What I Accomplished in 2019

2019 was a big year for me! I had a lot going on both personally and professionally in my writing life and science career. So today, I’d like to look back at what I hoped to accomplish this year as well as what I actually did accomplish.

Personal Stuff in 2019

So this year I did a bunch of pretty awesome things and/or had some awesome things happen:

  • Had my 1 year anniversary ❤
  • Visited Peru
  • Visited Minnesota
  • Met Nichelle Nichols
  • Earned a promotion to Senior Scientist at my day job
  • Gained a nephew!

Writing Accomplishments in 2019

Guess what? This was also a HUGE year for my writing career. All of these were resolutions last year, and guess what? I did them! Check it out!

  • Published my first novel ever!
  • Published another 2 novellas
  • Queried Sea of Broken Glass…and got a revise & resubmit!
  • Learned So. Much. Marketing.

Looking back on a decade

Yeah, so turns out we’re closing out the 2010s, and a lot of people are talking about what they did over the last 10 years. So let me outline my decade for you:

  • Graduated with my BA in Biology in 2011
  • Attended grad school and obtained my MS in Neuroscience in 2015
  • Learned how much I love to write…and that I wanted to publish
  • Began a job in biology where I get to work on the cutting edge of drug development
  • Earned an award at the day job for key work on a big project
  • Advanced from Scientist to Senior Scientist
  • Made huge strides in learning the industry of publishing and books
  • Became an indie author
  • Had my heart broken, then found the love of my life
  • Lost two grandparents and several pets
  • Fell in love with new pets
  • Married the love of my life
  • Started my own business
  • Visited Iceland and Peru
  • Went to my first conventions: Katsucon, Wizard World, Galaxy Con, and Book Con
  • Got a Revise & Resubmit on a book close to my heart
  • Learned who I want to be 🙂

I have come a long way over the last ten years, including a lot of heartache and struggle that helped me become a better, more compassionate person. I learned who I really am and who I want to be. I found the place in life that makes me happy, and I’m looking forward more than ever to what the next decade will bring us.

Final Thoughts on 2019

I don’t have as many things to list as last year, but I love my accomplishments all the same! I made some huge strides in my career, both writing and science, and I took some big steps in creating the writing life I want, including publishing and writing the stories I love and readers are loving, as well. I also had a great time with my husband on several trips, big and small, learned more about our big, wide world, and saw my extended family grow in exciting ways.

Though some sad and stressful things also happened this year, I choose to focus on these good things. And I love that I’m in a place where I can say the good outweighs the bad. I sincerely hope you can, too!

Be sure to come back next week to hear what my resolutions will be for next year (I’ve got some big things planned!), but until then, tell me all about your year! What did you do? What did you love? Let’s chat and celebrate the end of 2019 together!

My Year in Books: 2019 Edition

It’s that time of year again! The time to discuss all the wonderful books I read and loved this year! If you want to see everything I read this year, hop over to Goodreads and check it out.

First, some stats.

This year my goal was to read 70 books. I blew that goal away! As of the writing of this post, I’m at 89 books and expect to finish at least 1 or 2 more before the end of December.

Of those books, I believe 25 (possibly more) were indie authors.

Three were my own (surprise!), which technically I read at least 3 times each.

One was a book I beta read.

Eight were graphic novels or manga.

Six were nonfiction (including an anthology I participated in).

Four were poetry.

And now, without further ado, my picks for favorite reads of the year!

Young adult

The Siren, by Kiera Cass

Yes, I know this is kind of an old one, but I adored this standalone! I especially loved how the ocean was its own character.

Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

This was an incredibly inventive fantasy that I became completely immersed in. If you’re looking for something well-written and just a bit different, this is a great pick!

General Fiction and Adult Fiction

Sourdough, by Robin Sloan

Oh my word, I loved this book! It’s all about an engineer who discovers a love for baking bread…and who inherits a pretty awesome sourdough starter that may or may not be alive? I mean, beyond the usual yeast-alive that bread starters have…

Fantasy

The WAy of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

I can’t believe it took me so long to finally dive into Brandon Sanderson, but I finished this book early in the year and still can’t get over the magic and worldbuilding in this series. They’re long, but so worth the read!

Daughter of Sun, Bride of Ice, by H.L. Burke

This is an indie book that was absolutely fantastic. I really loved the worldbuilding and the fiery characters in here!

Sand and Storm, by Stella Dorthwany

Another indie I read in the Fellowship of Fantasy book club this year, this book has some awesome high fantasy worldbuilding, sand magic, and archaeology, all things I loved wrapped together so beautifully!

Garden of Lilies, by Eli Constant

Okay, so I read a lot of indies this year! This was an adult urban fantasy I just could not put down…even though I didn’t love what happened in the ending. Despite that, I found that by the end of November, I was craving the world and characters again, and I purchased and devoured book 2. Definitely worth the read, but not for those of you who like clean fiction!

Lake Silence, by Anne Bishop

And finally, of course Anne Bishop is on this list! I was a little skeptical when the new The Others book wasn’t following Meg and Simon, but I quickly fell in love with this book. Let’s be real, I just love this world!

Graphic Novels

Monstress

This is such a beautifully created art style and interesting fantasy. I highly recommend this!

Over the Wall

Another gorgeous fantasy with an awesome storyline. I can’t wait to get the next books by this creator!

Delicious in Dungeon

I discovered this one at Katsucon in February, and I just can’t get over it. It’s basically a group of adventurers who need to return to the depths of a dungeon to save their friend from a dragon, but because they have no money to supply themselves, they eat their way through the dungeon. Hilarious, and an awesome treat for fans of DND!

Nonfiction

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

I have a soft spot for adventure nonfiction. In previous years I enjoyed A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and Antarctic Tears by Aaron Linsdau, and this book felt like it was in the same vein. It was a story of discovery, perseverance, and nature that I loved!

Resources for Writers

The Business of Being a Writer, by Jane Friedman

This is definitely a must-read for anyone who wants to write professionally, whether that’s indie or traditional. It covers a range of topics including the basics of writing jobs, online tools, and the ins and outs of the industry, both indie and trad.

Concluding Thoughts

I read so many awesome books this year, and if I shared every one I loved, this post would be more like a novella! So if you’re interested in seeing everything I read, don’t forget to hop over to Goodreads!

There are also a bunch of books on my TBR that I wish I could have read this year but unfortunately won’t make it until next year (thinking of you, Dear Author!). I look forward to sharing them next December!

In the meantime, what did you read and love this year? I’m always looking for new reads, especially in fantasy, urban fantasy, YA, and writing! Let’s chat in the comments!

My Year in Books: 2018 Edition

I read so many awesome books this year. Here are some of my favorites!

This year was a good reading year for me. As of the writing of this post, I completed 77 books, comics, and short stories (and yes, I include comics in this count. That’s a post for another day.). And I think that’s pretty good!

So today, for the final post of 2018, I thought it would be a good idea to hold my own bookish awards party. Here are my favorite books for a few different categories. 😉 (All books I read in 2018, though they were not necessarily published this year.)

Non-Fiction

First place: Educated, by Tara Westover. This is an amazing memoir about the childhood and education of a girl who grew up outside of the school system in a family that told her the world was out to get her. It’s thoughtful, insightful, heartbreaking, and empowering, all in one book!

Honorable mentions:

The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. This book is all about a serial killer who was active during the Chicago World’s Fair. Very creepy and well-written!

On My Own, by Savannah Jezowski. This is a great little companion for indie authors, teaching them how to use Word to format manuscripts for print and ebook publication… not only is it good for saving some money, but Savannah’s voice is easy to read and friendly.

Contemporary Fiction

First place: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Every human should read this book. It’s empowering and devastating and really explains the world that either readers are all too familiar with or not familiar enough with. Everyone needs to read it.

Honorable mentions:

When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon. This is an excellent coming-of-age story set in the American Indian culture… with a pretty fantastic set of characters!

Hushed, by Joanne MacGregor. This is a unique Little Mermaid retelling about a girl determined to save the world and the movie star she loves. It’s an adorable story!

American Panda, by Gloria Chao. This is another coming-of-age story about a girl who must come to terms with what she wants versus what her family wants for her… and all the consequences that come with it.

Save the Date, by Morgan Matson. This is a cute, funny, and simultaneously heavy story about what it means to grow up and become your own person… all set against the backdrop of a wedding gone horribly wrong! As I had my wedding this year, it was a fun addition to my TBR.

Science Fiction

First place: The Fireman, by Joe Hill. This is such an imaginative story about a fungal infection that ravages the Earth. Once infected, people have only a little time before they spontaneously combust… or do they?

Honorable mentions:

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein. This is a great classic tale of revolution with an amazing narrator.

Fantasy

My biggest category.

First Place: Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi AdeyemiThis story is about a girl with magic in a world that hates people like her. And her quest to restore magic to the world for good.

Honorable mentions:

Etched in Bone, by Anne Bishop. This is last year’s installment in The Others series, one of my favorite urban fantasies. The political tension is heating up, and the characters are as lovable as ever!

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a very unique standalone based on kelpie mythology. If you ever wondered about racing kelpies, this book is for you. Such fantastic lore and worldbuilding here!

Salt & Stone, by A. L. Knorr. This is an extension of The Elemental Origins series, so you’d do best to read that first. But this is such a deep and emotional story of magic, self-sacrifice, and mystery… with mermaids!

How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather. This is set in modern day Salem, following the descendant of Cotton Mather. It was a delightfully creepy tale of teen angst, generational grudges, ghosts, and witches. Good for an October read!

Short Stories

First Place: Tears of the Sea, by Savannah Jezowski. Very rarely have I read anything that can do so much worldbuilding with so few pages! And her writing is so lyrical and beautiful… I truly read nothing else like it this year!

Honorable Mentions:

Blood in the Snow, by Sarah Pennington. This is an Asian-inspired Snow White retelling that I’ve talked about before. It’s a beautiful story of love and magic!

Final Thoughts for 2018

It was a good reading year. I also read plenty of graphic novels and comics, and while I didn’t lay out my favorites here, or list all the books that deserve attention, I enjoyed so many of the stories I read for a variety of reasons. You can drop on over to my Goodreads page to see them all!

But now I want to hear about your year in books. What were your absolute favorites? Were there any that you’d recommend? What about books you didn’t much care for? Let’s talk in the comments!