Out With 2017, In With 2018

So, it’s more than halfway through January 2018 and I’m only just now getting around to making this blog post about 2017. Call it a reflection of what last year was like, there is so much going on I just don’t have time for the extras…like blogging. Let’s face it, I’m a crappy blogger anyway, but in 2017 especially I just didn’t have time for it.

Not going to lie, the beginning of 2017 was rough for me as a writer. It’s not that I was ever tempted to quit everything, but there were many times I really questioned how much time I spent on writing without getting anywhere. That made it hard to feel motivated. But I pressed on as best I could. In the end I accomplished a lot, which I’m only really realizing now as I’m writing this blog post.

What I accomplished:

  • Completed major revisions on The Believer and Messy
  • Finished the MS I started in 2016 during NaNoWriMo (#6)
  • Started another MS (#7) during NaNoWriMo this year. Got a 20K word start on that. I wished for more, but illness really made it difficult. I’m just happy to have something to work with
  • Made notes on possible revision for Time Guardian (the more I think about it, as much as I love this MS, it could use a major overhaul to make it way better…just going to take time)
  • Worked a concept for MS #8…that one needs more ideas before I can start it
  • I plugged on querying Messy and it finally paid off! I signed with an agent in May!

I’m excited what this year will bring and I’m ready to work hard. What I hope to do:

  • Keep working with my agent on my road to future publication…it’s a process. Having an agent guarantees nothing, but it’s nice to have someone on my side. I hope we continue having success with our working relationship
  • Complete major edits on MS #6 that I’m tentatively calling Starling. Right now it’s still in first draft stage (in other words…it’s a mess). I hope to get it into better shape this year
  • Finish MS #7. I’m really excited about this project
  • I’d like to at least get a good start on MS #8
  • Revising is a constant. The trick is to focus my energies on projects that have a better chance at a future. I may have to shelve projects in order to focus on others, sadly, so taking time to really evaluate what I have and what is most worth continuing to work on

2017 Reads

Books I read list from last year:

  1. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find the: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  3. Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
  4. The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White
  5. Earth Force Rising by Monica Tesler
  6. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
  7. The Tundra Trials by Monica Tesler
  8. The Ivory Needle by Leslie Miller
  9. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
  10. Foxheart by Claire Legrand
  11. Okay For Now by Gary D. Schimdt
  12. Lizzie Bright and Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schimdt
  13. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  14. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  15. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  16. The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
  17. Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
  18. Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
  19. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  20. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
  21. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson
  22. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  23. Like Magic by Elaine Vickers
  24. The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
  25. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  26. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
  27. The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjertsen Malone
  28. Restart by Gordan Korman
  29. The Invisible Thread by Yoshiko Uchida
  30. Play On by Michelle Smith
  31. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
  32. Lemons by Melissa Savage
  33. The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
  34. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  35. First and Then by Emma Mills
  36. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  37. The Only Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
  38. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  39. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  40. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  41. Funny Girl by Besty Bird (editor)
  42. Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  43. Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone
  44. Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  45. The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
  46. Warcross by Marie Lu
  47. Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
  48. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  49. Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
  50. Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski

My goal was to read 40 books and I managed 50. As usual, the focus is on children’s literature, Middle Grade and Young Adult. It’s what I write, and I loved to read it first. Some of this list was for research, but most of it I read for fun.

What I loved: Books by Gary D. Schmidt were recommend to me by a friend on Twitter. I discovered this author is amazing! I read four of his novels this year and especially loved The Wednesday Wars and Okay For Now. I also really enjoyed Restart by Gordan Korman, a book I found by accident. Lemons by Melissa Savage was adorable and Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry is a lovely book in verse. Lastly, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus might have been my favorite book from last year. It’s a high school thriller with some really flawed but super likeable main characters under suspicion for murder.

What I didn’t love: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby came highly praised and recommend, but it fell flat for me. I also didn’t care much for Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, another praised book (maybe I’m just weird…). I also really didn’t care for The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi or Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. These just weren’t in the kind of style I like to read, so it’s more about my tastes for all of these than anything else.