2018 in Review

amc look promo

First, the fun part: Round Midnight is currently free. Yes, free! So if you haven’t read this duet of retro Christmas/New Year’s Eve romances, now’s the time. You can get it at AmazoniBooksB&NGoogle Play, and Kobo.

Also, Star Dust won’t be free much longer, so click fast if you don’t have the awakening divorcee and the playboy astronaut next door.

Now onto the disappointments!

2018 was the worst writing year I’ve had since 2011. I barely wrote any new words, I spent most of the year staring at my manuscripts while dread galloped around my mind, and I felt defeated by my desire to be a writer in a way that I haven’t basically ever.

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Things I Really Liked in 2018

As has now become my custom, this is my year in culture in review post. I’m posting it super early because I know I won’t get to read or watch stuff in the next month as I become a holiday wraith. (If you’re curious, I also wrote lists in 2017 and 2016.)

Below are things I listened to, read, or watched this year. Most were released in the last year to two years, though a few are oldies that I only just discovered. I tried to err on the side of more obscure selections, though a few popular choices slipped through. I make no pretense that this list represents the year’s “best” entertainment; it’s merely the culture I enjoyed the most in 2018.

Music:

  • Movement,” Hozier: it takes a few views to hear anything given the, um, visuals, but once you’re able to listen, the song itself is soulful, deeply felt, and dead sexy. Here’s to the full album next year!
  • Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves: the title is a pun and it’s the perfect song for Dean and Vivy from Free Fall. But seriously, the entire album is gorgeous, grown up, and an absolute delight.
  • John Field, Complete Nocturnes, Elizabeth Joy Roe: I’m still years from being able to play nocturnes, but when I get there, I’ll start with Field. And maybe in a decade or two I’ll be able to pretend to play this well. It’s a lovely collection, made more special in that you don’t know it the way you do Chopin.
  • Redbone,” Childish Gambino: so I found “This is America” to be a bit glib (I know), but when it was everywhere, I dug into Gambino’s backlist and fell hard for “Redbone.” That Donald Glover has it going on.
  • Pristine,” Snail Mail: I almost, almost saw Snail Mail live this summer, and if I had, I would have properly been able to brag I knew about them first. I’ll have to settle for this instead: I love Lindsey Jordan’s voice and lyrics and I bet you will too.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2018”

Things I Really Liked in 2017

In the vein of this post from last year, here’s a list of things I really liked in 2017.

Music/Podcasts:

  • Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812, Broadway Soundtrack: while this show was on Broadway in 2016 and has since closed, I became obsessed with the soundtrack in 2017. Denee Benton’s voice is extraordinary and vulnerable, and the rest is a delightful mash up. Look for Russian themes in my upcoming work. /waggles eyebrows/
  • DAMN., Kendrick Lamar: timely, brilliant, and on constant rotation in my car.
  • Turn Out the Lights, Julien Baker: full disclosure, I didn’t love it quite as much as Sprained Ankle, but I can’t stop listening to it and “Appointments” is probably my song of the year.
  • Melodrama, Lorde: I didn’t like “Green Light” on the radio, but the album is an album, and much more than the sum of its parts. Perfect for writing heartbreak.
  • LA Divine, Cold War Kids: what do you know, people still write rock songs. The Bishop Briggs cameo is a highlight; she’s going to break out soon.
  • There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light, Stars: after a few subpar albums, Stars is back, and I loved every minute.
  • Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh/Slate: this podcast about Watergate has given me a plot bunny so large, it’s like a plot hare.

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2017 in Review

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2017 was a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner. (Quick! Name that book.) It was a difficult year for me personally, but a truly awful one nationally and globally. I started here, you might remember, looking at the moon and bracing for the worst. Things never improved.

But despite that, here are some things I did in roughly chronological order:

  • I revised “Free” and in May, Open Ink Press released it in Sight Unseen.
  • Genevieve and I revised, released, and then pulled Star Crossed.
  • I joked about a 25th Amendment romance on Twitter, then with the support of a group of lovely writing friends, I wrote and revised “Kissing and Other Forms of Sedition,” which appeared in Rogue Desire in June.
  • I promptly wrote “The Fourth Estate,” which appeared in Rogue Affair in November.
  • Somewhere in there, Genevieve and I wrote, revised, and released A Midnight Feast in October.
  • Genevieve and I also finished drafting Free Fall.
  • I also started and abandoned several novellas, I worked on a contemporary series for my agent, and I read and made notes for several other projects.
  • While my pile of books authored grew, my total words written is fairly low. I only wrote about 100K.
  • I read 63 new to me books (and I hope to finish a few more before New Year’s Eve!), and I kept up playing the piano. Let us speak not of my jogging.

Next year will bring the release of Free Fall and another Fly Me to the Moon novella along with, possibly, the rerelease of Star Crossed. I’m taking a break from the Rogue series, but I might contribute to a future volume. I’d also really like to finish writing a new contemporary romance and/or a women’s fiction title.

Most of all, I want to stop feeling like I’m in mourning in 2018. I want to work more consistently and more happily. I want to feel like myself again.

I wish you and yours productive reflection on the year that was and, more importantly, joy and laughter in the year to come.

(I’ve been writing some version of this for as long as I’ve been blogging. You can read about my 201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)

Things I Really Liked in 2016

Poor 2016, so maligned, so deeply sad. A prelude to tragedy, perhaps. But–in an utterly selfish way–it was a decent reading/listening/viewing year for me. I don’t write proper reviews on the blog. It feels a bit weird. I have strong opinions, and I often share these on social media and in real life, but if I’m not willing to be critical, then it feels wrong to write formal squee! reviews. So this isn’t that, it’s just a list of things I really liked.

Some of these are late 2015 releases that I didn’t consume until 2016, but most are from this year. I tried to stick with things that were, in my opinion, under-buzzed; things that, in other words, you may not have heard of. A few big books/movies/etc. slipped in anyhow. Cheers, and tell me yours (or link!) in the comments!

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2013 in Review

The last twelve months have been strange, which is to say stranger than normal because the baseline in my life is, well, strange. At the start of the year, I had many goals and most have not been achieved. But here is what I did do!

  • I wrote about 100,000 words of fiction, which included finishing the book that’s now called Special Interests, writing a sequel to it, and starting three other projects. I also wrote innumerable words of non-fiction, emails, and blog posts (some highlights of the latter).
  • sold a book and then, because that had been so much fun, I sold three more.
  • My first novel, Brave in Heart, came out in July, whereupon I discovered convincing people to read your book might actually be more difficult than writing one.
  • But the sting of that faded because working with critique partners, beta readers, and editors who take you and your work seriously is awesome.
  • I revised Special Interests and now I can’t wait for you to read it (April 7, 2014; mark that down someplace).
  • I read many wonderful books, and even more articles, blog posts, and tweets about books. I generally came to feel like contemporary print culture is a vibrant place that I want to contribute to in as many ways as I can.

But for the past few weeks, I have been feeling very doldrum-y. My writing and creative process is like a tide. I’m the sun-bleaching-the-coral moment, waiting for inspiration to sweep back in. I know this: next year, I want to read more words, to write more and better words, and to work more productively and consistently.

As Yul Brynner once said in a movie, “So let it be written; so let it be done.”

I’ll see you in 2014!