Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2019

It’s a new year, and that means new books! Below you’ll find a breakdown of the ten titles that I am looking forward to the most. For the purpose of this post, we’re gonna focus on books that are definitely coming out in 2019. An author/publisher saying something will be released “maybe sometime this year” isn’t enough for me. This means that we don’t have a ton of books on the list for second half of the year, but I suspect I’ll revisit the topic later in the year for a part two.

And without further ado, here are the books that I am looking forward to the most.

A Perfect Balance by Laura Ambrose (Romance)- I started to dabble in romances more in 2018, which lead me to this hidden gem. Romancing the Page is lesbian romance novella series that focuses on nerdy/literary women. I really enjoyed the first book, A Hidden Hope, and look forward to checking out book two, A Perfect Balance, which focuses on a secondary character from the first novella. If you enjoy books and GBLT content, then I’d recommend checking out this series. Release date- 01/15/19

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (Thriller)- Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton books are a current favorite of mine. They focus on a homicide detective named Casey Duncan who lives in a community hidden off the grid in Canada. The population may be small, but its people are full of secrets. It also has a really compelling secondary romance. Watcher in the Woods is the fourth book in this series, and I am eager to see what happens next. Release Date- 02/12/19

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty (Fantasy)The Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the Daevabad Trilogy, of which the first book, The City of Brass, was one of my top books of fall 2018. This is an engrossing series, filled with complicated characters, and rich Arabian Nights-inspired worldbuilding. I already have preordered the audiobook version of The Kingdom of Copper and can’t wait to dig into it. Release Date- 01/08/19

The Fall of Io by Wesley Chu (Science Fiction)The Fall of Io is the second Io book which is actually a follow up series to the Tao trilogy. This makes it very hard to talk about the book without delving into spoilers. Basically, the Tao/Io books are all about an war between two faction of an alien race, the Quasing. The twist is that the Quasing can only survive our atmosphere by co-inhabiting someone’s body, such as Ella Patel, the lead in The Fall of Io. If you’re looking for an action packed series with a unique premise, I’d highly recommend checking out these books. Just make sure you start with the first Tao book, The Lives of Tao. Release Date- 01/01/19

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, vol 2 by Emil Ferris (Historical Fiction/Horror)- Volume 1 of My Favorite Thing is Monsters was one of my top reads of Summer 2018, making volume 2 a must buy. This unique graphic novel about a ten-year-old girl living in the 1960s, juggling her obsession with monster movies with solving the murder of her upstairs neighbor, was incredibly rich and filled with wonderful illustrations. I can’t wait to see how volume two wraps things up. Release Date- 09/11/19

Who’s Afraid of Amy Sinclair? by Jenn Gott (Superheroes)- I realized I’m breaking my own rules here, as this book doesn’t have a concrete publication date, but given that it looks like all systems are go for an early 2019 release, I’ll take the risk. The Private Life of Jane Maxwell, the first book in this series about parallel worlds and superheroes, was a really pleasant surprise in 2018, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things shift with the emphasis on a new character. Release Date- Early 2019

Attack on Titans, vol 27 by Hajime Isayama (Science Fiction/Horror)- Of course, there will be multiple volumes of Attack on Titan coming out in 2019, but the first one hits the shelves in March. Given the developments (with old characters in new) in volume 26, I am very interested to see how the Marley arc will continue to develop. Release Date- 03/21/19

Jade War by Fonda Lee (Fantasy)- Jade War is the follow up to Jade City, a fantasy novel that mixes kung-fu action with a Godfather-style plot. I am excited to see what happens to the remaining members of the Kaul family in the second volume of The Green Bone Saga. Release Date 05/07/19

Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena (Superheroes)- The DC icon series, where high profile YA novelists tackle famous DC heroes, has put out nothing but gold so far. The fourth (and perhaps last?) book in the series tackles a teenaged Clark Kent. Despite not being as big of a fan of Supes as the other heroes in the series (Wonder Woman, Batman, Catwoman), I will be picking this one up, regardless. Release Date- 03/05/19

Ms. Marvel, vol 10 by G Willow Wilson (Superheroes)- Ms. Marvel is always worth checking out, even if the comic feels a little bittersweet now, knowing that G Willow Wilson is planning on leaving the title soon. The tenth volume of the series promises plenty of superhero fun, just what I look for in my Ms. Marvel comics. Release date- 04/09/19

And that’s my list! What are your most anticipated reads of 2019? Anything that I missed?

Advertisements

My New Years Resolutions for 2019

I know that New Year’s Resolutions aren’t for everyone. And sure, I’ve certainly been guilty of setting a resolution, and then forgetting about it before February rolls around. But regardless, I do think that having certain times, whether they be New Years or your birthday, where you focus on goals, is a good idea. As an extreme creature of habit, it’s far too easy for me to get caught up in the every day-ness of life and forget to plan for the future, or effectively reflect on the past.

So what are my goals for 2019? As always I have several.

Writing Goals

  1. Publish Red and Black 2
  2. Prepare Red and Black 3 for beta readers
  3. Bring Red and Black 4 through one thorough one solid round of revisions
  4. Complete NaNoWriMo in November (should be Red and Black 5)

As you can see, my writing goals are very focused on the Red and Black series. If all goes to plan, this is roughly the order that I should complete them in. I’m aiming for a summer release for Red and Black 2 (although that it tentative), and I hope to have Red and Black 3 ready for beta readers around that time. Bringing Red and Black 4 through it’s first round of revisions, and NaNoWriMo are both fall-timed goals. Let’s hope that I can achieve them all!

Blogging Goals

  1. Update this blog once a week (and more when possible)
  2. Complete a solo post for Specualtive Chic once a month
  3. Participate in group posts for Speculative Chic as much as possible
  4. I also have a private goal as far as total views I’d like to see on this blog in 2019

These ones are pretty self explanatory. The schedule that I fell into during fall of 2018 works pretty well, so I figured that I would stick with that. It usually ends up resulting in about eight blog posts a month, between both sites.

Reading Goals

  1. Read 100 books/graphic novels
  2. Review at least two-thirds of what I’ve read

Reviewing books become more important to me in the second half of 2018, as I realized what a valuable tool they are for authors. By reviewing at least two-thirds of what I’ve read, this is a way to ensure that I’m spreading the word about the books that I enjoy. I might end up extending the reading goal to 125 books, depending on how the year goes.

Health Goals

  1. Lose 25 pounds
  2. Walk 8,000-10,000 steps a day
  3. Track food daily
  4. Go to bed at 10PM each night

Now for the hard goals! I really overdid it this fall as far as food goes (especially with all of those holidays!), and as a result, I need to refocus on my health. I hope that by falling into healthy habits, such as an increased physical activity and being conscious about how much/what types of food I eat, that the weight loss will happen as a result over time. The bedtime thing is more about migraines. I get less of them when I sleep a decent about every night (and eat healthy, and drink enough water). Plus, I’m just far more productive/happier when I’m not constantly caught up in a fog due to lack of sleep.

And there you go! My new year’s resolutions for 2019. I’m seriously thinking about printing these out and putting them on my wall or something to make sure that I stick to them. What are your thoughts on resolutions/annual goals? How many books will you be reading this year? Any writing based goals?

Writing in 2018 by the Numbers

In 2018 I published…

  • Red and Black, my debut novel. It came in at just under 100,000 words
  • 95 blog posts, totaling over 74,000 words (includes Speculative Chic posts)

I also completed…

  • Revisions on the sequel to Red and Black. I submitted the draft to my beta readers in late August
  • A thorough round of revisions on Red and Black 3
  • A rough draft of Red and Black 4 during National Novel Writing Month. This ended up being over 81,000 words, which is also the most words I have ever written during NaNoWriMo
  • A rough draft of a fairy tale novella during Camp NaNoWriMo. This will likely never see the outside of my hard drive.

So 2018 was a pretty big year. The year I went from being a woman who spent a lot of time writing, to a published author. I relaunched this blog, contributed to Speculative Chic, participated in Self Published Fantasy Month and Indiecember, ran sales, purchased advertising, read books on marketing, and networked with other writers/bloggers on twitter and Instagram.

And the results have been interesting to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly been an exciting year. To see something that you worked on for years become a REAL THING out in the world. To be able to finally drop the “aspiring” in front of the word “author.” To finally reach that finish line you’ve been working towards since you wrote your first story in kindergarten. That is, without a doubt, a big accomplishment,

But of course, every ending is also a beginning.

This is something I’ve experienced multiple times, the most dramatic one being when I graduated from college over fifteen years ago. I remember going from this peak of excitement, feeling as if I had finally made it. I entered the world, eager to prove myself, and found myself overwhelmed with challenges unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

It was, admittedly, the start of the Great Recession, so things were tricky for most people in the US. But I, being 21 and lacking perspective, took it especially hard. By the time winter came around, I found myself falling into a bit of a depression. Fortunately, I managed to pull myself out of it over the next couple of years, eventually going to grad school, which resulted in me becoming a librarian.

It was a difficult phase of my life, but I think I learned a lot from it. Realizing that every ending is also beginning. That sometimes in life, you level up and enter a new zone. And as exciting as that achievement may be, it’s also going to be difficult.

Publishing your first book is a lot like that.

Don’t get me wrong. My loved ones were wonderfully supportive. My family and friends bought copies of my books. My beta readers sacrificed their precious free time to read over my work. My fellow Spec Chic writers were warm and congratulatory. And a couple of my library contacts even purchased copies my book for circulation.

The wider world has been a little more of a challenge, a lock that I am still learning how to pick. To the dozens of people who have given me, an untested new writer, a chance, I thank you deeply for your faith in me, and hope you’ll stick around for book two.

2018 was a year of accomplishments, of trying out new things, dealing with shortcomings, learning to reach out to others, and, of course, writing a lot of words. I’ll be posting my New Years Resolutions Post on Monday, but in general I hope that 2019 will be a year of continued growth, of new opportunities, and more and more writing.

Here’s to making the most of those new beginnings.

Top 10 Books of 2018

Throughout the year, I’ve been keeping track of my favorite reads in my quarterly Best Books of the Season posts. As 2018 came to a close, I started to think: could I narrow it down to a top ten list? Not only that, but a countdown style list that displayed said books from least to most favorite.

The answer? Yes, even though I had to cheat a little bit.

Here are the results!

#10- Saga, Volume Eight by Brian K Vaughan and FIona Staples (Science Fiction/Graphic Novel)While this wasn’t the most epic volume of Saga that I read in 2018, this smaller scale story about the results of a miscarriage was incredibly powerful on a character level. One of the best volumes of this always stand out comic.

#9- Garrison Girl by Rachel Aaron (Science Fiction/Horror/Young Adult)– One of my favorite fantasy author leaves her mark on the Attack on Titan universe with this tie-in novel about the rarely explored Rose Garrison. Great characters, great action, and (surprisingly for AoT) a great romance too.

#8- Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Science Fiction/Superheroes/Young Adult)– Meyer surely left her mark on the YA world with her science fiction/fairy tale series, The Lunar Chronicles, and she looks to do the same with this tale of superheroes, supervillains, and the gray areas that exist in between the two. 

#7- My Brother’s Husband: vols 1 and 2 by Gengoroh Tagame (Contemporary/Manga)– Okay, I cheated a bit on this one by including a two volume set, but it really is one big story. My Brother’s Husband is a sensitive, slice of life manga about Ichigo, a single dad living in Japan. When his deceased brother’s husband, Mike, comes to stay, Ichigo must confront the homophobic biases that exist, both in him and in the world around him.

#6- The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci (Fantasy)– Unlike most eligible bachelors, Tobias doesn’t care about the Savior, the divinely blessed ruler of Thessen currently holding a tournament to find her next consort. But with his sister injured and his family destitute, he has no choice but to sign up. His options are slim: marriage to a woman he barely knows, or (the far more likely) a violent, and painful death.

#5- The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel)– Perhaps the nicest surprise of 2018, this graphic novel about a boy who likes to sometimes wear dresses, and the poor dressmaker who he hires (in secret) to make him beautiful gowns was incredibly charming and heartfelt. 

#4- Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (Science Fiction)–  Jack Holloway is a prospector on an alien planet, who comes across strange creatures that he dubs “the fuzzies.” But when it turns out that the fuzzies aren’t animals at all, but sapient beings, Jack finds himself in both an ethical and legal dilemma that will impact the future of an entire species.

#3- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green (Science Fiction)– April May is your typical struggling millennial, until she video tapes herself interacting with a strange statute located in New York City. This leads her down a rabbit hole including viral videos, mental puzzles, twitter beef, brand identity and the future of the human race. By embracing classic sci-fi concepts and current trends, Hank Green has created a memorable debut novel, and an exciting series starter.

#2- Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)The third (and, dare I say, best?) volume in the Stormlight Archives delves deep into the character of Dalinar Kholin and brings our heroes face to face with some hard truths about themselves, and the world around them. Filled with high stakes, sympathetic characters, and worldbuilding that you can really delve into, Oathbringer earns every one of its 1200+ pages.

#1- The Calculating Stars/The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal- An asteroid has hit the earth, sending the planet on the course for an unavoidable extinction-level event. The only solution? To colonize the moon and mars. Unfortunately, it’s the 1950s, but people’s mental biases might be a more powerful deterrent then technological barriers. Elma York knows that women have every right to be astronauts, but how will she convince the men in power?

Okay, I’m cheating again by including a two book set, but Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut Duology is just that good. This character-focused alternate history story was both moving and exciting. I was completely invested in Elma’s journey and am so glad to hear that we will be getting two more books in this universe. I highly recommend checking out this series in audio as Kowal does an amazing job in portraying her own characters.

And that’s it! My top ten books that I read in 2018. Of course, given that 2018 was a banner year for good books (at least for me!), this barely scratches the surface of all the awesome things I read this year. For more of that, I’d recommend checking out my Best Books of the Season Posts, or perhaps my goodreads account.

Next up, I will be reflecting on my writing life in 2018, before looking to the future.

Top Books of Fall 2018

Given that we’ve had snow on the ground since mid-November, It hasn’t felt like fall for a while. But winter technically didn’t start until the end of December, making these the best books I read during the fall season. Read on for some truly gripping works of fiction.

Garrison Girl by Rachel Aaron (Science Fiction/Horror)– Teenaged Rosalie Dumarque lives a privileged life as one of the 1% of the Attack on Titan universe, but that doesn’t make her happy. She wants to make a difference in the war against the man eating titans that terrorize her city. So, she defies her father by joining up with Wall Rose Garrison. How will this rich girl deal with the harsh military lifestyle?

I enjoy the Attack on Titan manga and Rachel Aaron’s work, so I was excited about checking out Garrison Girl. I’m happy to report that It has the wonderful mixture of character drama, and over the top horror/action that I’ve come to rely on from the source material. I found Rosalie to be a really likable lead, and enjoyed getting to know the rest of her team. Garrison Girl is written as a YA novel, and does have a romantic subplot, which is quite unlike the source material, where romantic feelings are more implied than overtly stated. Still, despite initial reservations, I really enjoyed this element of the book. Garrison Girl may be a short read, but I loved every page of it. I can only hope that this is not the last sojourn Rachel Aaron will be taking in the Attack on Titan universe.

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron (Science Fiction)– My second Rachel Aaron book this autumn was her latest release in the Hearstriker’s Universe. Minimum Wage Magic takes places decades after Last Dragon Standing, and features a new cast of characters. This time around we follow Opal, a “cleaner” that’s hired by the DFZ to take care of leftover junk after people have been evicted. It’s not a pretty job, but it’s typically not dangerous. Then Opal stumbles across a dead body.

Minimum Wage Magic takes place in the DFZ, a sentient, magical post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk version of Detroit. It’s such an interesting setting, and I can see why Aaron wrote a spin off series if just to spent some more time here. I enjoyed getting to meet the new characters of Opal and Nik. Minimum Wage Magic feels rather simple when compared to the grand epic that the Heartstriker’s series developed into, but there’s something appealing about a small scale story as well. If you’d like to read a more lengthy review of this book, check out my post on Speculative Chic.

The City of Brass by S.A. Charkaborty (Fantasy)– Nahri is a small time swindler, trying to get by in 18th century Cairo. Then she runs afoul of a djinn who reveals that her strange magical abilities come from a surprising source.

Nowadays, pretty much every fantasy book gets compared to Game of Thrones at some point, but The City of Brass is a book that has earned said comparison. A sprawling cast of morally complicated characters? Check. A vast, multifaceted setting filled with complex power structures? Check. A plotline made up if twists and turns that’s not afraid to crush your heart every now and then. Big check.

Despite these similarities, The City of Brass is also a book that stands wonderfully on it’s own, thanks to its fresh Arabian Nights-style landscape. I really got swept up in this one, and look forward to checking out book two once it’s released. I wrote a more thorough review of this one on Speculative Chic as well.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green (Science Fiction)– April May is your typical struggling millennial, until she discovers a giant statue in the middle of New York City. Guessing it to be some soft of late night art exhibit, she contacts her friend Andy and convinces him to film a video. By the morning, it’s gone viral, Why? Over night, hundreds of these statues turned up all over the world, and no one knows where they came from.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is one of those books that it’s difficult to review without getting into spoilers (which I do in this review over at Speculative Chic). But to keep things brief, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is the most 2018 thing I have read this year. By taking classic sci-fi concepts, and employing more modern day trappings (from live streaming/viral videos, to twitter fights, to brand identity), Hank Green has created a page turner of a thriller, filled with a painfully relatable lead, and plenty of satisfying puzzles to solve. It ends on quite a cliffhanger, and I am excited to see what comes next.

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci (Fantasy)– Blessed with divine powers, The Savior is the ruler of Thessen. Whenever the current Savior comes of age, a tournament is held where men fight to the death to win Her hand in marriage. Tobias has no interest in marrying The Savior, but every competitor receives a generous sum of money. With his sister injured and his family destitute, he knows how far that money can go. Now trapped in the labyrinth, Tobias has no choice but to fight for his life.

If I were to pick one word to describe The Savior’s Champion, it would be engaging. I was sucked in from the very first chapter and didn’t want to put the book down until I had turned the last page. Tobias is a great example of a reluctant hero done well, and I really enjoyed the forbidden romance he ended up sharing with Leila. The tournament is where much of the “dark” in this dark fantasy comes in, with several of the challenges being just the right mix of brutal and gripping.

I absolutely loved The Savior’s Champion. This is very clearly the first book in a series, and I am eager to see where things end up next.

My Brother Husband, vol 2 by Gengoroh Tagame (Contemporary)My Brother’s Husband, vol 2 continues the story of Yaichi, a straight man living in Japan, and Mike, a gay Canadian who was once married to Yaichi’s twin brother. When Mike comes to stay, Yaichi finds himself facing his own biases, as well as his unresolved grief from his brother’s death.

The second volume of My Brother’s Husband is actually quite heartbreaking. It’s obvious from the start of this story that eventually Mike would need to return to Canada, and this is what happens here. But what’s so satisfying about it is that you can see how much Yaichi and his daughter Kana’s lives has been improved by inviting this member of their family into their home. My Brother’s Husband is a short series (it’s only two volumes in the US and four in Japan) but it handles the topic of confronting homophobia (both in ourselves and in society) in such a grounded way, that I would highly recommend it to others.

Saga, Volume Nine by Brian K. Vaughan (writing) and Fiona Staples (artwork) (Science Fiction)- You’d think after so many years of reading Saga that I would get used to it crushing my heart, but Volume Nine still managed to get me with multiple character deaths. And this includes one that I’ve seen coming for a while now.

Perhaps what made the bloodbath all the more painful is it followed a time when the characters were so happy and hopeful together. Of course, undercutting all of this is that feeling of dread. We know that things are going to take a turn for the worse. And, trust me, they do.

It may seem to see this type of review in a list of my best books of the season, but because even though Volume Nine was painful, it still contained the strong writing, engaging characters, and wonderful artwork I’ve come to rely on from Vaughan and Staples. In fact, the reason why reading it ended up being as painful as it was is because of how well this comic is crafted. I know that Saga is on hiatus now, and it will be a while before we get any new content. But the moment a new volume is released, I will be there.

Runners Up- The Private Life of Jane Maxwell by Jenn Gott, Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma, Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal,

So there you go! My favorite reads of fall. Since we’ve reached the end of the year, my next book-related post will actually be my top ten books of the year, which I will attempt to rank in order from my least to most favorite. Narrowing that down is going to be quite a challenge.

Indiecember and Kindle Countdown Results: December in Review

December Posts

  1. From Superfangirl to Superhero: Red and Black is On Sale This Week
  2. Saying Goodbye to NaNoWriMo and Hello to Indiecember: November in Review
  3. How I’m Spending Indiecember
  4. Lessons Learned From Selling the First 100 Copies of My Indie Novel, Red and Black
  5. Top Blog Posts of 2018

Speculative Chic Posts

  1. Cybernetics, Mages, and Murder: A Review of Minimum Wage Magic
  2. Resolution Wrap-Up 2018: How’d We Do?
  3. Future Favorites: 2019 Edition
  4. Resolution Project 2019

After the hyper-focus on writing during NaNoWriMo, switching gears in December was a must. So I spent most of the month focusing on blogging, marketing and other publishing related goals. And the timing was right. Between here and Speculative Chic, I had a whole bunch end of 2018/beginning of 2019 blog posts to take care of, plus I was feeling kinda burned out all around. Add on the Christmas responsibilities, and I really appreciated a lighter work month Of course, I still put in my time every day, but devoting 7-10 hours a week to my writing career is a lot different than devoting 17-18 hours, as I did in November.

As far as marketing goes, the biggest thing I had going on in December was my kindle countdown sale for Red and Black. This time around I sold thirty ebooks, and and one print copy. This is better than my first sale, although I’m not quite as excited about the results.

This may sound strange, as selling over thirty copies in a week is actually a personal best for me. The problem is I invested more money in my advertising this time around. In October, I paid for one $40 bargain booksy ad, and that was probably responsible for almost all of those sales. This month I spent $40 on an ereader news today ad, and $25 on booksends. The ereader news today ad likely responsible for 15-18 of those booksales, and the booksends ad was likely responsible for 10. So spending an extra $25 dollars, and only getting five extra sales (on a 99 cent ebook) is not great.

I also didn’t get any kindle unlimited page reads during said sale. During the last one I got over 1000 pages. 1000 pages doesn’t get you that much money on kindle unlimited, but it was a nice bonus.

In addition, I was hoping to have more of an effect internationally during this sale. The first sale was only in the US, but amazon allows you do do a countdown sale in the UK as well. I also lowered my prices in other countries, to make things as appealing as possible. The result? 100% of my sales were American. So I guess that didn’t work out.

So what have I learned from this? For one, Bargain Booksy has the power to reach most readers, and I will certainly use their services again. The other two I may use again, but not until I get more reviews. Which brings me to my second lesson. I really need to get more reviews on my book.

To help me with this, a friend of mine has invited me into a closed facebook group for indie authors. This group does not allow review swapping (you review my book, I’ll review yours) which is against amazon’s terms of service. Instead, people honestly review the work of other people in the group. I’ve seen other groups like this before on goodreads, but have never tried it out myself. January is the first month that I’ve signed up for. I hope that this will help me get a few more reviews, as I don’t think it’s worth trying to do another sale/pay for advertising until I have at least 10 reviews to make my book seem more appealing to potential readers.

Red and Black was also found eligible for Book Sirens, which distributes your book to bloggers who are specifically interested in your genre, and agree to leave honest reviews on amazon/goodreads. According to their welcome email, there are 130 people on their site that potentially interested in Red and Black, so I hope that I can get a few reviews out of this as well. I got said welcome email from Book Sirens at the end of December, so it’s too soon to report on any results yet.

Another big part of my month was Indiecember, a cool bingo style challenge about supporting indie authors (I explain the challenge in more detail here). And even though Red and Black only ended up getting a couple of sales and one review out of it, I still found that I had a blast with it. Throughout most of November, I would spend the hour before I went to bed working on writing-related responsibilities. Being able to devote that time to reading, by comparison, was so relaxing. I even noticed that I had an easier time falling asleep as a result. I ended up reviewing six different books (including one book I read prior to December), and while I failed to get a bingo, that wasn’t really the point of the challenge for me. Instead, it was all about reading/spreading the word about great books, and connecting with other participants. You can check out my card below.

If you’re reading this post early enough, and participated in Indiecember, there’s still some time to enter the giveaway (which includes a signed copy of Red and Black and a bonus $20 amazon gift card from me!). Head over to Megan Tennant’s site to enter the giveaway by January 7th.

On the personal side of things, December was, unsurprisingly, Christmas focused.  This involved four different Christmas gathering (three family focused and one work focused), including our first hosting responsibilities. We managed to get through Christmas company without embarrassing ourselves too badly, and people even seemed open to us hosting again in the future. I’d call that a win.

For fun, I’ve started to play the latest Pokémon game, Let’s Go Eevee. While I’ve played the app plenty, this is actually the first Pokémon game that I’ve ever tried out. And let me tell you, it’s tons of fun. As of the writing of this entry, I’ve just crossed off the third gym, and I’m really excited to explore the rest of this world in the new year.

January Goals

  1. Writing– Complete beta edits for Red and Black 2
  2. Writing– Work on second round of revisions on Red and Black 3
  3. Blogging– Post at least seven blogs entries between here and Speculative Chic

I’m expecting to hear back from at least two of my beta readers this month, but until then, I’ll be focusing on the next book in the series. I’m not really sure what my marketing goals will be this month, although I suppose it is time I started to think about a book launch strategy to Red and Black 2!

Top Blog Posts of 2018

2018 has been a whirlwind of a year. Not only did I publish my first novel, but I relaunched this blog. Before we go into 2019, I thought I’d reflect a bit on the posts that people seemed to enjoy the most.

  1. Silent Superheroes, Grimdark Comics, and Alternate Histories: My Most Anticipated Reads– Sometimes I wonder if we enjoy anticipating something more than actually experiencing it.  Regardless, the blog entry that got the most views was this list of highly anticipated books for 2018 (including a few I haven’t read yet. Oops!)
  2. Announcing Red and Black + The Author-in-Training Project– This post, which announced the upcoming publication of my first novel, and the relaunch of this blog, was so important to me. I’m glad that so many people checked in to see it!
  3. Would you like to be my hero? Consider reviewing my superhero novel Red and Black!- The quest for reviews can be a long and painful one (at least it’s been for me!). Here is where I began to offer ARC copies
  4. September is Self Published Fantasy Month– Self Published Fantasy month was a super-neat project put together by Jason at Off the TBR. As you might guess, it was all about reading/supporting awesome self-published fantasy authors. This post announced my involvement in the project.
  5. Author-in-Training: Three Types of Professional Editors for Indie Authors- This was part of the Author in Training Project, a series of posts on publishing that I put out in the months leading up to Red and Black‘s release date. The fact that this one got the most attention says a lot about what many indie authors value when it comes to self publishing- putting out a professional quality book.
  6. ARCs, Camp NaNoWriMo and Dancing Violinists: July in Review– My monthly review posts tend to get reliable attention, and in July I talked about my quest for ARC reviewers, the lighter/gentler version of NaNoWriMo, and Lindsey freaking Stirling. No wonder this one got the most attention!
  7. Best Books of Summer 2018– Who doesn’t love to talk about awesome reads? I really enjoy these best books of the season-style posts, and got to a lot of great books over the summer (July, August, and September).
  8. (Almost) Everything is Monsters: What I Read Over My Vacation– One of my favorite things about vacation is getting more time to read! In this post, I talk about the books and comics I read during my July vacation.
  9. Red and Black Chapter 1– They say sample chapters are a good way to get people excited about your book, so it’s a good thing this post got people’s attention.
  10. Author in Training: On High Volume Publishing- It is quite telling that out of all of my Author-in-Training post, this is the one that got the second most amount of views. High volume publishing (or releasing a shit ton of books) is such a hot button topic in self publishing right now). In this entry, I talk about my feelings on the subject.

A couple more blog entries that didn’t make the cut, but I think are worth mentioning are Reflections on Year 32, where I reflect on the past year right before my 33rd birthday, as well as Author in Training: The Days I Don’t Write, when I reflect on how my migraines impact my writing productivity.

I’m more or less pleased with how things went on the blog this year, and I’m excited to get into 2019. Over the next few weeks, as is appropriate for the end of the year, I’ll have a few more posts based around reflecting and looking forward. Think Best Books of the Year, New Year’s Resolutions, fun stuff like that.

Here’s hoping for an awesome 2019!