Sending love, hope, free books, and other indoor distractions. Stay Safe. <3
Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Hey there, humans. Well, I'll be completely honest, the world is a lot different than it was the last time we talked and I'm a little at a loss about what to post. But I wanted to reach out to all of you and try to do some good, so we're gonna give it a shot.
I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are managing as well as possible, wherever you are. Saying times are difficult right now is an understatement, and the upcoming weeks are going to be interesting for us all in plenty of ways, so this newsletter is going to be a collection of positive distractions and ways to fill time (for yourself or others who might not usually be home and aren't sure what to do with themselves no that's not a subtweet) while you're staying inside.
This is lengthy, and some of it might seem obvious, but I spent most of the weekend checking in and organizing things with my family and it made me remember that not everyone has the same "obvious".
Juggling how-do-I-do-this texts from seven younger siblings over the last few days also reminded me that older sibling is a skill I still have, and suggesting shit for them to do has been my job forever, so maybe I can provide some relief for people that way. It isn't much, but it's something. I hope something on this list gives you a lift and few minutes or hours of distraction if you need it. ❤️
This is crossposted from my newsletter, and I'll try to do another roundup over the next few weeks if I can. You can sign up for my newsletter here if you like.
BOOKS & STUFF
Okay, first up, I'm using my free days to make three of my longest books free this week on Amazon. (My books are all in KU, but these three are free-free for everyone until Friday.) Old School Discipline, Working Out the Kinks, and Looking for Trouble are all 100k+ word, chunky books, so lots of reading hours if you haven't read them yet. So, if long kinky romances sound like a nice distraction right now, please enjoy.
Old School Discipline:
*kinky college roommates
Working Out the Kinks:
*kinky former stepbrothers *grumpy rockstar *i-love-you hero vs don't- love-me hero
Looking for Trouble:
*Cowboy Daddy Kink *forced proximity *piiiiining
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins is a book I recommend endlessly, and it's also free right now. (And super long!) If you like college roommates who hate each other except totally don't, this is that stuff. Also there's an excellent bathtub scene and red hot voyeurism!
If you're looking for something more on the quick, light, and funny side of things, I totally recommend JA Rock's Wacky Wednesday series about a bodyswitching dom and sub couple!
His Roommates Pleasure is also a shorter one, for folks who aren't up for epics right now. Everyone I know adores this one!
I won't pile this with book recs right now, but if you're looking for specifically kinky book recs, I have a whole page devoted to that here. (And even a few vanilla ones!)
I know a lot of us will probably be doing more reading than usual in the days to come, and while I’m obviously fully in favor of supporting creatives as much as possible right now, I also know a lot of us are trying watch our spending habits closely. So here are some bookish resources that might help if reading is your coping mechanism but you're also trying to stretch your dollars and/or you’re looking for ways to expand your reading pool.
Kindle Unlimited: If you don't have Kindle Unlimited, Amazon offers a free trial for your first month, so this month might be a good time to check it out. You can borrow ten eligible books at a time and read as many as you want in a month. (It’s $9.99 a month after your trial.) If you already have KU, I went to cancel mine yesterday and they offered me three months for $9.99 if I stuck around, so FYI if you're already a subscriber. Scribd is another ebook borrowing subscription service that offers a 30 Day free trial. Sorry, I haven't used it, so I can't offer much insight, but they also offer audiobooks, if that's your thing. Prolific Works: Some of you might still know this as Instafreebie. Everyone still calls it Instafreebie lol. Authors use this site to give away free books and short stories! You can sign up for their newsletter and they'll send you daily links to some of the giveaways currently happening in different genres. Authors usually ask you to sign up for their newsletters in exchange for books, which means finding even more books! (The Prolific Works homepage isn’t really very reader friendly, but if you scroll to the bottom, you can see some the of giveaways currently happening.) Bookbub: If you subscribe to the Bookbub newsletter, they'll send you links to free and sale books in your chosen genres every day!
Author newsletters and websites: Loads of authors give away free books, short stories, bonus chapters about your favorite characters, opportunities to join their ARC lists, etc! Check your email for their newsletters or hit up your fave's website, you might be pleasantly surprised!
LGBT Romance and Sweet & Spicy are two LQBTQ+ book promo sites that send out weekly newsletters filled with sales, new releases, and books you might have missed. Right now the LGBT Romance Deals homepage is filled with a long list of books that are currently free. And don't forget that you can check out ebooks from libraries! Library Extension is a browser extension you can add to your desktop to easily find out if an ebook is available at your library! Lastly, I probably shouldn't mention your towering TBR or all those paperbacks you have stashed that you're going to read one day, but looking through those is always an option, lol! (I know a lot of us are mood readers though, or don't really need to be overwhelmed like that right now, so don't feel guilty if you need to read something new!)
Okay, let's move on from books. How about movies and tv? This is my go-to right now, since my attention span is a little short for much reading. I’m doing a Veronica Mars rewatch on Hulu and I’m binging some holiday movies that I missed on Netflix. If you don’t use streaming services or haven’t tried them all, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and YouTube Premium all offer free trials. (I know there are others, but those are the ones I’ve tried.) Hulu and Amazon also offer free trials of add-on channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. (Blew my brother’s mind today when I told him that lol.) And you can save money by bundling your Hulu and Disney+ if you have both! Poke around in your accounts, humans, you might have cheap/free entertainment waiting for you! On Sunday, my two sisters and I talked my mom through hooking up Netflix via a group text. My mom is 65, has never really learned how to use the internet, and is not a patient person, BUT WE DID DO IT. I’m not saying this is something I would recommend, necessarily, but it was technically possible and I think it will help her pass the time more easily. She's immunocompromised and still recovering from heart surgery she had in December, so she's been housebound for a while now already. Luckily she's a big reader, but the more distractions the better when you're stuck indoors. If you have a restless friend or relative who isn’t tech savvy, maybe reach out and see if they need help with technology based stuff. (I say this now. I haven’t attempted a group chat with my grandpa yet lol.)
While we've all been recommending things for her to watch, I asked my siblings and my several million nieces and nephews to pitch in and give me their current streaming recs to share with you all, so here's a very special playlist for you, courtesy of the Horne fam. Please be advised they all have varied and questionable taste and did this under duress. 😉 Dexter (Netflix) Jane the Virgin (Netflix) Friends From College (Netflix) The Witcher (Netflix) The Mandalorian (Disney+) Prison Break (Hulu) Call the Midwife (Netflix) 47 Meters Down (Amazon) 47 Meters Down Uncaged (Amazon) Shark Night (Amazon) (One of my brothers is having a shark moment.) Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Disney+) Phil of the Future (Disney+) (Three votes for this from people under ten.) Sin City (Netflix) Tales from the Tour Bus (Cinemax) Carnival Row (Amazon) Cobra Kai (Youtube)
OTHER ONLINE STUFF
Okay, so I'm not much of a social media person generally, and I'm limiting my time online a lot right now. But I know people are looking to connect during social isolation, and that's one of the things social media is good for.
Here a few links to things I’ve really appreciated the past few days from twitter folks who’ve been super generous with their time and made lists and threads of things to watch/listen/do: Sasha Devlin has started an excellent thread of recommendations for different streaming services, with mini blurbs, even. Start here.
DL White has a podcast list here, organized by subject.
Bree recced a few games here, I put I Love Hue on my phone and I'm finding it very soothing.
While it's not really a game, I'll cut in and mention the forest app here. It's basically a timer/productivity app where you can build virtual forests by staying on task. Right now I'm mostly using it to remind myself to limit my online time, but it's useful for other things. (I usually use it for word sprints, and I like this app in particular because the alarm sound is very gentle and non-anxiety inducing for me.)
Alyssa Cole's thread here links to virtual museum and gallery tours!
Here's a thread of live animal cams!
And here’s a thread where students whose high school musicals have been canceled are performing for twitter. It's very sweet and lots of fun! I’m not very active on Instagram, but I follow @cheapoldhouses, and well, if you're someone who gets joy from looking at beautiful pictures of old houses that are cheap, it's a good scroll. If you're a Youtube person here are a few things you might check out on YouTube. (I like to watch youtube videos while I’m on the treadmill— for some reason they distract me from the treadmill part better than regular television lol. Btw, don’t forget to get some exercise while you’re inside! Even if you hate exercise, like I do! Fitness Blender is a site filled with free at-home, no-equipment workout videos if you're feeling lost without the gym, like one of my brothers is right now.) Romance author and entertaining human Zoe York has refreshed her youtube channel and is posting daily vlogs right now. If you're a planner/washi tape/office loving/reader/writer person, YA author Sarra Cannon's Youtube channel Heartbreathings is one of my favorites.
Kate Cavanaugh is a super positive book/authortuber I enjoy a lot. She also does a ton of live write-ins for people who need that right now— she currently has a 24-hour one planned for March 21st.
And a few more things that are more informative than entertainment:
A list of online meetings and support groups can be found here for people missing meetings right now.
Many grocery delivery places are still in service, even if your local shelves are picked over. Delivery availability depends on your location, but I've been using Imperfect Produce for the last year or so (They don't just have produce!) to order most of my groceries and can't recommend them enough, though there are several similar places. If you're low income, you can apply for additional Imperfect Produce grocery discounts here.
Here is a list of homeschool resources for those of you who suddenly find themselves in a teaching position.
For those of us who struggle with anxiety and mental health, particularly right now, virusanxiety.com might offer some suggestions to help keep your feels more manageable.
Well, peeps, I think I've exhausted the list I've been keeping, so I'm gonna wrap it up here. I'm really close to typing the end on a book, which is both awesome and frustrating since my time and energy and focus is not so excellent right now, and trying to release a book into the world kind of makes me cringe, but I'm giving it my all, and will definitely keep you all updated. We can all use more positive distractions, right? To all of you working at home right now, I know it's not easy to get work done, but you're doing great. ❤️
Until we talk again, be safe, be smart, stay home, and wash your hands! I'm thinking of you all and sending you my love (from a safe distance). Misha