I don't think I sent out any newsletters in 2020 or posted many updates, so hopefully this will cover it all. It was an interesting year filled with panic, deep thought, and preparation for the future. I hope you all stayed healthy and are hanging in there. Writing was hard to do with the tension of the pandemic and political atmosphere. I can't say it didn't affect my writing. I watched a lot of TV and movies in 2020. My mom always said it would rot my brain but I think it just kept my brain from the fast toilet-flush swirling of everything going on around me. Any who, here we are. I am grateful if you are reading this amongst everything that's going on.
Two of my short-stories have finally published (see below). I've been hanging on to both for years. One was meant for a collaboration that never came together, the other was written from a writing challenge and then I was never able to find a home for it-although I did garner some nice reviews from horror journals. Yes, I said horror. Nightmare is definitely the darkest prose I've ever written. Just to warn you all.
In 2019 we opened a bookstore: Midnightledger.com. It's only online for now, until we find a storefront and better faith in the economy. Check us out if you want a break from the Zon.
I've been reading but not nearly as much as I used to. In 2020 I reread The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall about 7 times. It is just an amazing fantasy and dark lore read. I highly recommend this book if you love fantasy. The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes was pretty good, it felt like home being back in Panem so many years after reading The Hunger Games Trilogy. Tor.com Short Fiction for each season was good in 2020. They've had stronger compilations but I always find 1-2 shorts in there that are just so creative. Right now I'm reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, I'm about halfway through and loving it. I hope to keep reading and limit my distractions, especially since my husband loaded me up with lots of books for Christmas, including The Witcher series (woot woot).
If you follow me on Facebook, I'll be posting a lot of pictures of the stars. I'll also be doing my best to finish the novel I've been working on for the past few years.
Stay healthy and happy. I am grateful for you all.
Happy Reading! Meredith (M. R. Pritchard)
Kale is a sixth generation Colony settler. While he’s evolved to survive the harsh landscape of his moon, everyone else has perished. Being alone for seventeen years can weigh heavy on the mind, and when strange things start happening, Kale is sure that he’s losing his.
It has been so long since we visited Panem in the original Hunger Games trilogy. I wasn't super interested in learning about Snow's background and about the first 50% of the book was hard for me to really get into but once we get back to District 12 I finally felt right at home. It was nice to see some origins and history and connections to Katniss. Overall, if you're a Hunger Games fan you might like this read.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined - every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
The mountain has provided Jessie with everything a growing kid could ever need: safety, shelter, an education. Then Ginger went dark. Now Jessie needs spare parts to fix the robot, but the world outside is nothing like what’s described in the books from the Oldworld. A mountain education didn’t prepare Jessie for this. 🏔
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of THE GOD GAME from St. Martin's Press. First off, the cover was catching, bright and shiny and easy to pick up. The book starts off quickly by introducing a group of high schoolers, Charlie and his friends and the way they are pulled into a dangerous augmented reality game.
This story was fast paced with an alternating point of view. There were a few anti-trump references that didn't add to the story and could have been edited out. Overall THE GOD GAME was a thrilling, fast read. 3/5 stars.
"Smart, propulsive and gripping, THE GOD GAME is an ambitious thriller and a terrifying examination of what could--and probably already is--happening in the world of artificial intelligence."―Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away
A technological thriller with an all-too-believable premise, award-winning author Danny Tobey's The God Game follows five teenagers obsessed with an online video game that connects them to their worst impulses and most dangerous desires.
They call themselves the Vindicators. Targeted by bullies and pressured by parents, these geeks and gamers rule the computer lab at Turner High School. Wealthy bad boy Peter makes and breaks rules. Vanhi is a punk bassist at odds with her heritage. Kenny's creativity is stifled by a religious home life. Insecure and temperamental, Alex is an outcast among the outcasts. And Charlie, the leader they all depend on, is reeling from the death of his mother, consumed with reckless fury.
They each receive an invitation to play The God Game. Created by dark-web coders and maintained by underground hackers, the video game is controlled by a mysterious artificial intelligence that believes it is God. Obey the almighty A.I. and be rewarded. Defiance is punished. Through their phone screens and high-tech glasses, Charlie and his friends see and interact with a fantasy world superimposed over reality. The quests they undertake on behalf of "God" seem harmless at first, but soon the tasks have them questioning and sacrificing their own morality.
High school tormentors get their comeuppance. Parents and teachers are exposed as hypocrites. And the Vindicators' behavior becomes more selfish and self-destructive as they compete against one another for prizes each believes will rescue them from their adolescent existence. But everything they do is being recorded. Hooded and masked thugs are stalking and attacking them. "God" threatens to expose their secrets if they attempt to quit the game. And losing the game means losing their lives.
Josh Malerman is best known for his best selling novel and Netflix movie Bird Box and I was lucky enough to interview him back in 2015 (see the interview here). Inspection is just as well written as Malerman's other works, but follows a drastically different plot than Bird Box. The Alphabet Boys and Letter Girls are raised on the theoretical values of a wealthy husband and wife. Raised in fear of being "spoiled rotten" and the punishment of "the Corner" none of the children have forgotten the unexplained deaths of their childhood friends. A social experiment gone wrong, raising children on lies appears to be more detrimental to the children than raising them without the distraction of the opposite gender. Another great read by Josh Malerman.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens was amazing. I loved the southern setting, especially since I just finished my own novel set in the south. So many beautiful sentences. I need to read this a few more times.
The Heat Wave drew a violence that was as unexpected as the bioluminescent flora that had begun sprouting in the slopes and valleys of Appalachia. It was swift and efficient at breaking humanity but now Abraham’s people have come to the rescue—although, only for those they deem worthy. Banished with the task of culling this planet and others, Abraham struggles with the reality that he is different from his own people and that the relationship with his brother has never been the same since exile. While Abraham is pressured to meet his quota, the population dwindles, and he is disturbed by the violence of humanity.
Until he meets Nova. Twice. She’s the woman who got away, the single person who’s refused his offer of sanctuary because the promise of a floating city in the sky sounds absurd, even if it does offer relief from the sweltering heat and violence. Nova goes her own way. She carves her own path even in the most vulnerable of times. But this planet has a way of bringing certain people together, especially when they need it most. At the end of the world, there will be violence and there just might be a man playing 90’s tunes on a harmonica.