Goals: July 2018

It’s already time for another goal review and reset. June was a productive month; I published Light & Shadow, Tales of Blood & Light Book Five. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over to Amazon to get your copy!

Let me review my goals for June:

  • FINISH THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION Check! The sad news is the conclusion really needs a full rewrite, which is planned for next month.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS Check, ongoing.
  • THE EIGHTH OCTAVE REVISION Check! Got this done when I wasn’t sure it would happen.

I made separate goals for myself and Eden Reign this month. If you want to see the goals for Eden, head here.

My goals for July:

  • Work on Daughter of Fortune conclusion. It needs help!
  • Try something fun and different! I have a few stories in my head I want to start getting out.

And that’s it!

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Goals: June 2018

Time keeps passing; I keep struggling to catch up. The good news is I managed to accomplish my May goals … mostly.

In May I set these goals:

  • THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION: I worked on this as much as time allowed, but there are still six chapters to go. Even so, I feel good about the massive rewriting we accomplished, so I’ll give myself a CHECK.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS: I definitely worked on these. There is definitely more work to do. I’ve hit a slower phase of my side of the work while the content editors do their revisions, but essays for me to review still trickle in. Someday I hope to announce that this book is ready to be published, and that will be a happy, happy day!
  • PUBLISH LIGHT AND SHADOW: CHECK–or at least, it’s up for pre-order here. Order it early and make an author happy. The actual publication date turned into June 5th, but I really couldn’t have squeezed it in by 5/31. The print version may take a tiny bit longer, but I’m ordering the proof tonight.

My goals for June are:

  • FINISH THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY REVISION Six chapters! I can do it!
  • ALASKA ESSAYS As the work comes in, I do it.
  • THE EIGHTH OCTAVE REVISION Tamara and I want to get this one ready to publish, hopefully before the end of the summer.

Light and Shadow

The pre-order is up for the Light and Shadow ebook, coming June 5, 2018.

Click the image to pre-order on Amazon! More details coming soon.

If you haven’t read the book description yet, feel free to hazard a guess about who the new narrators are for Book Five in the comments. If you get it right, you might get a prize …

lsnewmaster

Light and Shadow now has its own page here on my site, too. Check it out!

Goals: April 2018

I thought I was being clever by keeping my March goals short and sweet, but even so, I struggled to meet them. Sometimes life just gets too busy and it’s hard to stay on top of everything. The big wrench in the works for March was my Alaska Essays project, which I had thought was nearly done, but then late in the game needed another revision. For a book of nearly 150,000 words, another revision is a big deal and quite a few hours of work. I guess that’s what I get for leaping to the conclusion that it might be done.

Anyway, my exact goals for March were:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE: No check. I made progress, but I did not finish. I guess it will roll over into April.
  • FORMATTING PROJECT- No check. This one got cancelled entirely.
  • FINISH ALASKA ESSAYS- No check. I did, however, make solid progress on a final and unexpected revision.
  • FINISH LIGHT AND SHADOW TWEAKS/READ THROUGH and SEND TO BEAT READER(S) CHECK! At least I got one.

April Goals:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE: One could say the saga continues.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS: I like to think I’ve learned my lesson about using the word “finish.”
  • APPLY LIGHT & SHADOW feedback and prep for publishing in May!

If you haven’t checked out my first co-written book, River Running, writing as Eden Reign with Tamara Shoemaker, you can get it here.

RRfinalMASTER11.23.18 ebook

 

 

March 2018 : Goals

Ugh, February. It’s such a short, difficult month. I’m glad to see it go, but sad that I did not perform very well on my goals. The good news is I got a puppy, which always makes everything better.

Shadow the border collie mix is a loyal, curious, utterly devoted little sweetheart. He is currently sitting in my lap as I write this blog post. He has good balance and a particular ability to insert himself into laps unexpectedly.

shads.jpg

Last month I over ambitiously thought I could do all this despite the distraction of that adorable puppy face:

  • DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE- HALF-CHECK? I got about halfway through this revision. I’ll plod on through it next month.
  • FORMATTING PROJECT- QUARTER-CHECK? It’s coming in slowly, in bits and pieces. It will also roll over into next month.
  • ALASKA ESSAYS-CHECK! The draft is now out for review with the principle players. The deadline for final revisions is March 20th, which means the project really should be drawing to a close by the end of March!
  • LIGHT AND SHADOW TWEAKS-HALF-CHECK: I got about halfway through this one, too.

I DID do a revision with Tamara on one of our Eden Reign projects (The Eighth Octave) and we prepped for publication for River Running. If you’d like to read more about that, head over to Eden Reign’s March goals blog.

Next month I’ll be playing catch up on everything that I did not finish this month.

March Goals:

  • FINISH DAUGHTER of FORTUNE REWRITE
  • FORMATTING PROJECT
  • FINISH ALASKA ESSAYS
  • FINISH LIGHT AND SHADOW TWEAKS/READ THROUGH and SEND TO BEAT READER(S)

 

Eden Reign’s River Running comes out March 6th. You can still pre-order!

RRfinalMASTER11.23.18 ebook

 

 

The Top Ten Books I read in 2017

I went into 2017 aiming to read diverse fiction books and non-fiction. I definitely read diverse books, though I failed to read many from earlier eras.

I also set out with the idea that I was going to use my reading as an escape. I’d been feeling pretty down at the end of 2016 after Election Day. My therapy for my disappointment was reading whatever I wanted during 2017.

Looking back over the books that really left an impression on me in 2017, it turns out most of them weren’t escape reads, though I did read quite a few I would consider as such.

As ever, my reading list is comprised of books I read in 2017, not necessarily books published in 2017. See my entire 2017 reading challenge here.

My stats:

Total books read: 103

Total pages: 36,334

Books by men: 36

Books by women: 63

Anthologies or co-authored works: 4

Fiction: 78

Non-fiction: 23

Poetry: 2

Indie-pubbed: 10

Books by minorities or people of color: 21

Books from 21st Century: 92

Books from 20th Century: 9

Books from other centuries: 2

My Top Ten, in no particular order:

1) The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer (2014): At its heart this is a hopeful book, and I read it at a time when I needed hope. I appreciated Shermer’s ambitious attempt to offer a philosophy of morality based in science and reason, although I do think at times he neglected to account for the darker angels of our nature in favor of focusing on the better ones.

2) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (2011, 2014): In a year when “science” faced political and popular opposition, Sapiens stood out as a proudly scientific book full of interesting information about the history of Homo sapiens. I appreciated the information, but not always the tone of this book, which sometimes slipped into somewhat dismissive or over-generalized musings. That said, the profound and thought-provoking examination of the human species was worth the irritation. I also read the next book by this author, Homo Deus, in which he tries to predict the future of humanity, but I think he was at his best when firmly grounded in evidence, without so much speculation.

3) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2016): One reason I love fiction is how a story unfolds on so many levels. This book is a beautiful example of layers—layers of time and history and memory and experience and how they come together to create a character’s story. This was one of those precious books in which the total effect was more than the sum of its parts. I don’t rank this list, but if I did, Homegoing would be in the spot of #1 for my 2017 reads.

4) The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben: After the self-important voices of The Moral Arc and Sapiens, The Hidden Life of Trees offered a delightful alternative in my non-fiction science reading. This was a book of passion, written by a forester with a profound relationship with his trees. I found myself utterly caught up in his joy and excitement as I read about the fascinating lives of trees. A breath of fresh air!

5) Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014): This book came highly recommended, but I was a little worried about reading it. I was already feeling a little bruised and battered by trying to talk about racism in America with what I’ll call racism “deniers.” I feared reading this book would only make me sadder. However, Just Mercy armed me with more concrete information, which is always helpful. I read this back-to-back with Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. The two books taken together provided me with a deeper understanding of America’s enduring shame.

6) Missoula by Jon Krakauer (2105): I’ll read anything by Jon Krakauer. I appreciate his accessible approach and his genuine curiosity as he examines diverse topics. In the case of Missoula, I did fear the heavy subject matter (rape) was likely to depress me again in a social climate exploding with the misogyny that led to 2017’s #metoo scandals. But Krakauer did a fine job with this book, using a specific case of one city to show problems in how we attempt to deal with rape in our culture. I was a little startled that he his posited himself as unaware of the magnitude of this problem, but if one thing has come out of 2017’s turmoil, I’d hope it’s that no one is left unaware that one in four women experience sexual assault in their lifetime.

7) The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (2015): This was a fun read that blended the best of fantasy and Regency romance. I picked it up on a lark at the library because I liked the cover, and it turned out to be one of those books I simply couldn’t put down, right on through the next book in the series and a related novella. I look forward to the third installment.

8) An Ember in the Ashes/A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (2016, 2017): This is the unfinished fantasy series keeping me on tenterhooks, supplanting Games of Thrones and The Name of the Wind as the top “next installment” that I will devour in one night when it finally is released. Ember in the Ashes has it all: an exciting story, deep world-building, juicy intrigues, epic familial drama, diverse and dimensional characters, and a slow-burning romance with a love triangle. The only trouble is the release date for Book Three keeps getting moved further out…Sabaa, please. Stop listening to all that music and get that book written!

9) His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (2015): This was another serendipitous find at the library, a random book I picked out for no particular reason except that I felt like reading a historical novel with a touch of mystery. I found a well-written mind-bender of a story that held me captive from start to finish. Thought-provoking, chilling, and intense, it transported me back in time in the same way Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood did, years ago.

10) We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2017): Ta-Nehisi Coates does not write to make you feel comfortable or hopeful, nor to provide solutions. But he’s a thoughtful writer, concerned with exposing the interior of his mind in the most precise way he can. I appreciate his embrace of the essay form and his painstaking explication of his thought process and his experience, and how the personal relates to the political in understanding racism in America. Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates asks you to listen in the deep way that only reading can train you to do.