2013: Year In Review

Because this blog is about book reviews, I thought about doing a “my favorite books of 2013” post. However, because this blog is about book reviews, you don’t get to know much about me. Sure, you get to hear my soapbox rants, but you don’t actually get to know the person behind this somewhat-of-a-facade that I have for the internet. So I figured that rather than jumping right back into book reviews, I’d give you a glimpse into my life.

January 2013

I finish the first draft of Guarding Angel. It is then called Fallen Redemption, the name I ultimately chose for the series. The book goes out to friends and family. I start agonizing over my query letter.

I work on contract for a large Canadian bank as a foreign exchange platform IT project manager. This means I’m only there for a defined period of time (rather than full-time, which is indefinite), so I begin looking for a new job starting in March. I find something, and I’m all ready to start 2013 with a new opportunity.

February 2013

I get feedback from friends and family. I’m overwhelmed for awhile. I revise, revise, revise, and then find some CP’s who are writers. I continue to agonize over my query letter.

My contract at the old position finishes. The contract I had lined up to start in March falls through. I frantically start looking for something else, since I shut down all job search networking mid-month.

March 2013

I get some CP feedback. It’s more specific than the non-writing friends and family feedback and helps me immensely. I spend too much time on the Absolute Write forums, learning all the things and posting four thousand query letter drafts.

The job search goes slowly. My uncle dies unexpectedly and I go to Ohio for his funeral. My dad takes it hard, so he comes home with me and we sit on the couch watching Star Trek reruns and talking politics (for as long as I don’t get mad at how conservative he is versus how liberal I am). It is nice.

April 2013

I revise some more, get some more feedback, get lost in drafting, get too close to my manuscript, hate my query letter.

I get a lot of recruiter calls, but every time it seems like a lead is materializing, the position is shut down or filled internally. I get antsy. After all, no work means no money.

May 2013

I put the final touches on Guarding Angel. On May 20, 2013, the 7th anniversary of my engagement to my husband, I send out my first query letter, even though I still hate it.

A job finally comes through. On May 21, 2013, the 3rd anniversary of my brother’s wedding, I start a full-time position (meaning, no end date but pays less) at another large, Canadian bank. This time I’m in Information Security.

June and July 2013

No bites. I start a book with the working title The Exorcist’s Assistant. It’s urban fantasy instead of fantasy, so I feel like I’m cheating without having to do tons of world building. I plot and do character sketches like crazy before starting. I revise my Guarding Angel query letter four thousand more times and continue to send it out.

I get settled in at work. I make some work friends. Things start to feel normal.

August 2013

I get feedback from an agent that states the market is saturated with angel books. I start considering self-publishing. I think long and hard about it, since I have this nagging, snobbish feeling that self-pubbed books aren’t as high quality as trade published books. I stop querying, wondering if my query letter is to blame, even though it’s had roughly eight thousand revisions.

On August 19, 2013, I find out that I’m pregnant. My due date is April 28, 2014.

September 2013

I decide to self-publish. I choose a pen name so that my IT PM internet persona doesn’t interfere with my author persona. I create a project plan. (Remember, I’m a project manager.) I do lots of research. I decide to get a copy editor and proofreader. After all, I’m not going to add to the low quality stuff on the marketplace.

On September 23, 2013, I have a miscarriage. It is the most difficult thing I’ve gone through in my life. I stop writing.

October 2013

Mid-month, I force myself to begin revisions on Exorcist’s Assistant. I get some “final” (is it ever final?) CP feedback on Guarding Angel. I decide that if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right. I hire developmental editor Jessica Swift and finish my final final revisions of Guarding Angel.

I heal. I work. I eat healthy and take iron supplements. I find solace in my husband and family and friends. The doctor informs me that miscarriages happen in an estimated 20% of pregnancies and that I shouldn’t worry. I worry. (Actually, that should be a sentence in every single month of every single year of my life.) I get lots of support and find out that more people than I ever imagined have gone through what I did.

November 2013

I send off Guarding Angel to Jessica. I am full of neurosis about what is or may be wrong. I fully plot Reaping Angel (Fallen Redemption #2) and start plotting Warring Angel (Fallen Redemption #3). I decide to wait until I write Reaping to finish the plot of Warring, so I go back to Exorcist’s Assistant revisions.

My first bout of PMS (sorry, men) is awful because my hormones are out of whack. I cry a lot. My husband is supportive and doesn’t tell me to stop being crazy. I love him a more for it.

December 2013

I send off Exorcist’s Assistant to the second round of CP’s. I read a lot. I get my edited manuscript from Jessica¬†and try not to feel overwhelmed by yet another round of edits to Guarding Angel. I am excited for next year, when I’m going to publish my first book.

On December 25, 2013, I discover I’m pregnant. I spend most of the time trying not to think about the last miscarriage. But now that I’ve been through it, I know that I’m strong enough to handle it.

What will be will be.

2014 is going to be a great year.

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And just who am I?

About a year ago, I happened upon a thought that had been rattling around in my head for years. “When I retire,” I thought, “I’m going to read and write all the time.” Never mind that I’m a mere 32 years old. Never mind that retirement is more years away than graduating college–or even high school. Never mind that putting off the two things that I’ve loved since I was a child was ridiculous. “I’ll write in my twilight years. No need to worry about it now,” is what I’d been telling myself for almost ten years.

When the thought slid into the light of my consciousness, I was shocked. I realized I had been denying myself something that was an essential part of me.

I used to devour books. In elementary school, I’d go to the library and wander the aisles. I’d take a stack of books to the librarian and, barely as tall as the counter, hand over my library card with a smile. I’d carry a book wherever I went. I’d read on the bus, at the dinner table (until my mother would force me to put it away), under the covers at night. And then, something in my little heart shifted, and I wanted to create something. So I wrote short stories and essays and finally, my crowning achievement, a book.

That book is tucked away in a dusty corner of my hard drive. I’ve not had the courage to pull it out again. But it’s compelled me to recapture that same feeling I had as a child.

So a year ago, I started to write and read again. And revise and learn and grow. And laugh and cry and love what I was doing.

I’ve rediscovered the joy that I had a child, a joy which I’m sure many of you share.

I’m sure that, like many things, this blog will change and grow as I do. But for now, I’m planning to blog book reviews. I have met many wonderful writers on Twitter and on the Absolute Write forums, and I want to help them and those like them spread their heart’s creations. I hope that this blog will help me meet more great people, find more awesome stories to read, and help me spread the stories I love–both mine and those I’ve stumbled upon.

My first love is science fiction and fantasy. Although I’ll review some Young Adult and New Adult books, I’m at a time in my life where I appreciate Adult stories more. I wanted to say “Adult themes,” but that doesn’t have the right connotation. I read some romance and erotica, but I like the stories that focus on growth, hard choices, and difficult life events that happen to us as we get older. I’m a sucker for dark stories. I love psychological horror, but I can’t do the gory kind. I love flawed heroes. I love “bad or worse” decisions. I love beautifully developed worlds. Hard science as a complement to a well-told sci-fi story makes me heart go pitter-patter.

I’ll warn you: I’m tough. I don’t give five stars very often, and only when the book changed something about my own world. I’m crazy about grammar. In this day and age, I believe a polished story is worth its weight in gold.

In summary, I hope this blog adds something to my life and to yours.

So tell me: What books do you want me to review?

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