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2014 Recap and Bookish Goals for 2015

I can’t believe it’s almost 2015! Where did this year go? It definitely had its ups and downs, and I’m hoping 2015 is a much more peaceful one for everyone.

In terms of writing, I more or less wrote two books. I say more or less because I technically started THE SHADOW STEALER in 2013, and I also wrote 1/3 of A PROMISE OF MAGIC in, oh, I don’t even know, late 2012? But let’s just say I wrote two novels in 2014. I also published two novels! THE SOUL HEALER came out in April, and A PROMISE OF MAGIC was an early arrival, publishing in November (instead of January!). As for 2015, besides publishing THE SHADOW STEALER (February 27th! Less than two months away!), I hope to start and finish two brand new manuscripts. I’m not sure if this will actually happen, but as long as I finish at least one manuscript, I’ll be happy. I’m a little nervous starting something brand new that doesn’t involve Gabi and company because it’s really hard to let those characters go. But at least I can visit them whenever I want to in Tomodachi Life, right?

As for reading, I didn’t read as much as I did in 2013, probably because I spent almost the entire year writing/editing/revising THE SHADOW STEALER! I wanted to read 100 books, but I missed that goal by five measly books! (If you count rereading THE SHADOW STEALER at least five times and beta reading, then yes, I read over 100 books!) My favorite book of the year was HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas. I waited for over two hours to get an ARC of it at BEA and it was worth it, oh my goodness. I loved it from start to finish, and I can’t wait for the next installment! In 2015 I’m going to try to be better about reading the stuff I own. I go to the library a lot and always end up with five or more books to read, which is ridiculous because I have three years worth of BEA books to read! So I’m going to ban myself from going to the library unless they have something I really, really need to read (which is basically every book ever). I already made up a list of 2015 books I want to read (and when they’re published), but I also made up a list of older books that I’ve been wanting to read but never got a chance to. A few are series that are complete now, so if I can get all three books in one library trip, I can binge read the series, which is something I love doing. I didn’t put too many books on that list, less than twenty, because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I’m interested to see how I’ll do in completing that list. Guess we’ll find out a year from now! Oh, and something else I’ve wanted to do for the longest time is reread the entire Harry Potter series. But it’s so hard to reread something when there’s so many other new things to read. But I really need to make time for this series! It’s been too long!

Other than that, I hope to attend more book events (I’m definitely going to BEA for its final year in NYC. And hopefully I’ll remember to buy NY Comic Con tickets before they’re sold out! I totally forgot this year and wasn’t able to attend.) and blog about them, of course. Unfortunately a lot of the events are at night on a weekday, and I can’t go, but I always keep an eye out for a weekend ones!

Do you have any bookish goals or resolutions for 2015? If so, good luck and to everyone, Happy New 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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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On the eve of Comic Con 2013

Tomorrow I’m going to New York Comic Con! I’m hoping to have a good time, although the weather doesn’t look very promising. Bad weather aside, I’m excited to attend two book panels, see some authors, and pick up free swag. It should be fun, and I’ll do a write-up once I get home.

Right now I’m mentally preparing myself for tomorrow’s craziness. So many people, so many things to see and do!

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New York Comic Con 2012

For the second year in a row, I attended New York Comic Con (it was my third trip altogether, although in 2009 I only went to see an idol from my favorite Japanese pop group, Arashi, wave to us from a box. Best $35 I ever spent!)! Last year, I unexpectedly met some YA authors and received free copies of their books, so I was definitely looking forward to repeating that experience this year!

I have to admit I was a bit unprepared for the craziness last year. While the Javits Center is big, when it’s crammed with thousands of bodies, it becomes very small and nearly impossible to navigate. Map in hand, I swam through the crowds in search of publishing booths and got lost more than once. Keeping that in mind, I did my research this year. I found out who was going to be there, what time signings and panels were, and located all of the booths I wanted to visit on a map, which I printed out ahead of time. Thankfully, instead of spreading the booths out like they did last year, all of the publishing companies were in the same area, which made finding them much easier. I also arrived before the doors opened, so I could get to the booths before they ran out of their free goodies. Also, after nearly breaking my arms during Book Expo, I knew to bring an extra tote bag to carry my swag in (see, I’m learning!). Here’s a sampling of what I got:

Besides samplers, postcards, tattoos, and a tote bag, I also got massive posters (Vampire Academy, Bitterblue, and The Mortal Instruments). They’re really, really nice.

No con is complete without ARCs, right? I’m quite pleased that I was able to score a copy of Through the Ever Night because last year, I met Veronica Rossi and received an ARC of Under the Never Sky. Getting her books at Comic Con has become a tradition!

I attended the con with my good friend and beta reader–she has the same tastes as me, so everything I picked up, she did as well!

In the afternoon we attended a YA panel! I always love hearing authors talk about their writing habits, how they come up with ideas, how long it takes them to finish a first draft, etc. This panel was a lot of fun, as it was obvious the authors are good friends. They spent most of the time joking and teasing one another.

Afterwards, the authors from the panel did an autographing session! The above picture shows you just how insane it was. The room was small, there were lines everywhere, and it was very noisy. I’m glad my friend and I decided to go early! We ended up at the beginning of the line, away from the pure insanity.

All of the authors were nice and signed whatever we wanted them to. It’s hard to see, but the map on the bottom right is signed by Maureen Johnson! Meeting her was pretty amazing, let me tell you. I also met Alexandra Bracken for the second time, had a chat with Tahereh Mafi, and Margaret Stohl took a picture of me and my friend because we both had Beautiful Creates tote bags. Awesome? Yes, I like to think so.

We spent about eight hours at Comic Con, total. It was exhausting, but I had so much fun that I was able to ignore my fatigue. And now I can’t wait for New York Comic Con 2013!