Initially this post was a filler, just a way to space some things out. But once I started writing it, I realized it’s actually a year worth remembering.

I published my first novel, Tattered Heart. That should have been a clue right there that I should write something about this year. It was exciting and gratifying and I learned so much about self-publishing and traditional publishing along the way.

Since I decided to self-publish I also decided to do everything myself. I had two great editors, so not quite everything. But almost. I designed the cover. I handled the interior design. My sister did an awesome job drawing the map. I did the family tree of the Viyin and dVoryan. I formatted the ebooks along with copyright page and back matter and all that. Formatted the paperback (which was considerably more difficult than the ebook surprisingly). Uploaded the epubs to the different ebook retailers. Found the print on demand service (yes, Amazon owns the world). It was exactly the self-publishing experience I wanted because I learned how to do all the things!

Work this year brought new responsibilities and more demands but also some cool stuff like traveling (a lot).

Feb: I went to New Jersey (by way of Philadelphia – everything is so close together in that part of the country).

April: New York City for the third time. Figured out the best thing to do is order sushi on the train and then it’s ready for me after I’ve checked into the hotel. Totally awesome and also *delicious* and my favorite way to spend a night in a hotel – eating great sushi and watching movies. I also had French food for the first time at a true French restaurant. I like to try new things when I travel. It makes everything more interesting, because really new cities, when you don’t know anyone or know where to go, can turn into little more than a different hotel if you’re not careful. So, I tried pigs feet. The flavor was pretty good but the texture was unappealingly fatty. The chocolate souffle, though knocked me on my ass.

May: Toronto a few weeks later. Sushi again but other than that it was just a hotel and a lot of 90s music and an excuse to use my passport.
Then 2 days later San Francisco. Again, delectable sushi – a chance to see some family and close friends and drive on the 101 (don’t judge – I missed it).
Los Angeles a few weeks later. I recorded the majority of the audiobook for Tattered Heart, hung out with my best friends, took an aerial bungee class and saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. And ate some amazing sushi with black rice.

July: Syracuse, NY. That was just a hotel. Sorry Syracuse.

August is where the fun begins:
London. for 8 days. Greek, French again, pub (because, of course, it’s London), Italian, Thai…all sorts of wonderful food and stories and castles (also work, whatever).
Then the next day Colorado. Literally, less than 12 hours after I left the airport I was back on a plane. 8 days there and a 7 hour time difference to adjust to (London to MDT).

Sept: Two weeks later, Atlanta. Shrimp and grits! And the Atlanta Aquarium. But no Mumford & Sons this year which was unfortunate.
1 day later Los Angeles. More audiobook recording, more best friends, even a little more sushi and Disneyland! (also California Adventure for the first time)
LA directly to Phoenix. Fancy hotel at least and a lot of good laughs.
Two days later, Toronto for a week. This time Toronto was awesome. Tapas in the brewery district, Irish pub, sushi, then steaks downtown and plenty of time to write blog posts for Sci-Fi November.

October I went absolutely NO WHERE and loved it.

November: Colorado again. Laughed the most there.

I feel like I should have tweeted and instagram’d more in the midst of all this. Perhaps a year end instaspective (instrospecitive?).

Because of Tattered Heart I read a lot fewer books than I have in recent years. I can’t believe I only read some of these books this year. It feels like I read them forever ago and have read them a hundred times since. To be fair, I probably have read some of them in pieces a half dozen times.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is a masterpiece. It’s languid and compelling and so brilliantly woven together. Blue Lily propels the narrative forward but more importantly has these incredible progressions in the character arcs that are just quiet and powerful and therefore incredible.
Also, I got to attend the Blue Lily, Lily Blue launch with Maggie which was awesome. She told great stories about writing and her books and then signed my Raven Boys and Dream Thieves (I pre-ordered Blue Lily so it was already signed) so I am very excited I will have a full signed set of an amazing series.

Death Sworn (Death Sworn, #1)Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

New book from Leah Cypess! Leah is one of my favorite authors because her stories are so unique in the YA landscape and very well written. This one toyed with themes from a short story of Leah’s I read just before publication of Death Sworn was announced. It’s all about assassins and magic but not in any way you’d expect. I really like the ideas this explores about the cost of being an assassin and the reality of it and how it changes you and caring about people in the midst of that.

Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

So good. So awful in that difficult to read, horrible, you’re totally breaking my heart and I don’t think I can take it sort of way. So excited for the next book.

Lost LakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Another languid book, this one is a slow Southern sunset on a hot night. I love the magic Allen creates in her novels. I love the depth of characterization and the beauty of the romance. I love that she asks for difficult things from her characters but she makes them strong enough – lets them strengthen one another – so they don’t just survive. They grow and they create better lives and it makes for a beautiful story.

These Broken StarsThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

YA sci-fi. Romantic and shocking and a story interesting enough to totally live up to that cover.
Plus, I got to meet Amie Kaufman in London and she was fantastic.

The Burning SkyThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

I didn’t read this for the longest time because the cover didn’t get me excited about the story. It’s really cool – but wasn’t ever what I was in the mood for. oh, silly, silly girl. The story was not what I expected at all (I intentionally forget synopsis – I just trust if it’s on my tbr list at some point I wanted to read it for a reason. That way I go into books with a blank slate). The Burning Sky was a great deal more fun than I expected; considerably more magical; surprisingly romantic; and exceptionally British.

The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West

I don’t read a lot of contemporary because I generally like that element of magic or the extraordinary in my stories. I like the places it allows you to go outside the boundaries of the possible and the realistic. But Kasie West makes reality awesome (and by reality I mean awesome, idealized, wonderfully funny and romantic reality).

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

This is one of my favorite series endings ever. The story is complex and beautiful. The changes in the characters are amazing and compelling and heartbreaking. The language and depth of the world building is staggering. I wish I’d written this series. I wish I was this good. I am just absolutely blown away by how amazing this book is and how much I love it.

And finally my Friday 2014 playlist. Because when you’re at work at 7:30am on a Friday, music is what keeps you sane.

Posted in: Life, Tattered Heart, travel ~


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