Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

dannygokey

I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

sherlockspecial

I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

2015books

I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤

ezra

I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

S&Scover4

OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

starrellianicon

My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

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***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!

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Ishness of a September Variety {2015}

It’s time for another foray into Ishness…

ChasingShadowsCoverBut first! A note…

Ashley Townsend is having an awesome giveaway running from this Sunday (Oct 4) to the 16th, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Chasing Shadows having been released. So make sure to stop by her blog for the details! It’s going to be epic, there’s signed books and giftcards, and you’re not going want to miss it! #TeamHood, everyone! 🙂

And another note…

I was interviewed by Abi Pearson on her blog!

Go check it out, do! 🙂

ishness

I sort of blinked and then September was over. It was basically a whirlwind of me being busy and somehow not getting the things done I wanted to but still doing lots of stuff.

Highlights of the Month

Library Book Sale. I went to a library sale, where I got a stack of books and old videos. (Now I must just find more time…)

BookHome

My room will eventually look like this.

Vacationing. I was gone on vacation for a few days — road trips and English Country Dancing and kayaking, huzzah! (I’d never kayaked before. I found out that it’s tremendous fun.)

My first interviews! I was interviewed by Jenelle Schmidt on her website, as I mentioned way back when it happened, and also yesterday by Abi Pearson on her blog, as I said above. So exciting! I’d never been interviewed, and then it happens twice in one month. 🙂

I had my 2 year blogoversary!

That was exciting. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for two years! Last month I also hit 10,000 hits, 2,000 comments (techinically half of the comments are probably me replying, since I always do that… But still. 😉 ), and over 220 followers. Thanks so much, everyone!! Readers and commenters are the absolute BEST thing about blogging! You make it worth it and are all awesome and make me happy. ❤

2 Years of Blogging! Happy Day!

Writing

August was a big writerly month for me… September, not so much. Life was so busy and hectic that I couldn’t really focus on writing much. Plus, I’d finished Darkling Reflections and hit a roadblock on The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2). So I wasn’t really working directly on anything…

…And then I randomly started writing The Rose and the Raven.

R&R

What happens . . .

. . . when both the princess and the prince who’s supposed to kiss her . . .

. . . fall asleep . . .

. . . half way across the country from each other?

I may have mentioned it a few times, but basically it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and I haven’t decided yet if it might be a candidate for entering the Rooglewood Press contest or not. That would depend on a.) if I finish it, b.) if it’s short enough, c.) if I like it enough, and d.) if I actually have time to finish writing it before the deadline… which, considering the madness that is NaNo prep and NaNo, I actually rather doubt. Regardless, it’s an idea I’ve had for quite some time (parts of it… Other parts “clicked” a couple months ago) that I’ve really been wanting to write.

I’m going back and forth between being in love with it and thinking it’s stupid/loathing it with the loathing of a hundred seasons.

Sigh.

#Writerproblems

Anyways, I’m hoping it will be a novella and I wrote 3500 words of it in September and will be continuing if I can untangle myself from the writer’s block I seem to have run into at a million miles an hour (i.e., I’m kind of stuck).

But it has a number of twists that I’m very excited about, including the fact that the curse is kind of skewed differently than the fairy who cast it planned, and the thing in question to be pricked on is not actually a spindle. It also involves a prince and princess being adorable as they grow up together and (hopefully) fall in love (I wouldn’t know; I haven’t gotten that far…); forbidden love; a fairy and her evil twin; and lots and lots of outlawed roses.

Anyway, despite typical writer problems of loathing and writer’s block, I’m “enjoying” setting foot tentatively in The Rose and the Raven and getting to know Prince Derrick and Princess Brie (a.k.a. Brier-Rose, which is awkward considering roses were banned soon after she was born. So now she’s just Princess Brier, or Brie to her friends) and the fairy Ev (who some may remember from my Blogoversary post…).

I’ve also thrown myself into planning for NaNo. Not REAL NaNo planning, like actual plotting for the story I’m actally going to write (only a little of that so far). No. Nothing so extreme. That’s what October’s for, right? …Right? But rather pre-NaNo-prep prep, like schedules and to-do lists and lots and lots of scheming regarding my NaNo region involving what I plan to do as an ML (NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison).

nanostuff

(A glimpse at prepping for my ML life. Look at all that NaNo stuff! I didn’t even plan that picture, I was just doing stuff with all the NaNo things, and suddenly realized it was all spread out for a perfect photo opportunity. Ta-da!)

Read

I was mostly too busy to read… Insanity, right?

I did finish The Scarlet Pimpernel and really enjoyed it! Plus, the Scarlet Pimpernel himself was AWESOME, naturally, and not in this book enough. Fortunately, I hear there are sequels. *schemes to read several of the sequels because some are free on gutenberg.org and some are also at my library so mwahaha*

And because I was starving for books and hadn’t read in a few weeks, I randomly up and read a Diana Wynne Jones books I had around and (miraculously) hadn’t read yet — Power of Three. I LOVED IT SO MUCH OH MY GOODNESS. ❤ The twist. The characters. The world. The epicness. The humor (of course). Classic Diana Wynne Jones. It was stupendous!

Sept2015Books

And that’s it. Yup. I read 2 books this last month. That’s a new low for me this year. *dies a little inside because neeeeeeed booooooks*

Oh, and it doesn’t count as a “book” exactly, more of an essay, but I also just last night finished a delightful little book (can one call it a pamphlet if it’s an ebook…?) of 60-ish pages from 1908 called “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day” by Arnold Bennett. I heard about it I believe from some random NaNo pep-talk or news email or something… Chris Baty or some person with a high position at NaNo randomly mentioned it (wish I could remember where!) and linked to it being free on kindle or gutenberg.org, so I randomly downloaded it at the time and promptly didn’t read it for a year or so. I finally did. And I found to be fascinating, hilarious, well-written, with some good tips, and basically awesome. No, I don’t in fact know how to live on 24 hours a day now, but still, it has great ides and I’ll hopefully put some of it to use eventually. Regardless, it’s a splendid read (and short!) and I’m just amazed how brilliant and articulate and funny people from back then were — think the authors of Holmes and Bertie Wooster and Around the World in 80 Days. I’ve rarely if ever read non-fiction that was as hilarious but also useful as this little pamphlet. Lots of fun and also enlightening! I kept reading bits of it aloud for the wit and wisdom. 😀 (Find it on Goodreads too.)

I’m not doing a Nightstand Books/Upcoming Reads for this month, because while I do have a few ebooks I hope to read before NaNo, and a stack of other books that I would love to read the first chance I get, I really don’t know how much I’ll get to this month. For the record, I AM starving to read some books, so I hope I’ll get to do some of that this month. Because BOOOOKS. There’s at least one that I’m VERRRY much looking forward to reading, and you should see a review for it later this month if I can get through it on time… I can’t wait!

Watched

Well, since I wasn’t reading much, I had to get my story fix from somewhere. So I’ve been watching films and shows a little more than I usually do. Normally I’m not a big watcher, not because I’m against watching things or anything, I just normally have more books to read than things to see and I’d normally rather spend my time reading; but these happened this month:

moviesSept2015

  • Yes, I finally saw Mulan and The Lion King. I know, I know, everyone’s shocked I hadn’t before… They were fairly adorbz.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel from the ’30s was fun to see, just to see the story on screen (but honestly it got rid of most of the tension, and all of the ingenious stuff the Scarlet Pimpernel himself did at the end).
  • I’ll be honest: I only watched Little Women because of Christian Bale. I didn’t remember the story much except to know that I dislike it. *more heart attacks from the audience* Yeah, sorry; it seems it’s my fate in life to shock my blog readers beyond repair. (But the whole story is depressing; and you-know-who died which was NOT okay; and Laurie married the wrong girl. Just sayin’. I guess Jo maybe started the whole “just friends” thing… *cough*)
  • I’m also re-watching the Hunger Games movies before the new one (one down; one and a half to go…).
  • And re-watching some Sherlock. Because Sherlock.

Kanan

One of the best things I’ve seen this year is Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1). Asdflksjdflkjdf. It is just SO much fun!!! *flails around* I’m not the most enormous Star Wars fan in the world — I enjoy it a lot but I’m not obsessed. And I never really liked the Clone Wars animated show, what little I’ve seen of it. But the Rebels show, set about fifteen years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (and so a few years before Episode IV: A New Hope), is hilarious and fun and I just love the characters, especially Ezra (the hero) and Kanan. They are quite simply AWESOME. Just sayin’. And the rest are super cool and fun too Seriously, I’ve rarely come across such a wonderful dynamic crew of characters — I just love them all and their hilarious interactions. So much awesome and fun!!! It may be a little simple to some, but I just ENJOY it. Lots. Sometimes you just want to laugh, you know? It’s just so awesome. I can’t flail enough. ^_^ ❤

ezra

Ezra Bridger

And of course, I saw Beyond the Mask again, now that it’s on DVD! Love that movie!! ❤ Also one of the best things I’ve seen this year. SO. GOOD.

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

(I know, the camera flash masked his face even better than his mask does. Of course I did it on purpose…)

(This is also a good excuse to go: LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS I NEED TO READ. Ahem.)

October Plans?

October is going to be insane for me. I have lots of catching up to do, lots of NaNo prep that must be done, a whole NaNo novel to plan, several writing events and things I need to go to, a lot of planning still to be done relating to my position as a NaNo ML, and I wouldn’t say no to finishing my Sleeping Beauty novella if I possibly could. Not to mention the daily insanity of every-day life.

I have a massive, exhaustive, comprehensive to-do list that is currently running at 5 pages, of stuff I would like to get done before November 1st brings with it the storm that is NaNoWriMo. …Yeah, probably not happening. *cough cough*

Oh, and I have some upcoming bookish posts and writerly posts (NaNo prep, huzzah!) so watch for that!

So. That’s my September. How was yours? Do you have October plans?