My 2017 To-Be-Read Pile

I read quite a bit last year (125 books between traditional books, graphic novels, audiobooks, and manga), but have once again found myself fallen behind on some of my favorite authors. To make up for this, I’ve decided to make a list of the books I want to make top priority in 2017.

The lists can be found below. I’ve separated it out into books that I own, published books that I don’t own, and some of my most anticipated releases of 2017.

Books That I Already Own
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (read 01/17)
Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong
Otherworld Chills by Kelley Armstrong
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Imprudence by Gail Carriger
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin (read 01/17)
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty (read 01/17)
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (read 01/17)

Books that Have Already been Released (pre 2017)
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
The Days of Tao by Wesley Chu
The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant
Feedback by Mira Grant
False Hearts by Laura Lam
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson

Most Anticipated 2017 Releases
Heartstrikers: Book 4 by Rachel Aaron*
A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale
The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin
Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland
Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson*
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Batgirl at Superhero High by Lisa Yee (read 01/17)

Genre Breakdown
Fantasy- 14
Sci-Fi- 8
Paranormal- 7
Superhero- 2
Thriller- 2

The two books in the “most anticipated” section are starred due to the fact that they do not have a solid release date. They ARE supposed to come out in 2017 though!

So those are my top priority books of 2017. Obviously, I’m going to read more than just those, but these are the ones I really want to get to (or at least try out. If a book doesn’t work for me, I’m unlikely to force myself to finish unless I’m a huge fan of the writer/series). Also, as we’re a ways into 2017 already, I’ve actually already dug into a few of these. I’ll be doing regular posts on the books I’ve been reading, so expect to hear my thoughts about those soon!

Updated Feb to reflect January reads

On New Years Resolutions, and Writing Goals

I’m a sucker for new years resolutions. I usually make too many, and don’t always stick to them as well as I should, but I’ve always liked the fresh new start that comes with a new year. The idea that bad habits can be left behind, and better ones can be forged. And sure, I get the argument that New Years Resolutions can be viewed as useless, especially when you look at people who sign up for gym memberships, but never show up, but I think there’s a lot of value in setting goals, and taking time to refocus. You’re going to fall off the horse every now and then, but if you continue to make time to think about what you want, and plan how that can be achieved, you’re in a helluva better place then you were if you never paused to make the resolutions in the first place.

For example, if I had never sat down and said, “I’m going to make writing a daily habit” I probably wouldn’t have written anything at all. And instead, I’ve written and revised three whole novels that have taught me a lot about writing (even though they will never be published). And now, I find myself working on new projects, and new ideas that I hope to make strides on in 2017.

So, without further ado, here are my writing projects and resolutions for 2017!

Project #1- Red and Black
Red and Black is a superhero novel (the first in a planned series) that I put MANY hours into over the past year and a half. I’ve brought the book from a broken, partial rough draft (the result of a very strange, often disappointing/frustrating NaNoWriMo in 2014) to a full manuscript, workshopped it with my wonderful writing group, brought it through multiple rounds of revisions, and have now sent it off to no less than a half dozens first readers (two of whom have already gotten back to me with encouraging comments and helpful suggestions!). This year, I hope to bring Red and Black through its final revisions and begin sending it out to agents during the spring. From that point, its future will bet out of my hands, so I try not to stress about it too much (of course, I don’t always succeed).

Project #2- Black and Blue
Black and Blue is the sequel to Red and Black. I wrote it during a very successful NaNoWriMo this past November (not only did I manage to “win” NaNoWriMo, but I also finished the damn book before the month was up!). Since the beginning of the New Year, I’ve been working on my first round of revisions. And I must admit… it’s going surprisingly well. Normally this part of the revising process is hugely painful. Like, “Dear God! I’ve managed to regress as a writer without realizing it! Time to throw in the towel! Abort! Abort!” Of course, the book has flaws- in abundance- but I’ve been able to figure out how to fix most of them. Thinking back on the rough draft, I have a pretty good idea where this smooth sailing will start to get choppy, but I’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts. I hope to spend most of my writing time in 2017 revising Black and Blue, then workshopping it with my oh-so-helpful writing group.

And if you’re thinking “gee, Nancy, isn’t working on a sequel to a book before it’s technically done, like, a really bad idea?” The answer is… probably, but right now this is the project I’m the most excited about, so I’m just going to embrace that. My books go through a lot of changes in my revision process. Maybe I’ll just have to make a few more then planned as a result of Red and Black’s final revisions.

I plan on accomplishing these goals through daily writing. I try to go for at least an hour every day, and that’s been going well so far. Some days, time gets away from me and I just can’t get that full hour, but I can get in a half hour, and make up the lost time down the line. To prevent burning out, I will be working on my writing in chunks of about 30k. Once I reach the end of a chunk, I’ll take a little time off from writing (maybe a few days, maybe a full week. It depends on how I’m feeling, and my other responsibilities). I’ve become a big believer in taking planned breaks (with set end dates, rather than just skipping days here and there) from writing, In fact, I’m thinking about writing a blog entry on it.

As for other writing-related goals, I do hope to get back to updating this much neglected blog more often, as well as continuing to contribute regularly to Speculative Chic. As a result, I’m going to try to update here about once a week. At Speculative Chic, I have my big monthly entry, but I also contribute to group posts. It may be tricky to find a balance between my writing, SpecChic, and this blog, but I suspect I’ll be able to figure it out with some trial and error.

Does anyone else have any writing-related resolutions? Are you a fan of New Year’s Resolutions too, or consider them to be a waste of time?