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Goodbye 2015 and Hello 2016!

I can’t believe it’s almost 2016! Where did this year go? I know I say that every year, but it seems like it was just yesterday that we were dealing with an endless, brutal, snowy and cold winter, and now we’re about to start that fun all over again (I hope not! It’s been pretty mild here so far!).

2015 was the year the Silver Moon Saga ended with The Shadow Stealer. I was very sad to see those characters go and I still think about them often. But 2015 was also the year I got to introduce you to the characters from The Fading Dusk! I’ve been hard at work on the Smoke and Mirrors series this year, between publishing the first book and writing the first drafts to the second book AND a novella I had no idea I was going to write until late this year. I’m currently editing the novella, and once that’s done, I’ll get to start the first draft of the third book in the series. I’m super excited to write that one!

In 2015 I managed to read 100 books! (Okay, no, technically I’m at 99 but I’m going to finish number 100 after I write this blog post.) I finished a few series, started a few more, read some books that I’ve been meaning to read for a few years now, and even managed to read a couple of 2016 releases. My favorites were Six of Crows, Queen of Shadows, Things We Know By Heart, A Darker Shade of Magic, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Saint Anything, Walk on Earth a Stranger, Fans of the Impossible Life, The Wrath and the Dawn, Wolf by Wolf, and This Monstrous Thing. Have you read any of these? What were some of your favorite 2015 reads? What are you looking forward to reading in 2016? I already have a list of books I can’t wait to get my hands on, but I also need to get through books that have been sitting on my shelves for years. I need to avoid the libraries if I ever want to make a dent in my TBR pile!

I also went traveling for the first time in four years! I’m not a huge fan of flying, and it got so bad that I didn’t go anywhere for the longest time. But this year my friend told me to come to Texas in September, and I did it! And I’m glad I did because I discovered flying isn’t nearly as horrible as I originally thought. It was a lot of fun seeing another part of the country, even if it was super hot and humid most of the time! And then after I came back, I went to Boston for the weekend! That was a great trip as well, and I’m so glad I went. As for 2016? Well, my plan is to go to BEA in Chicago in May. I’ve never been to Chicago, so I’m excited for that. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit all the books in my luggage, though. 🙂

So that was my year. A little bit of reading, a little bit of writing, and a little bit of traveling. If my 2016 contains all of that, I’ll be happy.

Have a wonderful 2016!!

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BEA 2014

Happy June! According to WordPress, this blog turned two. I can’t believe it’s been two years already!

I also can’t believe that another BEA has come and gone. Yep, for the third year in a row, I was over at the Javits Center surrounded by books and book lovers. I ended up with forty-eight new books (that’s the same amount I got last year!) that I can’t wait to read. Want to see what I got?

day1Day One-I thought my arms were going to break carrying all of this! (7 of these are signed)

day2Day Two-9 of these are signed!

day3Day Three-Just one signed this time

I’m excited because a lot of these are YA contemporary, which I’m definitely in the mood for right now! There’s something about the summer that makes me want to read contemporary novels. But what do I read first? Usually I pretty much grab whatever book catches my eye and go from there, but sometimes I have a hard time choosing! I’ve seen my friends make lists of what to read during which month, and I’m going to try that method out. I’ll let you know if that works for me! I hope to get through a large chunk of them this summer since I’m in a huge reading mood and haven’t had a chance to read much this year, but it all depends on how my writing and editing goes with the final two books in the Silver Moon Saga! Last week was spent writing the last story for the second novella, and after I finish that, it’s time for another read of the final book. I have my work cut out for me, but I hope to be done by the end of the month or early next month!

It’s always sad when BEA is over, since I pretty much spend the entire year looking forward to it. But after three days of trekking to the Javits center, dealing with crowds, and carrying bags stuffed with books, it was nice to come home and relax! Now I’m literally surrounded by books (my bookshelf is full, so I have piles on my desk and dresser) and it’s amazing. I love it.

By the way, I joined Instagram, so feel free to follow me to see more BEA pictures. And dessert. I like posting pictures of desserts!

I will probably be quiet again, especially with all the writing and editing I have planned, but I do make an effort to update both my Facebook author page and my Twitter on a daily basis.

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And even more revisions.

So. Once again, I’ve been neglecting this poor blog. And I apologize for that, but I’ve been so busy with revisions and revisions and oh yeah, more revisions, that I haven’t had much time for anything else! But now I can happily say that I finished revising the second draft!

I’ve been working on THE SHADOW STEALER, the third book in the Silver Moon Saga, since November. I finished the first draft in February, took some time off, and then started revising. Unlike the last two books in the Silver Moon Saga, this one got ripped to shreds. Hey, it happens. I knew as I was writing it that I wasn’t happy with certain scenes, but I told myself to get to the end, and then work on fixing it. Which is what I did, and I’m glad I did it that way. I didn’t completely change every single page, but there were a lot of changes. I even cut 10,000 words in one shot. That did make me sad, but I knew none of those 10,000 words were important (there was a very cute scene that I hated to get rid of, but I made sure to replace it with an even cuter scene!). Despite all these changes, the word count only grew 5000 words, which is good, since this one is long. Very long. But it’s the final book in the series, and I wanted to make sure my characters and the story got a proper ending, which means more words. Hey, we all like long books, right? (Please say yes!)

So what comes next? While I wish I could send THE SHADOW STEALER to my beta, it’s not quite ready yet. I still want to read it over one more time to make sure my changes work. But because I’ve been focusing on this book since November, I want to spend some time away from it so it’s fresh when I reread it. In the meantime, I have a second novella to work on! I’m really excited to start working on a certain someone’s back story. I started it a few months ago, just as a random, fun exercise, and now I’m ready to add to it.

There is, of course, other things going on. May is a busy month with birthdays and vacation and BEA! I’m so excited for BEA. I’ll definitely post more about it as we get closer (maybe I can do a survival guide?). I’m also looking forward to the summer and WARM WEATHER. I can’t wait to sit outside and read! My to-read pile is obnoxiously huge; it’s time to get through some of these books!

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My Favorite Reads of 2013

2013 is coming to an end! It was a great year for me, both in terms of reading AND writing. Not only did I read the most books I’ve ever read in one year, but I also published a novel and a novella! So this definitely was the year of accomplishments.

When I started 2013, I had, like many other YA readers, a case of series-fatigue. Following the example of others, I decided to try contemporary, a genre I’ve always avoided for no reason whatsoever, and I discovered I absolutely loved it. I didn’t read as much of it as I wanted to, but I hope to read more in 2014! Also this year I went to three days of Book Expo, and I think I’ve read maybe 1/3 of the ARCs I received? So another goal in 2014 is to read all of those books! We’ll see how well that goes. I also want to keep up with my series (especially any that are ending in 2014), so I may alternate between ARCs and new books.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite reads from the year:

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New York Comic Con 2013

On Friday, October 11th, I attended New York Comic Con! Comic Con is always a crazy, fun time, and this year was no exception. Actually, this was the best organized year yet, so maybe it was slightly less crazy than other years? For example, this year they placed microchips in the badges, and you had to tap your badges before entering the venue. When I first heard about this, I groaned and said, “It’s going to take even longer to get into the exhibit hall now!” But they actually set everything up outside of the Javits Center, where there is much more room. Better yet, there were no crazy long lines as everyone waited their turn to tap their badges. Once through, I waited my turn to enter the building, and then it was on to the exhibit hall!

001 (Medium)

My first stop was, of course, to the booths run by publishing companies! This area wasn’t too crowded, so I was able to take my time and look at everything. Everyone there was super nice, too. For example, when I stopped in front of the Penguin booth, they asked me what I liked to read, and then went out of their way to open up a box of books so I could get an ARC of Rebel Springs. They were also giving away giant tote bags, which I grabbed and used for the rest of the day. When I passed Disney’s booth, I saw Victoria Schwab was doing a signing in a few minutes. I actually missed seeing her at BEA (her line was so long they ran out of books!), so it was nice to finally meet her and get a signed copy of The Archived.

014 (Medium)Free swag

After that, I wandered the floor some more, looking at merchandise for sale and all the different cosplayers, before heading down to the conference rooms. I don’t know whose idea it was to have two literary panels back to back in the same room, but I want to shake their hands and thank them. For two hours I got to sit down, put my heavy bags on the floor, and listen to authors speak.

003 (Medium)

The first panel was “Once Upon a Time in Fantasy Lit…” featuring authors Bennett Madison, C. Robert Cargill, Catherynne M. Valente, Soman Chainani, Emily Croy Barker, and Gitty Daneshvari. They introduced themselves and their books, and then went on to discuss everything from Disney animated movies to what fantasy creature they wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alleyway. As a lover of fantasy, I had a great time and wished the panel had been longer, because the authors were both interesting and informative. I’m definitely going to pick up their books in the near future!

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After a fifteen minute intermission, the next panel, “Kill or Be Killed: Crafting a Powerful Female Protagonist” started, featuring authors Amelia Kahaney, Kendare Blake, Danielle Paige, Lauren Oliver, and Lindsay Ribar. Once again, each author was introduced and talked a little bit about their books, before discussing their awesome female protagonists in their current and upcoming novels. In particular, I was very excited to hear about Lauren Oliver’s forthcoming Panic, and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die. Both sound excellent. Ironically, they also discussed Disney animated movies. In fact, The Little Mermaid was mentioned in both panels (both favorably and unfavorably) by the authors!

009 (Medium)

Once the second panel finished, I headed back to the exhibit hall. There was a book giveaway going on at the Harper Collins booth (spin the wheel, win a book), and I won an ARC of Cruel Beauty, a Beauty and the Beast retelling I can’t wait to start reading! I spent a little bit more time at the con (visited the Artist Alley to see all the beautiful artwork) before heading home, thoroughly exhausted. But I had a great time, and I’ll definitely go again next year!

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Books of 2013: June

I may be drowning in BEA books, but I still want to share the books coming out in June that I’m excited to read:

June

4th-Siege and Storm-Leigh Bardugo

4th-Elegy-Tara Hudson

4th-The Elementals-Saundra Mitchell

11th-Another Little Piece-Kate Karyus Quinn

11th-Born of Illusion-Teri Brown

25th-Infinityglass-Myra McEntire

25th-In the After-Demitria Lunetta

25th-Ink-Amanda Sun

I’m currently reading Siege and Storm (YESSSS), and I own signed copies of Born of Illusion and Ink.

Heh, should I add The Sight Seer (June 14th) to this list? But I HAVE read it (at least seven times!) already… 😉 Don’t forget to enter to win a free copy!

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BEA2013: Day Three

Today was my shortest day at BEA and yet so much happened in those few hours that it definitely was the most memorable. I chatted up some authors, met my agency-sister Theresa for the first time, met both wonderful ladies (and Snarkles!) from Tea Time at EpicReads (and spun a wheel to get a free book!), hung out with my friends (who got what looks like every single book that was handed out today!), and got a drawing from cartoonist and author Stephan Pastis. Wow, what a day!

booksdaythree (Medium)Today’s books! Top row is signed.

stackdaythree (Medium)The stack.

Eventually I’d like to do a writeup for all three days. I’m not sure if it’ll be one giant post, or three separate ones. Do you guys want to hear every single detail? Can I even remember every single detail? Everything is a blur right now. I met so many authors in such a short amount of time, I can barely remember what books I ended up with. But I will do my best to give you an accurate account of BEA2013.

Now, which of the 47 books to start reading first…