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…)

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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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August Ishness {2015}

ishness

Another month has come and gone, so Ishness once more comes our way!

It was WAY too hot again, but it also rained — yay! I mean… I hear tell it was rain. I mean… there were, like, drops of water falling out of the sky. Like… lots of drops. And the weather cooled off and it wasn’t scorching and… it was… wet. For a couple of days. Like… who knew that water fell out of the sky — ISN’T THAT A MYTH? O_O (Ahem. Okay, so maybe it’s not THAT dry around here… BUT STILL.)

Of course it’s hot again NOW, so… So much for that. I WANT IT TO BE AUTUMN, FOLKS. I really do. Of course, then I’ll freeze in 70 degrees… (Seriously, it was 70 and I was COLD. :P) But OH WELL, I guess I can’t win. XD

But enough about the weather… I feel like I got a lot accomplished in August! I’m a happy little writer. ^_^

Writing

For one thing, I wrote 16,000 words in August. Which makes me very happy. 🙂

9d7f4ec3b9d76b65b071b3a86e7a5fbcFirstly… I finished writing my contemporary / mystery / slight romance short story Darkling Reflections!!!

Excuse me while I go run around in reckless circles screaming with ecstatic abandon.

I fiiiiiinished it! I’m so very very proud of me and I love it to death, and it was 11,000 ish words — which is long for a short story but still short, so I’m happy — and it’s kind of gorgeous and I’ve never written anything like it, and I NEVER finish writing stories, so I’m just happy and in love with it. ❤

CAN I JUST FLAIL PLEASE. I FINISHED WRITING A SHORT STORYYYY.

Ahem.
Sorry.
That just… called for a little excitement. >.>

I actually did write a summary for it, so here it is:

Darkling Reflections

A young heiress left alone in the world finds solace in her melancholy by nightly visiting the restaurant she always went to with her father, where she pours her overflowing thoughts into scribbles on napkins. Between avoiding the man who wants to marry her, trying to uncover the mystery of her father’s death, continually running into a mysterious young man in a trench coat, and forgetting to smile at the waiters, she’s keeping quite busy. But there’s still a murderer out there, who will stop for neither rain nor romance.

KW2coverPI also started really writing in The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) again for the first time since… February. I feel really good about that too! All of the productive feelings!

And I roughly outlined my Sleeping Beauty idea, The Rose and the Raven (not sure if I’ll be doing anything with it yet or not…).

I started some preliminary plotting work on The Silver Forest (this year’s upcoming NaNo Novel; please tell me how NaNo is only 2 months away…), like NAMING ALL THE CHARACTERS. Yes, I’m excited about that. *huggles all the Irish-sounding names* Like, I have a Prince Finnigan. (Come on, tell me that’s not cool??) I’ve gotten a tiny glimpse of the characters I’m having in this ENORMOUS cast this NaNo and I’m ridiculously excited. I’m going to have so much fun (if I survive NaNo and can manage that many characters, of course… Eheh).

Twelve Dancing Princesses ❤ (Pinterest)

Miscellaneous

I took up crocheting again! I hadn’t in YEARS but somehow I got it in my head that I wanted a purse/book bag combination thing and that I could make one… So I did. I kind of love it and feel like it turned out remarkably well, considering I probably hadn’t crocheted a thing in like five years, and that I made it up out of my head and kind of winged the whole thing, hoping it would turn out… Behold its beauty.

IMG_4257

(The blue part is actually much darker than that; my camera's flash has delusions of grandeur and thinks everything is only as it shows it, not how it truly is, and thinks it should be a bright neon blue; but it isn't.)

(The blue part is actually much darker than that; my camera’s flash has delusions of grandeur and thinks everything is only as it shows it, not how it truly is, and thinks it should be a bright neon blue; but it isn’t.)

Watching

Wow, what a weird collection of stuff I’ve been watching… Sci-fi, western, and period fantasy…

moviesaug2015I finished rewatching all of the Star Wars movies to prep for the new one, which was fun. December is soon! I forgot how much I love Obi-wan in the prequel trilogy and Han in the original trilogy. HAN SOLO. SO MUCH SNARK. I love him and young-Obi so much. ❤ (Also Chewie and R-2 are adorable and I love the lizard thing that Obi rides in Episode III. Want one, I do. Also, Yoda.)

I also watched some of this old western TV show about Jim Bowie, which was fun, and saw the BBC mini series version of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which was… interesting. (CHILDERMASS. I know, nobody’s read that book let alone seen the show, so nobody understands me when I fangirl…)

Bookish

I also got dozens of books from a friend who was moving and was incredibly nice and gave them to me. Like… how do I even express my feelings. ❤

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These are a few of the books I’m most excited to read.

Speaking of books…

I FINISHED READING PLENILUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plenilune Cover SingleYes, that requires caps-lock and that many exclamation points. It does. Seriously though, I’d been in that book since Christmas. It took me almost eight months to read it. I thought I would NEVER be done. But I was determined to finish it in August so I set myself a goal to read a chapter a day and I did it and finished early and just AAAHH I feel so free and so accomplished for making it through that monstrously large book! *happy flailing* Yes, it was worth it, in case you were wondering, simply because of Dammerung, who is a FABULOUS character, one of my favorites of ever. Dammerung is the best. That is all. ❤

I read these books in August. SO MANY BOOKS. I feel accomplished.

Aug2015books

  • A Wish Made of Glass, which I reviewed on the blog. Cinderella-ish and fey things and delicious writing! 5 stars.
  • Mixed on the Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World collection. Fairytales are dark, y’all. 😛 Also not all of them were really 12DP but just shared themes. But still interesting, and useful research for my NaNo novel this year! Also Irish fairytales are the best because HUMOR. I kinda reviewed that on Goodreads. 3 stars?
  • Plenilune I already talked about but it gets 5 stars just because DAMMERUNG.
  • The Ankulen was… interesting. Hadn’t read anything like it before. 4 stars. (Reviewed it on Goodreads…)
  • House of Many Ways I reread, which means I’ve successfully reread the entire Howl trilogy this year and LKDJLFKJSDKJL I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. ❤ This one is hilarious and I love it. Also Twinkle. I WANT MY THTWIPEY ONETH. That is all. 5 stars (duh).
  • Loot: How to Steal a Fortune was a random YA heisty book from the library. It was enjoyable and had some fun heisty/con things but… I think something was missing. I don’t know. It was still fun though. 3 stars.
  • Enchanted Glass I also randomly got from the library because DIANA WYNNE JONES. Magical fun ensued. 5 stars (all the Diana Wynne Jones things get five stars).
  • Captive of Raven Castle. I reviewed this on Goodreads too… It was enjoyable. 4 stars.
  • Veiled Rose – I FINALLY FINISHED THIS. I started it in April so I’m so glad to be done. Of course, I’d read Heartless eons ago, so I hardly remember it so the parts that linked up with that I didn’t get as much out of as I should… But Leo and Rose Red are adorable, especially as kids, and Leo’s a mess now and laksdflkdj I need Moonblood this instant. (Also pink frogs falling from trees and I love you I love you. XD) 5 stars.
  • I read one of the novellas in Five Enchanted Roses last month, but I got around to the rest recently. It’s very convenient how there are five different star ratings and five different stories; I assigned a different rating to each. Stone Curse is still my favorite. ❤ The others were varying levels of enjoyable. *shrug* The overall still gets 5 stars because of Stone Curse (I LOVED IT SO MUCH) but the actual rating apparently would average 3 because of a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 star rating… Anyways I added review-ish thoughts on Goodreads.

Nightstand Books (September)

Nightstand Books is done monthly by Jenelle and D.J. — join them usually the first Wednesday of the month (I know, I tend to rebel and be early…) and share your own nightstand books if you wish!

And heeeere is my Nightstand Book(s) of the month:

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YES! I’m only in the middle of ONE book right now and I feel so happy and accomplished that I finished all those books I was in and wanted to read in August! *happy flailing* I happen to be on page 50 and Percy only FINALLY arrived so I assume the story will pick up now. It’s fun and funny though, and has that “classics” feel that usually means I don’t have a CLUE what’s going on but I assume it’s probably brilliant and over my head. (Robert Louis Stevenson does that to me ALL the time and it’s fascinating.) I plan to finish The Scarlet Pimpernel ASAP and then to leisurely decide what to read next and try not to be in the middle of ten dozen books at the same time ever again. (Ahem. We’ll see how that goes…)

In other news, I seem to have re-discovered my addiction of parentheses. Sorry ’bout that. 😛

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So! That was my August. No idea what September holds, yet, except that it’s going to be insanely busy. It’s rather a frightening thought…

Also! I’m going to be internet-less this coming extended weekend and very busy beforehand, so… if I’m not around, that is why. But I have something super fun and (hopefully) exciting coming up on the blog next week on Wednesday, so stay tuned!