The Year in Books 2017

Happy New Year, everybody! I can’t say I’m sorry to see the back of 2017. Natural disasters and human disasters seemed to be the theme. Nevertheless we persisted; we made it to 2018! (except those who didn’t).

Before I get to my book statistics I’ll share a few writing highlights. I wrote at least three new stories and majorly revised several more.

Here is a screenshot of my submission stats from 2017.

I doubled my story submissions from 2016 and received nearly 6 times as many personal rejections. (Personal rejections are gold when you’re in the submission trenches.) This is a tangible reminder that I’m making progress.

My story Wandering Eye was published on the Lorelei Signal in January of last year. I recently sold another story that should be going live in the next few months. I’ll post a link here when it does.

Over the last year I’ve become a part of a critique group of local authors. We’ve been meeting once a month. The advice I’ve gotten from Marcia, Anika, Jennie, and Tim has been invaluable and my writing continues to improve. It’s also a great motivator to have something written in time for our meetings.

I’m still in touch with most of my classmates from Viable Paradise 2016 and connect with them nearly every day. It is an incredibly supportive community. They’ve been doing great over the last year too. Several have made pro sales, signed with agents, and attended incredible workshops. I’m thrilled and grateful for my little writing family.

I entered Podcastle’s Flash Fiction contest and made the top ten out of 200 stories. I think I ultimately placed 5th.

In June I attended 4th Street Fantasy, a very small local fantasy convention with such guests as Holly Black, Elizabeth Bear, John Chu, and Max Gladstone. It’s limited to only about 250 attendees and socializing is encouraged but not mandatory. Which suits me perfectly. It also attracts a lot of Viable Paradise graduates and ended up being a mini reunion for VP20, with 16 of our class of 24 in attendence.

In September I ran a meeting of MinSpec where we did Sherwood Smith’s 2-Page exercise. It was huge success and we’ll be doing it again this spring.


On to the books part of the Year in Books!

Every year since 2010 I’ve kept a running list of the books I’ve read over the course of the year. It functions sort of as a diary of my reading habits.

By the Numbers

Grand total: 103 books read

67 print

36 audiobooks

5 ebooks

52 comics and graphic novels (not including singles issues read month to month)

22 borrowed from the library

17 borrowed from friends

11 short story collections or novellas


Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

Room – Emma Donoghue

The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett

O Human Star Volumes 1 and 2 – Blue Delliquanti

The Girl Who Drank the Moon – Kelly Barnhill

The Refrigerator Monologues – Catherynne M. Valente

Lots of favorites this year!

Favorite Author stats

Neil Gaiman 4

Gail Simone 3

David Mack 2

Charlie Jane Anders 1

Holly Black 2

Carrie Fisher 1

Seanan McGuire 2

Rainbow Rowell 1

John Scalzi 2

Terry Pratchett 2

George R.R. Martin 1

Marissa Meyer 1

Kelly Barnhill 1

Ursula Vernon 2

Catherynne M. Valente 1

Connie Willis 1

Nnedi Okorafor 2

So that was 2017 in books.

Here is the current state of of my to read shelves.

I hope that by next year the piles in front of the shelves will have been read. But that would mean I stopped adding to them and that is not as easy as it sounds.


A few other highlights from 2017.

I saw Hamilton in Chicago!

All the Hugo Award fiction categories were won by women!

Hidden Figures! Wonder Woman! Thor Ragnarok! The Last Jedi!

Brienne and Arya’s sparring match!

Black Panther and the Thirteenth Doctor to look forward to!

Extreme weirdness on tv in the form of Legion, American Gods, and Twin Peaks the Return.

The Big Sick! Ladybird! Master of None! The Good Place! Steven Universe!

The Women’s March! Trumpcare defeated! Roy Moore defeated! Resisters everywhere!

The Year In Books: 2016

2016. That was a year. A year of a few personal highs and so many communal lows.


Anyway as I’ve done for several years now, I kept a list of all the books, audiobooks, comics and so on that I read over the year. It’s my way of keeping a record of the year, based on the stories I’ve consumed.

Now on to the numbers.

I read:

111 books in total

63 print books

48 audiobooks

10 Ebooks

39 comic books (I count trade paperback collections and single issues read as a full arc together, but not single issues read month to month as they’re released)

11 short story collections or novellas (don’t count single short stories read outside of collections)

16 borrowed from the library

25 borrowed from friends

1 read for critique

37 YA

15 Middle Grade


Favorite reads:

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson

The Raven Cycle books 2 through 4, Maggie Stiefvater (I read book 1 in a previous year)

Kindred Spirits, Rainbow Rowell

The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey


Honorable mentions:

The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

Black Out and All Clear, Connie Willis

The Lunar Chronicles Books 2 through 4.5, Marissa Meyer

The Paradox Trilogy, Rachel Bach

Favorite author numbers:

Suzanna Clarke 1

Noelle Stevenson 5

Neil Gaiman 2

Jasper Fforde 1

Maggie Stiefvater 3

Gene Luen Yang 2

Rainbow Rowell 1

J.K Rowling 1

G. Willow Wilson 5

Marissa Meyer 5

Jonathan Carroll 1

Connie Willis 2

Sarah Vowell 2

Lish McBride 1

Carrie Fisher 2 (I’m still processing her loss)

Holly Black 2


Book related highlights:

Viable Paradise 20 was undoubtedly the best thing I did all year. It was incredible. I wish I could do it all over again. Thank you thank you to the instructors, staff, and fellow students for the amazing week.

There was also Wiscon. I participated in their one-day critique workshop. Went to panels, readings, and signings from the likes of Nalo Hopkinson, Charlie Jane Anders, and John Scalzi (who made a surprise appearance at the sign out). I ate breakfast for dinner with the Geek Girl Brunch Crew and geeked out about The Force Awakens.

Sadly I missed what was probably the last Nerdcon Stories because it conflicted with VP.

I read a story at the annual MinnSpec Reading.

And in March I went to London and Ireland for two weeks. It was a lovely trip. The book related highlights of the trip were taking a tour of the Globe Theatre, and the Harry Potter Studio tour. Though there were plenty of times where just walking the streets and riding the tube brought up associations with books. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Connie Willis’s Oxford time Travel series in particular.


Hey look it’s the Sorting Hat!


Hey look it’s a phoenix.


Hey look it’s Shakespeare’s Globe.


Hey look it’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Mr. Dunworthy’s team must have figured out how to save it after all!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of my to-read shelves. It’s kind of out of hand and doesn’t even include the audiobooks, ebooks, and comics.


So many books.

These are the ones I plan to read first.


2017 please be gentle with us.

The Year in Books: 2015

As I’ve done for the past five years, I kept a list of all the books I read in the past year. Each year the list has gotten longer.

Total Books Read: 102


Of those:
46 print books
56 audiobooks

Of those:
24 graphic novels
8 ebooks
4 read for critique
16 borrowed from the library
13 short story collections or novellas
30 young adult
9 Middle Grade


Favorite author numbers:

3 Neil Gaiman
3 Rainbow Rowell
2 George RR Martin
4 Holly Black
1 Jo Walton
1 Jonathan Carroll
1 Jim Butcher
1 Connie Willis


Favorite Reads:
Eleanor and Park and Carry On both by Rainbow Rowell
The Darkest Part of the Forrest by Holly Black

Honorable Mentions:
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland For a Little While and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making both by Catherynne M Valente
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The Martian by Andy Weir
Hold Me Closer Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone both by Lish McBride
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Ballroom Blitz by Veronica Schanoes

Lots of great books this year! I could add another fifteen or so honorable mentions, but I don’t want this post to go on forever. I didn’t even list any comics! Comics are the best!


Book related highlights:

I did some writing. And am still query agents. It’s a long process. A story I wrote a while back was published in the MinnSpec anthology By Polaris Bright. And a Game of Thrones parody I wrote was published on McSweeney’s here.

I attended Wiscon and saw the Tiptree Award ceremony. I’ve already read one of the shared winners, My Real Children, which was wonderful. I’m really looking forward to reading the other, The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. I went to readings or panels with Alaya Dawn Johnson, Eleanor Arnason, Ellen Kushner, N.K Jemisin, and many many others. I came home with lots of new books and haven’t begun to dig into then yet. Chances are high a few of them will make it onto the next few years’ lists.

While the convention itself was pretty awesome, my favorite part of the trip was listening to the audiobook of the Martian with my sister and brother-in-law on the drive there and back. It’s just a super entertaining and suspenseful book and listening with a few people added to the experience as we speculated about how the hero going to get out of the current life-threatening jam. I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I’m not sure it can top that.

I also attended Nerdcon Stories right here in Minneapolis. I got books signed by Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater. And got to see many other authors speak including John Green, Maureen Johnson, John Scalzi, Stephanie Perkins, Patrick Rothfuss, Matt De LA Pena, Lev Grossman, and a zillion others. Other notable guests included Hank Green, Paul and Storm, and Dessa Darling. Of course, I brought back another pile of books.

My favorite part of this convention was the daily mainstage shows. Many of the guests got to make thoughtful or funny or both fifteen-minute speeches, and then there were games and deconstructionist puppet shows and mock debates. They’ve released a couple of the speeches and games on YouTube. I’m really hoping they’ll post the moment where the entire auditorium sang “Bye Bye Lil Sebastion” it was glorious.

This year I got addicted to the web series Nothing Much To Do, an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. And the sequel Lovely Little Losers, adapted from Love’s Labors Lost. Both can be found on their creator’s channel. They will soon be releasing an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it won’t be a continuation of this series. I will miss these characters. Beadick and Pedrazar forever!

The BBC adaptation of one of my favorite books, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, was very good.

So that was the year in books! I’m currently reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. So how was everyone else’s 2015?


The Year In Books: 2014

Since 2010 I’ve kept a running list of the books I read each year. And since 2012 I’ve made a year-end post with some stats from the previous year. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have written any new books this year, but I did do major revisions on at least three and have written a few new short stories. My total list includes all the novels, graphic novels, novellas, and novelettes. As well as nonfiction books and short story collections. All age ranges are far game though I don’t count short picture books, individual short stories, or single issues of comics. However, I have started counting it if I read a run of issues of a comic book that would be equal to a graphic novel if I read them all at once but not if I read them a month to month as they were published. Without further ado, I give you 2014 in books.


88 read in total
42 print books
46 audiobooks

imageBreaking it down by category
25 Young Adult
6 Middle Grade
19 Graphic Novels
5 Short story collections
8 Nonfiction
11 Digital booksimage
11 Borrowed from the library
8 Borrowed from friends
11 Reread
4 Read for critique


Favorite Reads
The Perks Of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell


Honorable Mentions
The Mothers of Voorhisville – Mary Rickert
Locke & Key Volume 2 – Joe Hill
Veronica Mars the Thousand Dollar Tan Line – Rob Thomas
A Song of Ice and Fire 1 through 5 – George RR Martin
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick

Favorite Author Numbers
Neil Gaiman – 4
Rainbow Rowell – 1
GRR Martin – 6
Maud Hart Lovelace – 5
Jim Butcher – 1
Bill Willingham – 1
David Sedaris – 1
Jane Austen – 1
Jo Walton – 1

Other book-related highlights from 2014
In no particular order

The MinnSpec reading where I read one of my stories to a largish crowd for the first time and met several other local authors.

Going to a signing by Jo Walton at Uncle Hugo’s.

Meg Cabot tweeted about my Betsy-Tacy reviews.

My critique partners continuing to be ridiculously awesome.

Reading the Betsy-Tacy Companion and realizing I now live mere blocks from my childhood favorite author, Maud Hart Lovelace’s first Minneapolis apartment.

So that was 2014 bookwise. Jo Walton’s My Real Children is going to be the inaugural book of 2015. Anyone else wants to share book highlights from last year?


Winter Is Coming and I’ve got a cold

image(Did you see what I did there? Ice and Fire!)


I recently read all five Song of Ice and Fire books, and am eagerly awaiting book six. But since George R.R. Martin is dragging his heals, I thought I’d write it instead.


Disclaimer: I was on cold medicine when I wrote this.


A Song of Ice and Fire Book 6: A Crucible of Cats

Prologue: Character Who Is About to Die So No Need To Learn Their Name

POV character pushes open medievilish wooden door. An axe whooshes through the air like something quite sharp and axe-like. POV character dies very painfully. We won’t know that this death is significant for at least ten more chapters.

Chapter 1: Tyrion

“Hands of gold are always cold but a woman’s hands are warm,” Tyrion thought gloomily to himself. Then he did something super cool in the moment but probably foolish, if you can see ten steps ahead, but you can’t so it’s just entertaining.

Chapter 2: Arya

“Who are you?” asks the kindly man.
“Nobody,” replies Arya Stark of Winterfell.
“Liar. You are the most badass eleven-year-old in literature. Now go assassinate somebody who means nothing to you instead of one of the thousands of people who’ve directly wronged you.”
“‘Kay. Vhalor Morgulus.”
“The other phrase I don’t totally remember,” the kindly man says in response.

Chapter 3: Jon

“Winter is coming.”
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
“Cut that out already! I know some stuff, and you’re just the echo of the voice of the chick I lost my virginity to, so it’s not like you’re a walking encyclopedia or anything. Ghost, to me.”
He walks off in huff, never to be heard from again. And you never find out who his real parents are. Neener neener!

Chapter 4: Daenarys

Daenarys finally flies her dragons to Kings Landing. Everyone loses their shit. Cersei is eaten by Drogon. Only Tommen escapes. He will maybe one day return to gain back his stolen throne, riding astride Ser Pounce, and it’ll be like a vicious circle. Like in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman told that little girl to seek vengeance on her. Or maybe not. Also something about Stannis but everybody skims those chapters anyway.



I think I really captured GRR’s voice.




Reading to an Audience: in which I read to an audience.

This weekend I participated in a workshop put on by the MinnSpec authors group about reading to an audience. Something I have very little experience with. So I signed up to read an excerpt.

I did not expect to be as nervous I was. My history with Improv pretty much wiped out any fear I once had about public speaking. But there is a difference between acting out a scene you’re making up on the fly, and reading a piece you’ve spent months obsessing over every word choice. In the former, if you say or do something stupid it’s the character who did it, and you were just making it up anyway. In the latter, you’ve had time to rehearse so any mistakes can’t be waved away as no time to prep, and you have to portray all the characters, and maybe you’ve put in too many multisyllabic words that’ll make you tongue tied, and not to mention that the audience is all other writers who will know that you’re a hack who writes in cliches…

So anyway, when I stepped up to the mike my nerves responded with the full body shakes. I got through it somehow, and I don’t think the shaking was that obvious (though I haven’t watched the video to confirm) (oh yes, there was video). In fact the audience seemed to enjoy it, and gave some very good feedback, and when I read the passage again to implement the notes there was no shaking at all. I did have the advantage of going third so I could take advantage of the tips given to the first two authors.

So without further ado, here is the video of me reading a short excerpt from Tooth or Consequence. Actually I read it twice, pre and post notes.

Tooth or Consequence reading

Progress Report: Everything is Great, Everything is Grand

via The Muppets – Life’s a Happy Song [Official Music Video Lyrics] – YouTube.

Things have been going quite nicely as of late. The seemingly endless winter appears to be overish. My arm is healing. No more cast, no more pain, but I do have to do regular physical therapy to regain full strength. I’ve started a new job that I really like, though it is occupying some of the brain space that used to be devoted to writing.

On the writing front, I turned in my last Betsy-Tacy review for Forever Young Adult. I don’t know yet when it will be posted, but you can read the first four here, here, here, and here. It’s been great revisiting these books that meant so much to me growing up. As well as sharing them with people who feel the same. I’ll probably put a cap on the reread by reading Emily of Deep Valley, the only one I’ve never read. As well as the long out of print Betsy-Tacy Companion, which I treated myself to as a Christmas present. Since FYA wasn’t promised those, I’ll post the reviews here.

Last summer one of my stories won the Geek Partnership Writing contest. I’ve received the certificate in the mail and the official announcement is now posted here.


Got to admit, it was really cool to see my name.

In other contest news, for the fifth year in a row I’ve entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. This is the third year for Random Acts of Nudity. In 2012 it reached the semifinals, last year it was cut in the first round. This year it’s reached round 2, but didn’t reach the quarterfinals. Still it bested last year’s result.

Speaking of ABNA, one of the fellow writers I met through the contest runs a blog called Word Soup. He takes five hundred words of a work in progress and “boils” or cuts and condenses it to trim out the excess without losing the content. Just reading the previous posts has trained me to look for the unnecessary wordage in my writing. So I offered up a passage from Tooth and Consequence to be boiled. You can read it here. While not every suggested rewrite sounds exactly like my voice, most are spot on. I’ll definitely be coming back to his suggestions when I start revising this manuscript. Considering that my most recent revision on a different story cut 15,000 words without fundamentally changing the story, boiling is a skill to hone.

This Sunday I attended a discussion with fantasy author Emma Bull, hosted by the Minnesota Speculative Writers Meetup Group. Ms. Bull is the author of many books, including the urban fantasy classic War For The Oaks, which happens to be set in Minneapolis.

A few of the highlights:

She is in the process of writing a short story, or possibly a novella, inspired by the character of Wonder Woman, if rather than a comic book super hero, she were an urban fantasy character. I want to read that! She thinks it will become a series, though it will have to be finished and published first. She admitted to working a bit slowly, so it could be a while before it sees print. If anybody hears about such a story, let me know.

She is also working on the sequel to her novel Territory, to be called Claim. The novel is set in Tombstone Arizona in 1881. The gunfight at the o.k. corrall will be a major event within the book. I asked her if the gunfight in the book would follow the course of the historical gunfight and she said yes, mostly. She’s clearly done extensive research on the gunfight and Tombstone. It’ll be interesting where the fantasy element comes in.

One of the things she was most excited about is a fitness app called Zombie run. The conceit is that the runner is a messenger for a town in a post zombie apocalypse world. You run with your headphones in and s voice gives you missions to complete and warns you when there are zombies chasing you and you need to speed up. It also follows an episodic narrative. After talking at a convention about how much she loved it (she’s now completed both a 5 and 7k) she was contacted by the story editor for the app, and has written two episodes since.

She said the fastest she’s ever completed a book was when she collaborated with Steven Brust on the epistolary novel, Freedom & Necessity. She started it out of the blue by writing a letter by a character she was discovering as she wrote. She realized it was a game and the only person she wanted to play with was Steven Brust. She put it in an envelope, drove to his house, rang the bell, handed him the letter and drove away. He had no idea what it was all about, and thought he’d done something so terrible she could only confront him in a letter. Once he opened the letter, he was on board. They then wrote the book in turns by answering each other’s letters. I kind of love that idea, where you have no idea where the story is going until you get your partner’s section. Though they did stop about halfway and plot out the end. I’d love to try this sometime.

Finally one of my favorite moments was when she said that during her research for Claim she saw an update in a Tombstone Epitaph from the period. It said something along the lines of “We still have no information on the origin of the severed arm found in the road last Monday.” She read that and thought “I know where it came from” and a new subplot was born. I like this because it’s so similar to a story Neil Gaiman told during a talk I wrote up a few years ago for Read Comics. In which he read a news story about a large brass bed found in the London sewer system, that no one could figure out how it got there and his first thought was “I know.”

To close out this list of good things and links, I made a batch of chocolate tarts filled with caramel whipped cream, for a charity bake sale at work. They sold out within ten minutes. They were delicious if I do say so myself. I’ll probably write up a post with the recipe soon.

The Year in Books: 2013

Happy New Year! I almost made it out of 2013 unscathed but two days ago I slipped on some ice and broke my arm. So I’m ringing in the new year in a cast. Woo!
Anyway as I have for the last few years, I kept a list of the books I’ve read and or listened to as an audiobook over the last year. It’s sort of my version of a diary. I can look back and see where my head was at. It appears 2013 was very much a comic book year. More than half of the books read were graphic novels. It was also a year were I completed a long term WIP and began and finished another. Despite the injury 2013 was pretty good.
You can see 2012’s entry here.
Grand Totals (I’m not including single issue comics, picture books, or the times I read through my work during revision)
52 books
24 audiobooks
Breaking it down by category
29 graphic novels
11 digital books
12 borrowed from the library
9 borrowed from friends
6 read for critique partners
6 reread
5 or 8 read for review on Forever Young Adult (one was an anthology of four books).
4 short story collections
20 young adult
3 or 6 middle grade (that includes the above mentioned anthology).
Favorites Reads
Among Others by Jo Walton and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Favorite Author numbers
Jane Austen 1
Neil Gaiman 2
Jasper Fforde 2
Jim Butcher 1
Maud Hart Lovelace 5 or 8 (the anthology again).
Now to start a fresh list for 2014.

Progress Report: Reviewing and Revising

I’ve written a review for Forever Young Adult on Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. I’ll be reviewing the whole series for them, but this one covers the first four books. I’m thrilled to be writing these reviews because I love both the books and and the website. Here is the link.
I’m currently working on a rewrite of My UnDead Ex, and trying to ween myself from my dependence on exposition. It’s an uphill battle. I’m still querying Random Acts of Nudity, to no avail. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep going, before retiring it and starting over querying another project. I’ve also gotten some feedback on Tooth or Consequence and have got some inklings on what to do with the revision. And I’ve written a short children’s story that I think will make a cute picture book, though I don’t think my drawing skills are quite up to the task. It might be something to work on in between projects. I think I’ll leave you with an anecdote that has been on my mind lately.
I was around eighteen and working behind the bakery counter of a grocery store. One day a baby in a shopping cart appeared in front of the counter. It must have been pushed there by a parent. In fact I’m sure it was. But in my memory there is no parent just the baby. This was without a doubt the most adorable baby that ever was. It has big round eyes and chubby cheeks. And even chubbier legs. It was smiling a huge toothless smile. Other shoppers stopped to aw and coo over it. One of the produce stockers came over and tickled the baby’s bare toes. This was one ridiculously cute baby.
I remember very clearly the thought that went through my head as I watched this scene unfold. I thought, in all seriousness, “Anything that cute can’t be what it seems. It’s probably an alien in disguise, here to enslave humanity with its adorableness.” That was the day I realized I was kind of eccentric.

Progress Report

Once again it’s been a while between updates. Lots of things have happened since then. Most exciting for me was that my short story, Wandering Eye, won the Geek Partnership Society’s Scot Imes Award for short fiction. The official announcement hasn’t been posted yet but when it is, the story will be available to read on their website and I will link to it.
The award has given me a little confidence boost and has motivated me to start submitting more of my short stories for publication. I also attended a lecture hosted by the Minnesota Speculative Writers Group on the subject of selling stories. I learned a lot, but what struck me the most was the point that writing stories is great, but they can’t and won’t do anything for you if you don’t try to sell them. It’s better to let them sit on an editor’s hard-drive than sitting dormant on mine. So I’ve been polishing up my small backlog of stories and begun sending them out.
I got to read the story out loud at the award ceremony. It was my first public reading (for a very small audience) it went pretty well, though I was cursing myself for including so many multisyllabic words to trip over. The ceremony was held at CONvergence, Minnesota’s annual genre convention. I’ve gone for the last three years. It’s a big melting pot of geek culture and always a lot of fun.
I had a photo op with the Tardis.
That is my Little Doctor shirt I’m wearing, available for sale here.
As usual I attended several book themed panels and left with tons of titles added to my To Read list. Including some from special guest authors Paul Cornell, Emma Newman, and Adam Stemple. I can’t wait to get reading.
Speaking of reading, I recently read Jo Walton’s Among Others. It had been recommended and lent to me by my sister and her husband. They told me I had to bump it to the top of my pile. I’m so glad I listened!
It’s a beautiful, original, quiet, treasure of a book. The main character spends the majority of her time reading books herself. There’s magic and fairies and terrible danger but they’re not presented like any magic or fairies or terrible danger I’ve ever read before. And I’ve read lots of stories involving magic, fairies, and terrible danger. I’ve even written a couple.
One of the most compelling aspects of the book for me was how immersed in books the main character is. The books she reads are all classic scifi novels. Nearly all the books she mentions were on my family’s collective shelves as I grew up. Even though the book is set in an English boarding school in the seventies and I grew up on the North side of Chicago in the eighties, the authors referenced Poul Anderson, Roger Zelazny, and Ursula K. Le Guin, to name a few, gave me the same sensation as if it were set in my old neighborhood. I knew that world like the back of my hand.
So I’m urging anyone to whom that sounds remotely interesting to bump it to the top of your pile.
In other news, I finished the first draft of my middle grade fantasy. And yes it involves fairies and magic. It is my sixth completed manuscript which is a nice milestone. I’m tentatively calling it Tooth or Consequence, it’s 40,000 words long for the time being. I’m currently editing it to get it into the hands of my beta readers.
Speaking of whom, two of my critique partners also had great news. One got picked up by an agent and another got a book deal. I’ve read their books and they couldn’t deserve it more, they are both so talented. I can’t wait to encourage everyone I know to buy their books, they are terrific.
And I participated in Write On Con, an online writers’ conference. There were many informative articles and forum events about the publishing world covering just about every angle. All of the conference content can be found here.