Tag Archives: books

2018 in Ten Significant Photos

In our ever increasing world of social media, we all share a lot. But how often do we take a moment to look back? If you’re an Instagram user, then I am sure you’ve seen people share their “top nine.” If you haven’t seen these, here’s how they work: the Top Nine app goes through your feed and selects your “top” photos based on the numbers of likes and builds a grid-collage with those photos. It’s always bothered me. A “like” is worthless. It holds no value. It’s applied to photos of new babies and on pics of brunch with equal abandon. Using this as a metric, Top Nine ignores the most meaningful events one’s life in exchange for the false reality of pseudo-engagement.

This ritual is different. By personally selected the ten significant photos that matter the most to ourselves we are forced to reflect—that reflection requires thought and contemplation. We’re forced to choose what mattered and by doing so, we select moments of meaning over moments of popularity.

The rules are simple, pick ten photos from your year that are the most significant to you: positive or negative. Some moments will fall by the wayside, that’s intentional. Culling is important. Focus on what is essential. I’ve been doing this publically for five years now and I look forward to it every year. It puts things into perspective.

Enough talk! Let’s take a look at my 2018 distilled into ten significant photos.


The beginning of 2018 marked a small achievement for us. Kari-Lise and I have lived in Seattle for a decade—I think that makes us locals. I’ve never regretted moving. Much of my year was spent in my city—and I often found myself reflecting on its current challenges and how despite ups and downs living here has changed my life for the better. This town has captured my heart in a way no other place has, and it’s truly become home.


I didn’t attend too many conventions this year. But I did manage to join my friend and fellow writer Steve Toutonghi and attend ECCC 2018 here in Seattle. Overall, it was a great experience to come together with so many and celebrate the stuff we love, be sure to read my con debriefing where I go into more details.


One nice thing about living in the PNW is how easy it can be to escape from the constant rush of urban life. I’d even say it’s a critical part of living here. Mid-spring Kari-Lise and I joined some friends and headed out to the Washington peninsula—we traversed some of our favorite locations in Olympic National Park, Cape Flattery, and along the Strait of Juan De Fuca Highway. I love it out there.


I read a lot this year—Goodreads tells me I’m over 14k pages (and there’s more piling on even as this post goes live.) As usual, my full reading list along with my favorites will be coming after Christmas. It’s been a banner year for me and books, I read so many that I absolutely loved, so many in fact that it’s going to be nearly impossible to choose.


Last year, in my last photo, I talked about unexpected change—for us, it came in the form of our backyard garden plans being completely upended by a fallen tree. This year, we began to work on rebuilding. After a busy summer and fall, most of the structure is in place for something exciting. I can’t wait to see where we end up in a few years. I think it’s going to be something special. (That enormous beast in the foreground is Willamina, our English Lop.)


This summer, Kari-Lise and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. I’m forever grateful for a partner like her who stands beside me and supports me, and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. She’s an incredible person, and my days would be empty without her. We celebrated by heading up to Whidby Island and spent a long weekend hanging out and exploring. Read the trip report and see more photos here.


Toward the end of summer, Kari-Lise and I flew to New England to attend her brother’s wedding in New Hampshire. Afterward, we extended out Anniversary celebration and took a small road trip to Maine and Acadia National Park, Lovecraft Country (the area not the book,) and then Salem. It was my second visit to New England, and we saw much more of the country than we had before. It’s really a special place. Read the trip report and see more photos here.


Kari-Lise debuted a new project as part of the Lush Life 6 show during the resurrection of Roq La Rue Gallery here in Seattle. Venerate is an ongoing series focusing on modern women artists working today and the connections to pioneering women artists of the past. You can find out more on her site. It’s been exciting to watch her engage with these themes, and I cannot wait for you to see what’s going to happen in this series.


We traded in our two old cars in for one new car—partially to help reduce our carbon footprint but also because we really don’t need more than one car. It’s our first new vehicle in nearly fifteen years, so it’s been a shift. A week and a half after driving it home, the car was hit by a van while parked in a parking lot. So, for the last several weeks, it’s been getting repaired. Thankfully no one was hurt, and insurance covered everything. Still, that’s not exactly what you want to happen to your new car.


Well, I might as well announce this now. Kari-Lise and I are recruiting a crow army, and they work for peanuts. It started this summer with a family of four—two parents and a few fledglings. But it has grown, considerably. Now when we wake up in the morning there’s a whole murder waiting for us. Things are going exactly as planned. Consider yourself warned 2019. We’re coming.


In Conclusion

I changed the title of this series. I thought “significant” carried more weight than the often overused “awesome” and it hits closer to what this ritual attempts to capture. This is, after all, about reflection.

It was harder than I expected to find my ten photos. Usually, I have an abundance, but this year a lot of my experiences were closer to home. There were many circumstances where I kept my phone in my pocket and skipped photo documentation. Instead, I chose to live in the moment. Overall, I think that’s a step in a positive direction, and it’s something I want to keep encouraging in my life.

How about you? What did you experience in 2018? What are your ten?


Want to revisit photos of past years? Click on any of the links below and check out my photos from that specific year. It’s interesting to watch subtle changes year over year.

2014 • 2015 • 2016 2017


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Thank You

Thank You

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, and I wanted to take a brief moment to just say thank you to all my loyal readers. There are millions and millions of books in the world, and I appreciate that you spent some of your time with my weird little series. That means a lot to me. Your passion and excitement are incredibly encouraging. I appreciate all your tweets, emails, and reviews. So, on this day of thanksgiving, I extend my heartfelt thanks to you. You’re the best.

🍂 Happy Thanksgiving! 🍂


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

National Author’s Day 2018

National Author’s Day

Today is November 1st, which means it’s National Author’s Day! Hooray! No matter how successful the author, the act of writing can be a lonely gig, and this day (Established in 1949) is here to commemorate authors you love and help make their day just a little bit brighter. How can you do that? Here are a few easy ways:

  1. Buy their books. (I mean, it’s a given, but still.)
  2. Leave a review for their books on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, or wherever.
  3. Tell your friends. Heck, buy a few books for your friends.
  4. Ask for your local library to stock your favorite author’s books.
  5. Talk about their books on social media.

Any or all of those simple things will go a long way to encourage the authors you love and make their day a bit better. If you want to spread the love on social media, consider using the hashtag #NationalAuthorsDay.

Have an author whose work you love? Share their work in the comments!

When the Book is Better than the Movie

When the Book is Better than the Movie

This summer, PBS launched The Great American Read—a show about the best-loved books in America. You can see the top 100 list over here. Along with this series, you can also vote for your favs, which you should. (Sadly, none of my Bell Forging Cycle made it, sorry folks.)

Along with the launch, PBS Digital Studios—creators of some of the best content on YouTube—released a Great American Read-themed video on the comparison of films to the books they were based upon. It’s good. Watch it here:

The narrator is the very talented Lindsay Ellis. I’m excited to see her work with PBS and hope this is the start of more collaborations. I’ve been following her work since her Channel Awesome days, and I consider myself a fan.

For those who don’t know Ellis runs a channel where she does longer-format deep-dives into specific films or movie concepts. Her observations on storytelling are wonderful—a big reason why I am drawn to her videos. Some of my favs:

You can find Ellis on Twitter, Patreon, and of course YouTube.

You do the talking

You Do the Talking

Today marks the 2nd birthday of Red Litten World, the third book in The Bell Forging Cycle. I tend to talk a lot about my books. So to change things up, I figured it’d be fun to celebrate the anniversary of Red Litten World by letting you speak. Below is a collection of reviews written by readers. I pulled these today. All of the selected reviews are all public, and I’ll link to their location. Since it’s Red Litten World’s birthday, let’s work backward from there…

Red Litten World by K. M. AlexanderRed Litten World


“…weird fantasy fiction at its finest.”

— Review of Red Litten World on Amazon


“It is pretty rare that I like the third book in a series as well as the first, but I do. The third book in this series is just as well-paced, suspenseful and intriguing as the last.”

— Review of Red Litten World on Amazon


“Reasonably entertaining Lovecraftian trilogy.”

— Review of Red Litten World on Amazon


“Thank the sweet little baby lord above that I had Red Litten World to keep me company! And I finished it in one day! And it was glorious!”

— Review of Red Litten World on Goodreads


“Red Litten World is the best so far. Loved being back in all the rich texture and detail of Lovat.”

— Review of Red Litten World on iBooks


Red Litten World by K. M. AlexanderThose reviews sound interesting?

Buy Red Litten World, the third novel of the Bell Forging Cycle, in eBook or paperback today!

Learn More →
Buy Now →

Old Broken Road by K. M. AlexanderOld Broken Road


“…one of the few male written dark fantasies with some extremely well-written female characters.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Amazon


“K.M. Alexander knows how to craft an interesting story and I can’t wait to devour the rest of his works.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Amazon


“Well written and deftly plotted with great character development and plenty of thrills and action.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Amazon


“Wish I could rate this one at six stars.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Amazon


“A delightfully creepy journey into uncharted lands of imagination and dread.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Goodreads


“Actually a 3.5.”

— Review of Old Broken Road on Goodreads


“Amazing followup to The Stars were Right! Love the exploits of Wal and his crew!”

— Review of Old Broken Road on iBooks


Old Broken Road by K. M. AlexanderDare to travel the Broken Road?

Buy Old Broken Road, the second novel of the Bell Forging Cycle, in eBook or paperback today!
Learn More →
Buy Now →

The Stars Were Right by K. M. AlexanderThe Stars Were Right


“The book never lulls. It’s hard to put down. The characters are likable, and the plot is well written.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Amazon


“One of the most imaginative action/suspense fantasy horror/thrillers I’ve ever read.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Amazon


“A great new spin on Lovecraftian themes, and definitely worth a read!”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Amazon


“This is like reading for a book by Jack Vance in his prime for the first time, a Jeffrey Thomas’ Punktown story, or one of Gene Wolfe’s New Sun novels.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Amazon


“It is very rare to run across a Lovecraftian inspired tale that grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Amazon


“A gritty adventure through a city rich with life and death, in the style of a tale told over some cheap whiskey at a dusty dive bar on the outskirts of a bizarre Lovecraftian town.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads


“Alexander does a fantastic job evoking a tangled, towering city of hidden alleys, bustling markets, colorful inhabitants, and plenty of those hole-in-the-wall diners with the best local cuisine you’ve ever had.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads


“I fell in love with the protagonist Waldo from the start. Almost as much as I love the world in which he lives.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads


“The world is explained as needed by the main character and neither leaves us guessing about important story elements nor bores us with a world-history.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Powell’s


“If you are a hp Lovecraft fan then this book is for you. (Even if you arnt you should give it a read!) What a fantastic book!”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on iBooks


“This book changed the way I look at fantasy as a whole. It was also loaded with a ton of what I’d consider mystery as well. I read straight through the night and couldn’t put it down.”

— Review of The Stars Were Right on Barnes & Noble


The Stars Were Right by K. M. AlexanderThe Firsts are stirring…

Buy The Stars Were Right, the first novel of the Bell Forging Cycle, in eBook or paperback today!

Learn More →
Buy Now →


Huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time and left reviews on my books. Reviews (both positive and negative) are vital to the success of a novel and its future promotion. Without a minimum number, a lot of promotional houses won’t let someone like me submit special offers on their work. Likewise, new readers won’t know what to expect before they make a purchase. So if you like a book (or a series of books) be sure to leave a review.

I know a lot of readers get stressed about reviews, but they tend to overthink them. Reviews don’t need to be an extensive book report, and you’re not writing an article. (Unless you want to of course.) Just write up a few quick sentences saying why you liked or loathed a particular novel. It helps a lot.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Toni Morrison

You Must Be the One

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

Toni Morrison


As I’m wont to do, I’ve been talking with friends about writing. Lately, a lot of our talk has been around the whole work vs. passion and how it plays into success and failure. Writing what we think we should be writing versus writing what we want to write. Today I stumbled across this Toni Morrison quote which hits at the center of it all.

Write your story. The only way to fail in writing is to not write.