Friday, December 29, 2017

2017: A Year In Blog

Well, it's been a hell of a year, hasn't it?

2017 did not start off happy or calm for me. 2017 was a year long exercise in seeing how much outside events can seriously mess with your head and make one feel instantly drained in a creative sense. I'm referring to the political climate in this country and around the world this year; the balance between staying informed, researching the news to gain accurate information, but also needing some space for self-care is not a balance I've yet perfected.

On a personal note, my grandma was declining and died in January. In November, my aunt and uncle moved out of the house they'd shared with my grandparents for over forty years, a house I grew up in because grandma's house was my afterschool. It was a bit sad to sell the house, but also good in other ways.

But there were good things about 2017 as well!

The big news of the year is this:

Guys, that's my name in a paperback!!

Which was published on October 30th in Full Dark.

"Haunted Lake" was the one short story I wrote during my weeklong try in 2016's NaNoWriMo.

If 2016 was the year of distraction for me, then 2017 was the year of exploring. I was still working on my Victorian idea at the beginning of the year, but that quickly went on hold and I started drafting a Regency-era romance--related to my previous historical fiction efforts--which dragged and dragged. The draft floundered, I grew bored, the characters had no chemistry, and then I had a new idea--a contemporary series. I could include the diversity that I so believe in. I could do "research" instead of Research. Still outlining that idea. I will talk about it in due time.

But outlining--me, the long time pantser--actually outlining

Exploration--I went with my family to Japan in March to take my grandmother's ashes back to Japan. We stayed in the Tokyo area for ten days. Our family's not from Tokyo, but we have friends there and they took such good care of us. (I now require some fruit or even a small salad with my breakfast, thanks to what I was eating in Japan for breakfast).

In August, my cousin and I went to Ireland. We had a great time! (I now do not wake up in the morning without a big cup of Irish breakfast tea.)

Closer to home, me and my best friends saw five Broadway shows this year--Amelie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Groundhog Day, Bandstand, and Once On This Island

I finished my 35 book reading challenge. 

This year, I've also become hooked to the romance novel review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and its accompanying podcast, which I listen to almost every week and enjoy tons. 

I also had two friends release books this year--two from Ms. Krystal Jane Ruin, No Rest For the Wicked and Winter's Siren. My friend Emily Steers released her second novel, Pursue the Unknown End. 

I had five guest posts this year, all five pertaining to those three books. 

Here's to 2018!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 reading challenge: the stats

So, what did I read this year?

From Goodreads:

Out of the 35 books I read this year, 25 were fiction, was poetry, 9 were nonfiction. (In 2016, I read 18 nonfiction books. Then again, my reading goal was higher by 9 books in 2016).

Of the 9 nonfiction:
-1 was a travel guide
-1 was a memoir
-2 were about romance as a writing genre
-1 was about self-publishing
-4 were history, specifically British history; 1 of these was the history of Indians living in Britain

Of the 25 fiction:
-6 were historical fiction
-7 were historical romance; 1 of these was a novella and another was a collection of 3 novellas
-2 were contemporary romance; 1 was contemporary women's fiction with a heavy romantic element
-1 was historical mystery
-1 was contemporary YA
-1 was contemporary adult
-1 was cozy mystery; another one was a mystery/adventure
-3 were fantasy; 1 was steampunk, 1 had paranormal and supernatural aspects, and the other was a fantasy retelling

Overall, 30 of the books I read this year were written by or contributed to by women authors.

-11 of the books had a non-white protagonist, major characters, or subject
-15 of the books had a non-white author or contributors

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Downton Abbey Exhibition

Everyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am a hardcore Downton Abbey fan. So when I heard that there was a Downton Abbey limited time exhibition going on at 218 W. 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, I bought tickets and dragged my mother and a friend to the city. 

I'm not sure what that building was originally, because it's not a museum, but it was more than adequate to house this exhbition, which is only in New York City until the end of January, I think. It features original set pieces, costumes, and props from the show with some historical context to guide you along the way.

We walked into a very busy lobby area, our e-tickets were scanned, and we were ushered into a small introduction room with a video introduction by a beloved Downton character. The first floor was about the servant characters.

The kitchen set!!

The servants' hall set with the bell board!

More servant's hall

There were objects and props from the show which the servant characters would have handled. Each room had an explanation of what would have gone in that room--the kitchen being the busiest place in the house, the butler's pantry and what tasks Carson was doing in there.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG December

It's December, the last IWSG post of 2017! Check out the group here.

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a writing project only a few people know about. I haven't blogged about it. I don't mean to be cryptic or secretive, but I'm also kind of afraid that if I talk about the project--which I'm outlining--and then it falls apart, then I have to explain that it's fallen apart or is on hold, as a few of my projects in the last few years are. On hold, that is.

And I don't want to do that because I want to see this idea through and I want it to work and come together. I want to finish it and see it published in whatever way it'll be published.

I'm outlining because when I pants a story, it always falls apart in the middle--I get stuck and I freeze. Part of that is lack of plotting skill and a great deal of it is anxiety, I think.

I'm also outlining because this idea is a series idea--it's romance, so the main characters are different for each story, but they share a general world and they interact and intersect every so often, so I want all of that to be coordinated before I actually write any of these stories.

And so far, it seems to be working out--this outlining thing. It's a fairly detailed outline, maybe more of a sketch because I have dialogue and some emotions and things, but the scenes aren't completely written. The greatest thing is that if I want to add to a scene or move a scene, I can simply cut and paste a hundred or so words into a new spot instead of cutting into pages and pages of writing.