpsons can be found on many British high streets and at busier stations providing key cutting, re-soling shoes etc and have for many years employed ex-convicts with great success. Appointing someone who knows quite a bit about the re-rehabilitation of prisoners feels like we might actually start listening to experts again. Which would be good!

    Also our new to us dog is proving to be a little (well medium sized) star, she likes people, she likes other dogs, she responds well and quickly to training. All in all a big and very pleasant change from our last one much as we loved him.

  14. SusanE says:

    I’m in my second week of Covid so I’ve morphed from a “couch” potato to a “cough” potato. Looking forward to the end, whenever that decides to happen.

  15. EC Spurlock says:

    Sorry to hear you are COVIDed; I had it last month, and for me it doesn’t affect my respiratory system so much as it gives me excruciating muscle pain. Luckily my kids were off visiting my sister at the time, so I was able to just sleep for five days straight, in between cups of low-sodium chicken broth. Hope you too are able to get plenty of rest.

    At present I am a baked potato, as temperatures here have been close to 100 degrees every day for two weeks and while they keep promising rain it tends to break up well before it gets here. My garden is doing terribly between the heat and the drought and the bugs; I’ve only had one good tomato and one decent pepper so far. Keeping mentally cool by working on designs for Craftway’s 2025 Christmas book; I’m really getting into the chapter specs this year and anticipate some fun projects. And the best thing I can say about the 4th is that at least my neighbors have not set my front yard on fire with their fireworks this year.

  16. Kareni says:

    Sending good wishes to all those who are ill or struggling in any way. I feel fortunate to be potato chipper as life is going pretty well.

  17. JenM says:

    @taffygrrl, I have a couple of recommendations:

    – The Stariel series by AJ Lancaster. Highly, highly recommend this entire series with winged Fae lords and ladies, a smart, sensible magical human FMC, and a sentient Fae land that chooses its own lord when upon the death of the previous lord.

    – The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, and the second book, just released this week, The Undermining of Twyla and Frank, by Megan Bannen. Quirky, great worldbuilding, slow burn romances with lots of yearning, and smart, competent marshals fighting zombie drudges in the first book and rescuing adorable dragons in the second book.

  18. SB Sarah says:

    @Kareni: POTATO CHIPPER. I love it.

    @EC Spurlock: I hear you on the baked potato and the muscle pain. The abdominal pain for this round is NOT FUN. Zero stars. I’m going to be a baked potato all day today I think. It’s HOT.

  19. Interrodroid3000 says:

    @Empress of Blandings The Monster Raving Looney Party is always a highlight of any UK election.

    @taffygrrl Not exactly cozy fantasy, but comfort reads: Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C Wrede & A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer.

    I am one of those shrivelled potatoes that rolled under the counter and have been living in the darkness for ages. I’m having massive political fatigue because It’s an election year in all four of the countries I have called home (India, France, UK, & US). India is still in the grips of the right wing. The First round of French elections saw the biggest-ever win for the far right. We’ll see what happens this Sunday.

    At least the UK elections results have been ok!

  20. ReadKnitSnark says:

    @taffygrrl I recommend Celia Lake for cozy historical fantasy romance, some of her Mysterious Charm or Mysterious Powers series. (You can pretty much pick up any book and start there. I recommend ECLIPSE (see review on this site!), GOBLIN FRUIT or WARDS OF THE ROSES as some of my particular favorites. But it depends on what you’re in the mood for.)

    Potato-wise, I am one of those forgotten-in-the-veggie-drawer specimens. Some sprouts, some softness, a little slime…

    I’ve been going to the gym for ten days and have yet to see any results! (But that’s because I roll out of bed, drink my latte, and go. And then I play darts on the rowing machine for a minimum of half an hour because I’m damned well developing the habit of going to the gym every day. Serious exercise can come later, after I’m in the gym habit.) (Also, I listen to news and political podcasts while at the gym and boy, howdy, does that up my rowing speed! Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow interview especially upped my speed.)

    I’m rereading some of the Valdemar anthologies but I’ve been in tears several times today so they may not be the best choice. I want something light and fluffy too! Maybe I should listen to SORCERY & CECELIA: OR THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT? Or some non-gratuitous dragon violence from GA Aiken?

  21. Darlynne says:

    Dear COVID potatoes: I wish you easier breathing, less coughing, the strength to read comforting books and the time to just close your eyes to rest.

    Me? A roasted potato, just add butter, and only because I’m tired.

    We purchased a used Nissan EV (with a new manufacturer-built battery) and drove over the mountains yesterday to get it. Hahahahahahahaha. EVs hate mountains, especially with air-conditioning on blast because of temperatures over 100 degrees. We stopped for *hours* several times to recharge on our way back, drove 50 mph, without AC, windows down and a wet towel on my left arm to prevent sunburn. Readers, I was a pillar of salt when we finally got home 17 hours later, went great with the buttered potato.

    We did meet a young woman waiting to charge her EV and she admitted that the stress of mountain driving — will you make it or what? — was too much. I love the EVs, but only for driving in town, even with a 100-mile range. Homework is required. And a nap.

  22. taffygrrl says:

    Thank you to everyone who recommended cozy fantasy! So many new books on my TBR!

  23. Susan/DC says:

    For taffygrrl: I second the recommendation of THE UNDERTAKING OF HART & MERCY and am excited to learn that there’s now another book in that series. Also recommend TJ Klune, especially THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA. A rather different SF/F world, clever and charming.

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