Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflecting on 2015 and Looking Ahead to the New Year

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to reflect.


You guys, 2015 has been a very strange year. I started the beginning of the year knowing I had to have a change—the stress level at my job was killing me. I developed health problems I’d never had before. My relationships were struggling. All around rough. I landed and started a new job, which was and has been great.

But then my grandmother died. And then I developed migraines. And then my husband broke his wrist. Now, on the other end of all of these things (and the associated medical bills and heartache), I’m pretty glad the year’s over.

And then there’s the writing. I think we all dream to be that person who gets an agent with their first query and then lands a book deal a few short weeks later. Not my story. My agent (who signed me on the second book I queried a full 9 months after I started querying that particular book) started submitting my book in January, and we’re still on submission.

It hasn’t sold yet, but I’m actually okay with this (mostly...the way any writer can be). After editor feedback, we’ve done a few rounds of revisions, and my story is in a completely different place than it was when we went on submission. It’s so. Much. Better.

And here’s the thing (I sort of hate typing this, but I’m going to do it): If this book doesn’t sell, those revisions will still be worth it. The story is better. I feel like I’ve given it the writing it deserves, the POV it deserves, the voice it deserves. None of that would’ve happened had it sold out of the gate. (For the record, I didn't just come to this point easily. In fact, I battle it a lot, but if I keep telling this to myself I will believe it).

Looking Forward

Last year I made some goals for myself, and I’ve decided that New Year’s resolutions and goals aren’t really my thing. I mean, I accomplished some of them, but here at the end of the year I’m a different person than I was when I made those goals. They don’t have the same weight or meaning to me now as they did then.

So instead of specific goals, I want to be a little less concrete. In 2016, I want to be kinder (to the people I love and the people I flip off on the interstate). I want to be more available--call my family more, have more girls' nights, watch a movie without feeling like I should be doing something else. I want to take better care of my time. Those extra fifteen minutes when I hit snooze? I wake up more tired and then the dishes don't get done. It's amazing the sense of accomplishment when I put a few dishes in the dishwasher before I leave for work.

Mostly, I think I just want to live more. Fear less. Love. Laugh. Write. Read. I want to enjoy life, because if I don't, what's the point?

Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Badass Books: The Orphan Queen

Summary (from Goodreads):

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Why I read it: I read Jodi Meadow's first trilogy and really enjoyed it. It felt a little more science fiction than fantasy (which worked for the story), so I wasn't really sure what to expect with her next series. In short: I loved it.

ZOMG Yes! There's so much I want to say about this book--characters I loved, relationships I fell for, downfalls I didn't expect but that worked so well. From the magic system to the consequences to the descriptions of this fantasy world, this book far exceeded my expectations. But I can't really get into much of it without spoiling the story.

So this is what I'll say. One of my favorite YA fantasy series ever is Throne of Glass, and to me The Orphan Queen was very much in that vein. From our cast of characters to our badass heroine (which I misspelled as heroin on the first draft of this blog post because Christmas I guess), this is the kind of fantasy I can get into and then promote the hell out of.

kthxbai So if you like YA fantasy and if you like awesome stories, you really should pick up this book. I'd say it's up there with my favorite fantasies (and as you all know, I read a lot of fantasy).