Friday, January 2, 2015

What I Read in 2014

I have really enjoyed these lists in the blogs I follow, so thought I would do my own. I know, I'm such a follower. In 2014 I finally let myself buy a voting membership for the Hugo awards, so there are a fair number of items that were for that. Also, some of these may technically qualify as short stories, and yet others are short story collections where I don't list each story individually. If my lack of consistency bugs you, I'm sorry. This is how I kept track of them as I read, so this is how they will be listed here.Some are kids books that were for the book club my kids and I belong to. I only included the kid books if the was the first time I read them myself.

Hugo works will be in italic, audiobooks in bold, and my favorites from the year in green.

Conversations with J K Rowling by Lindsay Fraser
Night Echos by Holly Lisle
Goblin Hero by Jim Hines
The Inheritance by Robin Hobb
At Any Price by Brenna Aubry
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Dolye
The Red Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville
Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville
Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M Valente
Opera Vita Aeterna by Vox Day
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
The Exchange Officers by Brad R Torgersen
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
Parasite by Mira Grant*
Holly Lisle's Create a World Clinic by Holly Lisle
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachael Aaron
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne
Sand Omnibus by Hugh Howey
Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Songs of Love and Death edited by George RR Martin
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Now that I've typed it out, I am tempted to go back and get rid of the green classification. Some were very hard to decide about, and there are lots of great books that just were not for me. I tried a lot outside my usual reading sphere this year. So a lack of green does not mean I think it's a bad book. In fact, I don't think any of these were books I actively disliked or was not happy that I read. This may be obvious when several books in a series are listed, but not green - I liked them enough to read more. The green books were just a better fir for my personal taste or ones I especially loved. So maybe the green is not useful, but I'm leaving it for now.

* One thing I found extra fun in this is that it takes place in/around the Concord/Clayton and Greater Bay Area in  California, and recognizing landmarks as I read is neat. So I recommend this to local folks for that reason.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Failed Nano, but Still Writing

Although it is probably clear for anyone looking at the word counter on the last post, I did not succeed with NaNaWriMo this past November. I am generally happy with what I wrote, but there just wasn't enough of it. I won't go into my reasons (or excuses depending on how you view these things), but I believe I did the most I could at the time, so I will end there.

I took a writing break for most of December to focus on other crafty projects that I needed to finish before Christmas and used up the same pockets of time I usually use for writing. I knew that was going to happen, so again, I'm not upset about it other than my constant dream of having more time all around. 

Where I do have some disappointment is in the publishing end of things. The group of short stories I've been submitting have not yet found homes. A couple years ago I promised myself that I would only send my stories to paying markets. I figured if no one would pay me for them, I would rather post them here for free than have someone else post them for free. This year I decided to up my game (or try to) and send first to higher paying markets. I am sure that's why I'm having a harder time. I have gotten some very encouraging rejections but no bigger sales yet. It also feels like the turn around is slower, so I am waiting a lot longer to hear back. I suppose that makes sense in that the bigger markets probably also get a lot more submissions.

So I'm trying to keep from being discouraged, and keep submitting since there are still many markets that would fit that I haven't tried yet, and still a few I'm waiting to hear from. I try to remind myself that this is how I will grow.

Also, one of my goals this year is to keep up with my critique group better. I've not been participating as much as I should be, and more feedback can only be helpful. (I hope)

That in a nutshell is the state of my writing at the dawn of 2015.