Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sara, Meira, and Happy Dances All Around

Back in August, a blogger I followed wrote some entertaining posts asking for reading recommendations for herself and book donations for her cousin’s classroom library. Since I read and own way too many books (Ha! Like that’s actually a thing, too many books…) I helped out with both and we started exchanging epically long emails. And lo, the book karma gods gifted me with not only this charming thank you gift…

Neat bookish accessory, yeah? She got it from the Dainty Hippo here
 … but an absolutely amazing writer friend, Sara Raasch. Here she is looking all cute and appropriately Winter-themed:

Photo stolen from her hilarious blog that I'm going to direct you towards way more than once.
I already had a handful of people in my life to support and critique my writing, but no one who did both of those things AND helped brilliantly with brainstorming... and quoted even more Eddie Izzard lines than I could and sent me a fantasy ms to critique that was HOLY GOODNESS EPIC AMAZEBALLS. 

And the best news is, publishers agree with that last part and want everyone to read it AND the rest of the trilogy three-book deal for the win!

" Sara Raasch’s debut SNOW LIKE ASHES trilogy about Meira, a fierce chakram-wielding warrior from the Kingdom of Winter, who must struggle to free her people from the tyranny of an opposing kingdom while also protecting her own destiny, to Kristin Daly Rens at Balzer and Bray in a preempt, for publication in Fall 2014, by Mackenzie Brady at Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. "

I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am for Sara or how much I lovelovelove Snow Like Ashes. Sara does a much better job 0f putting into words what this deal and this book mean to her, so you should go read about that amazing journey and the meaning of the Words in the Dark quote here.

Congratulations, Sara and Meira. You’re amazing and I can't wait for your words in the dark to become official words on the page.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goals Missed, Met, and Set

Happy 2013, everyone! 

‘Tis the season to recap the accomplishments and shortcomings of the previous year and set lofty goals for the next one, right? I won’t bore you with my resolutions about running or cooking healthy or sending out job applications (possibly because I didn't make any of those resolutions) and just focus on past and future goals related to reading and writing.


2012 GOALS: I wanted to read 100 books total, 75 of those from my Off the Shelf list. I managed to read 106 books this year – w00t! – but I wasn’t very good about sticking to the books on my shelves. Despite some edits to the OTS list and a December reading marathon, I only knocked off 61 of the 75. Still not too shabby though. 

My favorite read of the year? Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Also topping my list were Red Glove (Black), Imaginary Girls (Suma), The Book Thief (Zusak), When She Woke (Jordan), Song of the Orange Moons (Stephens), Ex Libris (Fadiman), and… well, honestly we could be here all day because I was lucky to read a lot of good ones this year, so I’ll stop there. I am full of even more recommendations in various genres if you want them though!

2013 GOALS: I also want to read at least 100 books total this year, but I’m only going to put 50 of them on an OTS list (posted here). I definitely need some accountability to keep chipping away at the books I already own, but it started to feel too burdensome at the end, not being “allowed” to venture outside of my OTS list because I was running out of time. I need more freedom to scour the library shelves with abandon, or to dive into new releases from my favorite authors right away, or to take recommendations from other readers (hint hint... feel free to share some!) and not have to wait forever to follow up on them. Here's hoping the 50% balance will work. (And if you're interested in taking on the Off the Shelf Challenge yourself, check it out here.)


2012 GOALS: I did manage to write and submit at least one story each month, meeting my official Write 1 Sub 1 goals and earning The Light Ray. (Ah, puns.)

I didn’t always meet my personal goal of at least two submissions per month, but overall I’m happy with my numbers. (Well, I’d like the acceptances number to be higher, but wouldn’t we all?)

- New Submissions: 16
- Resubmissions: 18
- Acceptances: 3

2013 GOALS: Because I want to shift my focus to my attempt at a novel, my short story goal for next year is less ambitious: 20 stories sent out, either submissions or resubmissions, by the end of the year. And I want to be able to do this on a flexible schedule, so I won’t be officially participating in Write 1 Sub 1 this year. I’m eternally grateful to the group for increasing my short story output though, and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a similar boost!


2012 GOALS: I considered 2012 my year of the short story, so my only novel goal was to complete NaNoWriMo, which by some miracle I did. (Huzzah!) Now the real work begins…

2013 GOALS: Figure out a timeline for re-outlining and re-writing the novel. Yes, right now my goal is to make a goal, possibly because I'm apprehensive about making novel-writing goals because I never seem to meet them. This does not seem promising. Okay, real goals... 

Outline by the end of this month FOR REAL THIS TIME. 

Then, 15,000 words per month (= 500/day. I should be able to write a lot more, but this leaves time for more brainstorming and re-re-outlining). 

There, now I feel motivated. And by motivated I mean terrified.


This is a goal I never expected to be making. I had given up on journal writing a while ago because I have years of experience and half-filled notebooks to know that I am absolutely no good at maintaining one consistently. It’s simply too much work when I’m doing all of this other writing (and now blogging and other social media sharing), and the days I do feel the need to write end up being melodramatic tirades that I cringe to ever reread. (Or that’s what happened to Teenage Jillian, anyway. Hopefully Present Jillian is a TAD less melodramatic and verbose. Maybe.) 

But a few days ago I stumbled across the idea of a perpetual journal with just two lines allowed per day. The idea appealed to me the same way flash fiction and microfiction started to appeal to me last year –  the convenience and challenge of being concise. I should be able to write just two lines per day, right? What a nice record of the year it would be.  So that’s my 2013 GOAL: Write a brief impression of every day, always something but no more than a few lines. I should probably get around to writing my entry for today, huh? 

Do you have any goals to share for the coming year?