Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)


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!


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! πŸ™‚


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…)


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


66 Books


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.)


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. ❀


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!!! ❀



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. ^_^


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)


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.


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:



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. πŸ™‚

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


Nov. Ishness (Part 1) & Dec. Nightstand Books

In which I talk about November without the writing part, and lots and lots of BOOOKS.


So, I was working on my Ishness post, and realized I had finished the NON-writerly/non-NaNo part of it and was avoiding the NaNo stuff because it’s sooo confusing and complicated and insane and… yes. Plus it’s probably going to be long.

So I decided, Hey! Why not just post this part as Part 1, along with my December Nightstand books, and do the writerly NaNo part later?

(I WILL do it, I promise. My brain just… doesn’t want to think of writerly things right now. *collapses and wraps up in a shock blanket*)

I know what you’re thinking. “Waiiiit a minute, this person managed to do things during NaNo that WEREN’T writing?? HOW EVEN.” I know, I know. But, strangely, it did happen. So here are some highlights of my month, with pictures because I happen to love pictures.

During November, besides writing, I also managed to…

Go to a library sale.


archersgoonRead a book (huzzah!), namely Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones. It was fabulous and mind-boggling and I adored it. It effortlessly blends past, present, future, ordinary contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi, of which I have NEVER seen the like. Also the characters are in a constant state of changing around in the eyes of the reader: who’s good, who’s bad, who has devious intents, WHO IS UP TO WHAT AND WHAT ON EARTH OR POSSIBLY OFF OF IT IS GOING ON??? O_O Basically it broke my brain, mixed impossible things together extraordinarily well, had mind-blowing plot twists (SERIOUS. PLOT. TWISTS. WOW. *flail*) and was exciting and breathtaking and downright HILARIOUS! Just. Gaaah. Let me flail. All Diana Wynne Jones books are brilliant. I just love them so much. ❀


Started reading Six of Crows because it was at the library and gorgeous and new and I needed it.


Survived being an ML, i.e. doing lots of organizing, posting, emailing, and going to oodles of NaNo events. (If you’re looking for my introvert self, it’s rocking back and forth in a corner, feeling rather shriveled and glad to be back after so much excitement and fun…)

Caught a cold. Yay. (NaNo-ing when one is sick is NOT fun; I do not recommend it.)

Had Thanksgiving which was wonderful and foodish.

It’s gone. Because I ate it all. Because Thanksgiving piiiie. Nomnom.

Blogged a lot. Because I made the mistake of thinking I wouldn’t want to blog during November and so I scheduled posts… and then ended up writing at least a post every week anyway. Oops. πŸ˜›


Watched some Castle episodes between writing — good reward! (I think Leverage has spoiled me for other shows… buuut ’twas still enjoyable!)


Saw Mockingjay: Part 2, which, considering I haven’t read the books, was… interesting. (Still not sure what I think of it… I have this odd “meh” feeling that I can’t seem to sort out…) Also, FYI, going to a movie at 10 p.m. after a writing meeting when one is behind on wordcount and has a cold (and therefore going to bed at 1 a.m.) is kind of nuts, as I have now discovered. Don’t try this at home, folks.

So there are my non-writing Ishnesses of November!

December Nightstand Books

Nightstand books is a monthly meme held by Jenelle and D.J. — hop over and join in the fun! This is the last one of the year, and as I’m simply ecstatic about being able to read again now that NaNo’s insanity is over, I just can’t resist joining in this one.

I’m not sure I’ll get to all of these but they’re the ones I want to read this month:


Book of Christmas Carols: Cute collection of Christmasy songs I picked up at a library sale, this was fun to read. ^_^

Six of Crows: Um. Aslkdhadkgh. I kind of finished this one. I don’t know what I think of it except it’s totally addicting/immersing, I love heists and snarky dialog and KAZ, it’s super dark/gritty/violent (um. Wow. o.o Lost a star…), and I need the sequel LAST WEEK ALREADY. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be like a year till it comes out. I’ll just be over here dying of suspense because CLIFFHANGER noooo. (Seriously, HOW can it end that way?! *wailing*) *huggles Kaz even though he would quite literally murder me for it* 4 stars.

Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients: Soo… this was weird, and adventures of a skeleton detective in a modern fantasy (Dublin, Ireland!) setting doesn’t really sound like my thing, buuut I gave this a try because I’d heard it’s hilarious with witty dialog/banter and just GIVE ME ALL THE HUMOR AND FUN DIALOG. So yes. I adored the dialog and it’s quite a fun story, a little weird at times but… *shrug* Lots of fun. And I kind of love Skulduggery a lot. 4 stars.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: I dunno if I’ll get to these but I’m vaguely contemplating reading the books now I’ve seen the movies… I’m not sure I want to inflict 1171 pages of dystopia on myself though, so we’ll see. πŸ˜›

Aaand ebooks, which sadly do not display themselves nicely on nightstands…


The Sunken Realm: I’m reading this for review and I’m SO EXCITED to get to read the sequel to The Seahorse Legacy! I basically can’t wait. Keep an eye out for a review hopefully this month…

The Poisoned Cure: I finally got this and am insanely excited to read it. *flail* For better or worse, I seem to be addicted to the Book of Sight series…

Yorien’s Hand: Because dragons! And ARCs! And yay!

Rising Shadows: Looking forward to reading this prequel to Chasing Shadows…

Heidel: Third of the Nine Princesses novellas, I finally read this! I’m giving it 4 stars… The first part I wasn’t so sure about and didn’t know if I’d like it, but it turned out quite enjoyable/adorable. πŸ™‚


Oh, and while I’m thinking about books (who am I kidding; I’m ALWAYS thinking about books…) — here’s a couple additions to last week’s Top Ten Tuesdays post. Because naturally covers like to appear just days after I showcase the books I want to read in 2016…


Aaaand cover for Songkeeper, sequel to Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams, which Enclave Publishing just revealed the cover of and which I’m insanely excited about because apparently it’s coming in Spring 2016 AND MY EXCITEMENT KNOWS NO BOUNDS.

I will be back with tales of my NaNo writing, hopefully soonish!

Fall 2015 Books

Today is the first day of Autumn! Yayness! Can you feel it in the air? Maybe? Almost? …Ahem. Autumn just kind of excites me because it’s not going to be as HOT and it feels adventurous and it smells nice and feels nice and of course NaNo will be soon and… you get the picture. I LIKE AUTUMN. There.

Also, yesterday (Sept. 22) was Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday. Couldn’t let that go un-noted… HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS. (Yes, I always celebrate the Long Expected Party, even if it’s just by thinking about it.)

I’ve heard it called Hobbit Day… and yesterday for it, Rebekah @ Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding posted possibly my favorite Middle-earth-ish post ever.

Everyone, go read it.

Fans of Tolkien and Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth: read the post because you will understand and it will ring true (no pun intended).

Non-fans: read the post because it will show you why you should become a fan and read the books.

I just love that post a lot and it reminded me again of all the reasons why The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book and Tolkien my favorite author, and… it made my soul happy. ^_^ ❀


And now, with a new season, once again, it’s time for some book anticipation…


Here is a list of books coming out this Autumn that look interesting to me!


The Poisoned CureDeborah Dunlevy

September 8, 2015

Okay, so this one is technically already out, and before Autumn officially hits. But still! I’m so very very excited about this! I need to get my hands on it. NEED. The first book in the series, The Book of Sight, was one of those random free Kindle downloads I did a lot of when I first got my Kindle app. Except that this one I actually read it. And loved it so much that I actually bought the second and third book. (Bought. This is the person who doesn’t buy books very often, especially not e-books.) And I actually read them. And I’ve been waiting on the edge of my seat for the fourth to release — and I hear there’s going to be a fifth, which makes me all kinds of excited!

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

September 29, 2015

I know nothing about this except it’s apparently set in the same world as Shadow and Bone which I know nothing about except that it’s quite popular and several people I know seem to love it so I want to perhaps try it… But Six of Crows is on my wishlist because it sounds like an awesome fantasy heisty book. What is not to like? No idea if it’s cool or not but it certainly sounds cool…


The Sunken Realm – Serena Chase

September 30, 2015

Ever since I finished reading The Seahorse Legacy, I’ve basically been dying to read the conclusion. So… yes. Though I do hear that The Seahorse Legacy was kind of redone, so I must read that again as well! Bwahaha. ALL OF THE EPIC PIRATENESS. And and aaaaand… CAZIEN. ‘Nuff said. ❀

A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnson

October 6, 2015

In this case, I’m entirely guilty of cover-love. I totally am only interested in it because of its gorgeous cover. Well, that and I think it’s a retelling of Arabian Nights which just sounds awesome because retellings! I have no idea if it will be any good or not though.

The Golden BraidMelanie Dickerson

November 17, 2015

Another medieval fairytale retelling of Hagenheim from Melanie Dickerson! I’ve loved previous installments in the series, and I keep hearing there are secrets and surprises in store for this one… Plus, THAT COVER. ❀ Needless to say, I’m very excited! Also, Rapunzel. It will be interesting to see how it’s retold in this tale!

Defying ShadowsAshley Townsend

November 2015

This is the sequel to Chasing Shadows, which I reviewed. I’m curious what will happen next with the romance and timey-wimey stuff and Robin-Hood hints and that ending of Chasing Shadows… Yes. Very curious… (Also scared of how it will turn out. But still curious. XD)

So there you are! What I’m looking forward to. I probably won’t manage to get hold of them all, but y’know me and my lists. πŸ˜‰ It’s still fun, right?

Are you excited about any of these? (Aren’t they pretty covers?? #shallowbookworm)

Any you hadn’t heard of before?

And what are you excited for coming out this Fall? πŸ™‚

ALSO IT’S FALL, GUYS. FAAAAAAAAALL! ❀ *throws leaves spontaneously*