Posts Tagged ‘2012’

My year in books (2012)

Posted: January 4, 2013 in Books & Reading
Tags: , , ,

My goal for this past year was to read 25 books. Re-reads weren’t allowed – these had to be brand new books! Luckily, I met my goal and even managed to read an extra one!

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve read with a quick blurb about how I felt about each one. I would definitely recommend most of these books for anyone, so be ready to have your Goodreads tab open. ;)

Writer’s Market: Guide to Getting Published: This is a good resource, though I think the website is a lot more helpful. It definitely gave me some insight into the world of publishing, but it was not nearly as specific as I was hoping for.

The Devil’s Mixtape by Mary Borsellino: Read my full review here. This book was really different, but in a good way. It’s dark and raw, which was actually more refreshing than off-putting.

102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer: Although many of the mistakes and solutions were already known to me, there were Tiger's Voyagesome gems in here. It was worth a quick read just to cement some rules in my head that I tend to forget about.

Eon by Alison Goodman: A solid read, though a bit slow. Everything I was looking forward to happening either took place in the last 20 pages or ended up in the second book. Beautifully written world and very detailed.

Tiger’s Voyage: I had a heck of a time getting through this, but the ending of the book was almost worth it. Almost. It’s a wonderful concept, but I find it hard to get through the back-and-forth love triangle part. Needs more action. If you like the Twilight series, you’ll probably enjoy these books.

Oppression by Jessica Therrien: Read my full review here. I became interested in this book when I heard it was about Greek mythology in the contemporary world. What? Yes, please! It was a quick and interesting read, and full of some cool characters. I’m definitely looking forward to the second book, which will be out this year.

Marty Boggs and the Curse of Kutkara’s Tomb by M.T. Acquire: I actually read this as a Beta Reader. It’s middle grade, but still quite interesting – especially for the part of me that still secretly wishes she had become an archaeologist. It’s definitely in the vein of Nancy Drew, and is full of cool Egyptian stuff.

Noble Intentions Season 1 by L.T. Ryan: Read my full review here. This is actually a compilation of five shorter books. I love these novels because they’re fast-paced, full of action, and have a host of memorable and endearing characters. All the good guys in the book are a bit shady, and yet you can’t help but root for them. That’s the mark of a good writer.

Noble Intentions Season 2 by L.T. Ryan: Jack Noble is back! The second season was just as good as the first. I found myself falling more in love with the characters than ever before. And the end of this season definitely makes you want to dig into the next one.

The Mark of AthenaLondon Darkness: Infernal Inventions by Chris Stocking: This was my first real jump into Steampunk, and I enjoyed it. The concept Chris set up is really interesting and unique, and the characters are all super memorable.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan: Read my full review here. I loved this book, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year. I have a little trouble with the imagery in these books (they’re middle grade and tend to be a little ridiculous), but that’s the story Riordan wants to tell and who am I to complain? But in the end I loved it, and I’d still read anything Riordan writes.

Noble Beginnings by L.T. Ryan: This is actually a prequel book to the Noble Intentions series. It gives us a look into Jack’s past and how he came to be who he is. It also let us get inside his head a bit more, as it was written in first person POV, rather than third. It falls perfectly in line with the other books and was just as great.

Eona by Alison Goodman: The second books was harder for me to get through than the first, though I did enjoy it. It just read too slowly for me, and felt like a historical romance (which is a genre I tend to avoid). But if that’s your sort of thing, then I would definitely recommend this book.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: Read my full review here. I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I had been hearing a lot of not-so-good things about it before I picked it up. The writing was fantastic and the story stuck with me long after I read it. The lack of real plot until the last 200 pages or so was a letdown, but otherwise this was an interesting and new type of book to read from Jo.

Warm Bodies Book CoverWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Read my full review here. I thought the concept was better than the actual execution, but I still really enjoyed this book. It was faced paced and exciting. Definitely a cool new twist on the zombie genre. It left me highly anticipating the movie.

On Fire by Nancy Holder: Listen to my full review here. The book didn’t live up to my expectations, though I still enjoyed reading it. If you’re a fan of the TV show Teen Wolf, I would definitely give it a try, as it goes more into the backstory of some of the characters.

Corps Justice: Back to War by C.G. Cooper: I was pleasantly surprised by this book because it isn’t something I would normally pick up. But it was well written and full of some really great characters. I keep saying it’s like the A-Team meets the Avengers. The ending definitely left me in anticipation for book two.

Corps Justice: Council of Patriots by C.G. Cooper: I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one. It was on a grander scale than the first, which lent itself to the story. New characters are introduced that are both scary (in some cases) and awesome (in others). The ending of this one was even better than the first. Waiting to find out what happens is going to be painful.

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So, there you have it. 26 books down! I’m hoping to do the same thing again this year, though I didn’t make it an official goal of mine. Still, I’d like to do the same amount or even better. My bookshelf is overflowing, so I should have no trouble finding some things to read!

Have you read any of these books? Which ones did you like the best? Are there any on this list that you’ve been meaning to read or are thinking about picking up now?

Today is the last day of 2012. Part of me is shocked – When did this happen? Where was I? Did I black out at any point in time? – and the other part is excited. A brand new year is upon us.

I actually remember quite vividly the beginning of 2012 and how hopeful and determined I was. I got a reality check fairly early on, but I never let that slow me down. This year has been – and I can say this without a doubt – the best year of my life. I accomplished so much and became a part of so many things that I value with all my heart. Not only that, but I finally cemented the idea in my head that yes, I am a writer, and yes, I will be published some day.

I feel so incredibly blessed.

The rest of this post is basically a list of everything I accomplished. I’m not doing this to brag or to show you how much I’ve gotten done. I’m sure the list isn’t nearly as inspiring or complete and yours would be. Feel free to not read it at all – it won’t bother me. This is for ME, because sometimes I feel like I haven’t done anything at all. I need these types of lists to remind me that although the steps I take may be small, they really do add up.

This is to remind me that at the beginning of 2012, I was literally standing at square one.

This is to remind me that at the end of 2012 I have become a completely different person, and in the best way possible.

This is to remind me that 2013 can and WILL be just as great as 2012 was.

~~~

Because I already do a round up post at the end of each ROW80 round, it was pretty easy to track down and grab all of my accomplishments. As a result, the list below is broken up into four parts – one for the four rounds of ROW80, each of which comprise of about three months. After the numbered points, I’ve written a few paragraphs describing my year overall. If you want to know what I did and are too lazy to read everything (:P), then just go read those!

My 2012 resolutions that I set up at the end of 2011 were pretty simple. I wanted to finish editing my completed novel (D1), start researching agents/publishers, finish writing my WIP (L1), lose 20 pounds, and read 25 new books.

I did all of this except lose 20 pounds (oops). I also didn’t get anywhere with researching agents and publishers, though I did find some great resources along the way (so I’m calling that a win anyway).

ROUND ONE:

  1. I finished editing my completed novel (D1), which was the first full-length project I ever finished.
  2. I finished my WIP (L1), which was the second full-length project I ever finished and by far the quickest written.
  3. I started writing D2, despite not being completely happy with everything I had in D1.
  4. I completed 50 blog posts, had 2,000 views, and 400 comments. I probably did a happy dance.
  5. I put D1 and D2 aside in order to focus on L1. This was the best decision I could’ve made in regards to my main projects. D1 is a dud (for now) and one of those things that needs to sit in a drawer and marinate for a while. L1 has so much more potential.
  6. I became a copyeditor for Hypable, which has been and continues to be such an incredible experience and opportunity for me.
  7. I decided to create my own Facebook page. This had been quite a scary thought at first (admitting to friends and family that I’m pursuing this whole “writer thing” seriously), but turned out to not only not be a big deal, but to remind me that my friends and family are super supportive of all of my decisions.

ROUND TWO:

  1. I wrote a short story called “The Necklace,” which is a modern twist on a Greek myth. It needs some work, but I plan on making a series out of this. Should be interesting.
  2. I wrote another short story – a twist on the Cinderella tale – for my best friend. She loved it, so I may write more for her.
  3. I finished writing “Trigger.” This is a short story that ended up in the final collection and actually became one of my favorites.
  4. I started writing Z1, the first out of 12 novellas I have planned for this series. I’m stuck on it right now, but it’s something I definitely want to pursue.
  5. I hit 100 posts on my blog. Probably did another dance.
  6. Finished writing “Found,” another short story. This one stayed in the collection as well – for now, at least.
  7. I got an iPhone, which has literally transformed my life. I can do everything 10 million times more efficiently now.
  8. I ate octopus, squid, and kimchi for the first time. Oddly enough, the cabbage was the one I hated.
  9. I saw Team StarKid in concert, which was definitely one of the highlights of my year.
  10. I joined Ladies Who Critique and found two critique partners that have helped me tremendously with edits for L1.

ROUND THREE:

  1. I wrote three short stories this round, and began editing the collection.
  2. Had both my collection and my novel critiqued by Beta readers.
  3. Started working with L.T. Ryan as his editor on his Jack Noble novels. I can’t even begin to say how much I appreciate his enthusiasm and talent. I’m such a fan of his books and of him as a person, and I’m super grateful that our paths have crossed.
  4. I started writing columns for Hypable. I also started covering Teen Wolf and Percy Jackson news, and became a host on the new Once Upon a Time podcast on Hypable, called Onceable.
  5. I saw Karmin in concert – twice. It was a dream come true.
  6. I added an accomplishment page to my blog, which is a great way for me to keep tabs on everything that I’ve been doing.
  7. I passed 10,000 views on here.
  8. I won 6th place in the 81st Annual Writer’s Digest Genre Short Story competition with my horror short titled, “The Body.”

ROUND FOUR:

  1. Natalie and I started up Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast, a podcast dedicated to the show – you guessed it – Teen Wolf. This is my favorite project right now, and I’m so grateful that I am a part of it!
  2. Passed 15,000 views on the blog.
  3. I met and started working with C.G. Cooper on his book series Corps Justice.
  4. I started writing a new novel that I like to call The Watch Story. It’s just something to work on alongside all my edits, but it definitely has potential.
  5. I’ve continued editing L1, and it’s getting stronger and stronger.
  6. My short story collection is nearly complete.
  7. I’ve hit 200 posts.
  8. I had frog’s legs for the first time! Tasted like chicken.

~~~

So, what does this all mean?

Well, I elected to put away my first completed novel (my “baby” in a sense) in order to work on something that had more potential. I started several new projects that I have yet to finish, but they’re still words on a page and, therefore, a win for me. I also finished my short story collection and feel quite good about it actually being nearly complete. Winning that award didn’t hurt either.

The blog has been growing steadily, and some days I just look at the numbers and think, “People actually read what I write?” It’s a humbling experience, for sure, and something I never actually imagined happening, despite the fact that this blog is obviously a public forum. And I can’t even tell you the number of people I’ve met and befriended because of this platform. You’re all incredibly amazing, and I’ll never forget the support you all have shown me. Over a year of blogging, more than 17,000 views, over 200 posts, and 1750 comments. Is this real life?

I said it once, but I’ll say it again: joining Hypable has been an incredible experience and a wonderful opportunity for me. Not only have they allowed me to be an editor, but to spread my wings and write news articles, columns, and even become a podcaster. I feel my foot inching further and further in the door every day. And although that’s a wonderful thing, I can’t help but put an even larger emphasis on the people that I’ve met and become friends with. They live all around the world – much like you do, dear readers – which can be both enlightening and a little sad. How is it that some of the people that understand me the most, that I have the most in common with, live across the country or halfway around the world? It’s not fair. I’ve learned so much about people, different cultures, fandom, and the Internet because of them. I quite literally wouldn’t trade it for the world. (What would I do with an entire planet anyway? I can’t even remember to water the plants.)

Outside of writing, I’ve been having a good year as well. I saw two of my newest and favorite artists, Karmin and StarKid, live and in concert. Both were amazing experiences. I dove straight into eating Chinese food with a passion that my younger self wouldn’t have believed. I’ve tried so many new things and loved every second of it – even when I’ve had to spit out some of the more disgusting foods. Not to mention all I’ve learned since joining up with my local mycological society.

But none of that compares to how I’ve grown as a writer and as a person. At the beginning of 2012 I was naïve, shy, and a little scared. I’m still all of those things, but less so. And that’s a step in the right direction. I had high hopes, and even though I didn’t accomplish all of them, I started walking down the right path. This is partially – maybe even mostly – due to the blog post by Kristen Lamb called “Aspiring is for Pansies.” Yeah, that’s all it took. One blog post. Maybe I’m just really easy to persuade. Or maybe Kristen just really knows what she’s talking about. (Let’s go with the latter, shall we?)

I realized that all I want to do is become a writer. Maybe it isn’t the smartest choice. Maybe I won’t make a lot of money. Maybe I’ll constantly be fighting with those around me, trying to prove that writing is both a serious and important career choice for me. All I know is that I’m not going to give up, no matter how bumpy the road becomes. I can be an anxious person, full of indecisiveness and doubt. But this is the one thing that I’ve never, ever doubted. And it’s the one thing that I will never, ever give up on. I was meant to be a writer. And I will be.

So, thanks to a fellow blogger (Jenny Hansen) I was recently introduced to the concept of ROW80. This is a little community of writers who get together four times a year (via blog posts and Twitter) to accomplish their goals. The tagline is, “The writing challenge that knows you have a life.” Wait, what? …Really?

Yes!!

ROW80 is a really cool concept. Basically, all you have to do is come up with some goals – writing goals are obviously the main concern, but you can include ANY other ones you want – and write a blog post about them. You can check in one or two times a week and everyone goes around visiting and giving encouragement. (By the way, you can join pretty much anytime you want. It’s never too late. I hope that if you’re not already signed up, you get a chance to do it soon!)

Now, I’ve already told you guys about my 2012 resolutions that I am DEFINITELY going to accomplish this year. However, these are all end-goals. I need to come up with some smaller and more manageable goals to try to achieve every day. These will be my ROW80 goals.

1. Edit two chapters of my completed novel every day. (I want this done by the end of January.)

2. Do a one hour writing sprint at least three times a week, working on the WIP.

3. Exercise for half an hour every day.

4. Do at least one chapter of reading each night.

5. Blog at least three times a week, not including my ROW80 updates.

There you have it! I’ve seen some gigantic lists out there, and mine feels pretty short, but I think I’m more than capable of handling this load without getting overwhelmed. My overall goal for this ROW80 round (and this year in general) is to work consistently on several projects, with these five being my main focus.

I’ll be checking in each Sunday to give you all an update on my progress. I’m still feeling a little confused and new at this whole ROW80 thing, but I’m sure I’ll catch on soon enough. Can’t wait to see what everyone else is doing! Best of luck to you all.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I am not good at resolutions. I pretty much never make any, because I know I’m not going to stick with them. That’s pretty sad, if you ask me.

But I have a really good feeling about 2012.

This year, I’m going to make it happen. And the way I’m going to stick with it, is to put my goals out here for everyone to see. I’d appreciate any support, and welcome you to post your own resolutions or link to your blog if you’ve written a post about them. They say that that the best way to make your goals come true is to write them down.

I also find the best way to get something done is to make a promise to someone – breaking a promise to someone else is a million times worse than breaking a promise to yourself. So, here are five promises to you:

I feel like I can always fix a manuscript, no matter how many times I've already been through it, but sometimes you just have to force yourself to stop.

1. I will finish editing my completed novel.

a. I’m taking the month of January to do a last edit on my completed novel and get it exactly where I want it. I’ve got it printed out, red pen handy, and I’m ready to attack it with everything I’ve got.

2. I will start researching agents/publishers.

a. The remaining 11 months are going to be dedicated to trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve got some books lined up that I want to read on the subject. After that, it’s into the unknown!

3. I will finish writing my WIP.

a. I recently got this idea stuck in my head and literally ran with it – within a couple of weeks I’ve already written over 40,000 words. I’m probably three-quarters of the way done with it. Even though my completed novel is my baby, I’ve got a really good feeling about this one.

4. I will lose 20 pounds.

a. This is a big one for me. I’ve already lost 30, and I’d really like to keep going with it. By summertime I’d like to be a pants size or two smaller. I’m not necessarily concerned about weight so much as being able to fit into clothes that I really like. It’s more about health than trying to be super skinny.

This entire top shelf of my bookcase is my "to-read" shelf.

5. I will read 25 new books.

a. This past year I’ve read 50 books, but some of them were repeats. It was tough reading that many books AND trying to keep up with all of my writing goals. This year, I’m cutting my goal in half and concentrating on reading things I’ve never read before.

I feel better already! I’m also shooting to participate in ROW80 in the first quarter of 2012. That’s going to allow me to break down these big end-goals into smaller and more manageable steps. I’ll also be able to post weekly updates about how I’m doing. Feel free to kick me in the virtual butt if you guys see me slacking!

If the world is going to end in 2012, I want to make sure to get as much done beforehand as possible. I hope you guys feel as good about this year as I do. Let’s make sure it’s a fun one!

(Disclaimer: I do NOT believe the world is going to end in 2012.)