Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here.

But life changes are in the works! At the end of the month, I’ll be moving across a state line with my now-fiancé. New state, new house, new job, new life. I’ve also started a bullet journal which I’m hoping will allow me to both plan better and make some good habits. (More on how that’s going tomorrow.)

Anyway. I’m hoping that with all the changes in the air, I can add a few more.

More soon!

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Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

tellthewindandfire-1 Of all of Sarah Rees Brennan’s books, I had only read The Demon’s Lexicon before I read this one. I liked it, but because I read it when it first came out, by the time the next two books in the trilogy came out I’d already forgotten what happened in the first book. Which is how I never got around to finishing that trilogy. While I liked her writing, I was still wary of her novels in the same way I’m wary of all Young Adult novels, so they remain on my ever-growing To Read list. Still, Tell the Wind and Fire appeared on NetGalley and enticed me with it’s dual magical system of Light and Dark, and so here we are.

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

This book is apparently a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities. I say “apparently” because I didn’t know this until I went onto Goodreads to update my progress through the book and happened to see something about it in another review. I haven’t actually read A Tale of Two Cities, haven’t seen whatever movie or TV adaptations might have been made of it, or even really learned what the general plot of the novel might be through osmosis. I… gather there are two cities? Still, knowing that this book was supposed to be a retelling of another wouldn’t have told me what to expect. Honestly, from early on in the book I might have guessed this had shades of The Prince and the Pauper, but it didn’t go there in the end.

While I don’t think you need to read A Tale of Two Cities to understand and enjoy this book, I can’t help but wonder how my reading experience might have been different if I had been familiar with the source material. As it was, I enjoyed the book’s concept—and specifically it’s magic system—even if I was somewhat less interested in the welfare of its main characters. In any James Bond movie I’m never actually concerned that 007 will die. He can’t. He’s the main character. Similarly, with this particular story, I never really worried about Lucie or Ethan—although there were plenty of opportunities to worry about Ethan. But, possibly because of it’s genre and all the things authors can and cannot do in that genre, it always felt like whatever danger they were in was always temporary, would be overcome, and safety would be found.

That being said, one of the things that I though this book handled really well was its love story. I don’t usually read Young Adult books—even Young Adult Fantasy books—because the immaturity of the love stories is something I’m easily bored with. The “will he notice/kiss/proclaim his love for me?” angst of teenagers isn’t something I care to relive and the general age range—both of the characters and the readers—prevents much more from happening. But this book sidesteps all of that really neatly: from the very beginning, the main character is already in a relationship. It is that relationship, that love, that drives the plot forward. Even better, there’s not really time during the book for the characters to really think about sex. Taking it a step further, the book doesn’t specify one way or the other where Lucie and Ethan are in their relationship, and it seemed entirely possible to me that they might have consummated their relationship just previous to the book’s opening. I liked the ambiguity in this, since it dispensed with one of the things that I usually dislike in books in this genre.

I really wish I liked this book better because it’s clear that Sarah Rees Brennan is a very capable storyteller. But I think my general apathy towards this particular genre meant that I didn’t let myself really get emotionally invested in either the characters or the story. I sort of feel like I’ve failed in some way. But at the same time, I know a lot of people are going to really like this book. Which, even though I didn’t, is just as it deserves.

Tell the Wind and Fire is written by Sarah Rees Brennan and was published on April 5, 2016 by Clarion Books.

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Lucifer: Really, you should just pretend the comic doesn’t exist.

imageIf you’ve at all taken a look at my Twitter feed in the last few months, it’s entirely possible that you might have noticed that about once a week I use it to live tweet my reactions to Lucifer. Well, the first season (first half of the first season?) of Lucifer just ended, which means I can now attempt to pull all of those stray thoughts about this show into something more coherent. Beware, spoilers ahead.

But first, a little background context. My first job, started in the summer after high school and continued into my first year in college, was at a comic book shop. I loved this job. There was, of course, actual work involved in said job, but part of why I loved the job so much was that I was also encouraged to read comics (often while I was at work) as a way of learning more about the field I was working in. At that point I had already read most of Neil Gaiman’s works in novel form, and was still working my way through his comic Sandman, but that was one of the comics that never seemed to be in the store for very long. So my manager handed me Lucifer. There are 11 TPB (trade paperback) volumes in the original comic by Mike Carey, and I went through them voraciously.

Lucifer the TV show and Lucifer the comic bear only a superficial resemblance to each other, let’s be very clear about that right from the start. There are characters who bear the same names, and the general premise of why the Devil is out and about in Los Angeles has remained the same, but that is where the similarities seem to end. If the show wasn’t at all related to a comic that I quite love, I would imagine that I would like this show quite a lot. As it is, I find the disconnect between the things I loved so much in the comic and the reality of the TV show is enough to make me bristle.

There is a rant I keep going through—most often to myself, but sometimes to whoever can be corralled into listening (most frequently this is my boyfriend, he should probably be sainted). This rant has to do with TV and movie adaptations, and the subsequent changing of a story that the original material has already provided for the screenwriter. The story provided in the comic would have made an amazing TV show, but a much more complex one than the one we got in the end. It’s not a show, I think, that FOX could have gotten away with airing—which in the end might have had something to do with the direction the show ultimately went in. (In case you’re wondering, yes, this rant rears its ugly head every time a new trailer for Suicide Squad comes out.)

  1. Mazikeen. I have really mixed feelings about this character. I love Mazikeen in the comics, and I love the casting of Lesley-Ann Brandt. But at the same time, I’m not entirely sure I like this character. In the comics, Mazikeen isn’t actually that complicated of a character very early on. She’s utterly devoted to Lucifer—for reasons that we later learn—and hardly ever even speaks a word against him, much less would ever collaborate with an angel to force Lucifer back into Hell. Some of my immediate reservations about this character was about her appearance—but not her race; again, Brandt is fabulous in this role. In the comics Mazikeen wears a half mask over the right side of her face, and the face beneath it is almost nothing more than just a skull. I spent a fair amount of Twitter time demanding to see Mazikeen’s true face. And, in all fairness, we did get a glimpse of it in episode 5. Still, I continue to be disappointed that it’s not a permanent feature of the character.
  2. Lucifer’s wings. I’ll probably start a lot of my issues with the show with this particular phrase, but… In the comics there’s a whole plot arc around Lucifer regaining his severed wings. And when I say “regaining” I don’t mean that they were stolen from him and he regains possession of them as happens in the show. I mean that he reattaches them, and after that uses them to fly as any angel. In the show however, he burns them. It’s disappointing.
  3. Magic and the Supernatural. While the Sandman/Lucifer universe of the comic books (oh yeah, spoiler, they’re related) isn’t exactly filled with magic, it is filled with various pantheons and the various supernatural creatures that come with that. The first plot arc—and a recurring one—is a magical tarot deck, the plot arc that involves his wings has him interacting with part of the Japanese pantheon, and shortly thereafter Lucifer makes himself a new creation, with himself as god. There are all sorts of demons, angels, and various other creatures running around, so basically my point is that the TV show is mundane, and took a lot of what makes the comic universe interesting out entirely.

I imagine that a whole blog post might be devoted to the finale alone*, but I’d like to avoid spoilers as much as possible here. I will say that in many ways the finale redeemed the show for me. Half of that is that it’s such a huge deviation from the comic that it’s easier for me to separate the two in my head and enjoy the show for its own merits. But the other half is that the cliff the finale left the viewers hanging from really piqued my interest. I will absolutely be tuning in when Lucifer returns to see where the show goes next.

Relatedly, DC/Vertigo has a current comic continuing Lucifer’s story from where it ended years ago, and Holly Black is doing the writing. If you’re at all interested in the comics, I recommend starting with the originals and then continuing with the newer ones since the stories are related; and if you’ve already read the original comics but haven’t checked out the new ones, definitely do. Both the writing and the art is great, and the TPB will be released on July 26.

* I thought Tor.com might have just such an article, since they frequently do TV episode recaps, but instead I found this: How to Make the Devil Boring. Lucifer. In general, I agree that most of what makes the show interesting isn’t Lucifer himself (with the occasional exception, of course).

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2016: Week 3 Progress

Well, I missed my Week 2 check in. Work was busy, a few things happened in my personal life that required my attention, and then there were new books that I needed to read right this very minute. (Reviews of some of these books will resume in May, for the interested.) With all of those things conspiring to distract me from my writing, there wasn’t even really that much going on to check in with. A few hundred words got written in the few slow moments at work, but otherwise I was unproductive for most last week.

And then this week I had the realization that something I had decided should begin Character #2’s story—mostly for the sake of balance; everything seemed to be happening to Character #1—actually made much more sense for Character #1’s story in the long run. Which meant that a lot of what had already been written would eventually go into the trash anyway. For the sake of keeping a word count, they remain in this project’s Scrivener document, but it’s somewhat disheartening to remember that they’ll likely be scrapped in any future drafts. I know this is part of the writing process, but when progress forward—in sheer word count terms—is as slow and small as mine is currently, it’s still a little sad.

Still, I continue to peck away at the keyboard, producing a few words here and there. It has quite a few similarities to a book I love and reread a few weeks ago, and while I’m not entirely concerned about that right now, I know it’s something any future draft will have to address. That being said, I remain delighted with the general theory of the story I’m trying to tell, even if I haven’t quite got it all figured out yet.

P.S. I finally got fed up with copy-pasting em dashes into my blog posts when I’m writing them on PCs instead of my Mac, and I finally bothered to look up the keyboard shortcut for em dashes on a PC. It’s not nearly as convenient or fast as on a Mac, but I’m still fairly delighted with myself.

  • Current Word Count: 3,497
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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2016: Week 1 Progress

Ok. So. As it turns out? I’m not good at planning my stories. Obviously this is something I need to work on. My word count for Week 1 might seem dishearteningly low, but a major part of that is a Day 2 project switch. I had a project I was interested in working on—and some of an important scene sketched out on scrap paper—but then I had a dream.

I’ve written before about how dreams inspire my writing and my current project came entirely from a dream I had on April 2. But switching projects meant not only scrapping what few words I’d already written for the abandoned project, but also building a world from the ground up, figuring out the new characters, figuring out the magic system—oh, and of course figuring out what the broader plot of the story beyond the instigating incident (i.e. the dream). Which meant a few days doing some mental sorting.

In the end, writing on the new project didn’t seriously begin until yesterday. I wrote 682 words, and I think I actually have forward momentum at this point. There are still some important things to figure out for this story—does it have an antagonist? does it need an antagonist?—but I actually have enough of foundation to just write my way into those answers.

I’m still at the point where I have to remind myself every few minutes that this is just a first draft, that I’m supposed to just throw everything I can at the project right now—and not even check to see what stuck until after April is over. Right now I need to put all the words in one place. I can shape the book later. As Rainbow Rowell said in her NaNoWriMo peptalk, “But then I thought about how wonderful it would be to have a pile of 50,000 words… […] First drafts always make me feel anxious and a little desperate—like, ‘Oh God, I just need to get all of this out and on paper, so that I have something to work with.’ I like having something to work with.”

So that’s where I am now.

  • Current Word Count: 682
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Thinkin’ About: Camp NaNoWriMo

So, the first of this year’s two Camp NaNoWriMo months is April, and I’m determined—somewhat determined? a little determined?—to do some writing in the next calendar month. This means I’ll need to finish my planning in the next few days. That seems pretty soon, but I have been thinking about this endeavor for a little while, so I did manage to do some planning in February and March.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a little different than “regular” NaNoWriMo in one main way: the word count goal is flexible and set by the writer. So maybe you’re goal is to write a novel, but maybe it’s just to write a short story or a novella… Or maybe you plan to write two whole 80,000 word novels in one month because you’re crazy and also highly ambitious.

My goals are somewhat more modest. I think I can reasonably expect (and possibly push) myself to write 500 words each day, which will get me 15,000 words. Anything more than that would be a bonus. Now, obviously, 15,000 words a novel does not make. But I think I can probably lay in the main plot (or a hefty chunk of it), which will give me something to work with once Camp NaNo is over and done with. At this point I have… Well, ok, I have the beginnings of a plan. Not quite enough to be getting on with, but I have a few more days still.

What this means for this blog is that I’ll be updating here with my progress, just like I did with NaNoWriMo back in November. Only, you know, I hope to be somewhat more productive this coming month than I was last November. So wish me luck!

P.S. If you’d like to follow along with me elsewhere, you can find my Camp NaNoWriMo profile here.

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Romantic subplots and why they’re starting to bother me.

It’s been a little while since I’ve had much to write about here. I’ve be caught up reading Pierce Brown’s Golden Son and Morning Star—which are really great, but I don’t seem to read them as quickly as I do other books. (If you’re looking for something good to read, I definitely recommend these books, but start with Red Rising, which is the first book in the trilogy.) I’ve also been brainstorming things to post here that aren’t book reviews. There have been a lot of those lately, and while I enjoy writing them, I want there to be other things here. In that vein, here is something I was thinking about recently.

Rachel Aaron posted to her blog in early February about subplots and why they’re important, which of course got me thinking about my own experience with them—be it in my own writing, or in other people’s stories in both books and TV. My boyfriend almost always has the TV on when he’s at home because having the background noise helps him relax. In the last few months he’s gotten through all 12 seasons of NCIS and five seasons of Hawaii Five-0 on Netflix. Which means that I end up watching some of these episodes as well, and even though I’m not really watching the show, some things filter through. In particular, I seem to be aware of the romantic subplots and their particular brand of tension. Which has made me wonder.

We root for the characters we like. We want them to do good, be happy, be loved. By themselves, these things don’t always make for a very interesting story, but that can usually be fixed by making the main plot tense and fraught and thoroughly frustrating to the characters. After all, plot is the problems in a characters life and how they solve them. If the story doesn’t revolve around the characters’ personal lives—for instance, this theory probably wouldn’t work for a romance novel where the characters’ love lives is the plot—then why does everything in their life have to kick them in the teeth?

There are a few examples this brings immediately to mind. If you’re at all familiar with them, you’ll know that Bones and Castle are both TV shows with two main characters whose romantic tension played huge roles in the early seasons. But in more recent seasons of both shows (spoilers coming), those two main characters got together. In both shows they even got married. And, in both shows (I assume; full disclosure, I stopped watching Bones about three seasons ago), those relationships are still undergoing a fair amount of turmoil and providing the show with dramatic tension. I understand that this is a great opportunity for character development and the like. But—and I don’t know about you—I’m over it.

I want the characters to be happy. They have enough tension in their work lives (both of these shows are basically police procedurals and are pretty much about solving murders) that I want them to have someone to come home to after all that work is done. Which brings me to my next examples. Mercy and Adam in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series and Toby and Tybalt in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. While both of these examples have had their fair amount of tension and drama in the early days of these relationships, in the most recent books they’re fairly stable. Adam and Tybalt are always there when Mercy and Toby need them, always stand with their women through whatever mystery or problem their authors throw at them, and—barring future drama or trauma—aren’t going anywhere.

I love that. I love that some things are reliable in the hectic and chaotic lives of these characters. It provides comfort to the characters—and to me. I’m not afraid that any new thing will end the relationship, I’m not afraid that one or the other person will leave. There’s a larger message in that, too: love can be quiet and persistent and just always there for you. Isn’t that how we all want it anyway?

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Review: Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip

25489443 Patricia A. McKillip is one of my favorite authors. Without fail, at the end of every one of her books, I find myself thinking, “That was amazing. That was so beautiful. I honestly have no idea what I just read. Everyone should read this book.” Kingfisher absolutely lived up to that expectation. I loved it, I’m still not entirely sure what happened, and I think everyone should read this book. There’s not a single one of her books that I haven’t liked, if not loved, and holy cow did this book rocket to the top, claiming for itself a place among my favorites. January of 2016 isn’t even over yet, and I imagine that this book will appear on my “Best Books I Read in 2016” post at the end of the year.

Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. “Look for us,” they tell Pierce, “if you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden’s court.”

Lured by a future far away from the bleak northern coast, Pierce makes his choice. Heloise, bereft and furious, tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court; about an older brother he never knew existed; about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen, and Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone.

As Pierce journeys to Severluna, his path twists and turns through other lives and mysteries: an inn where ancient rites are celebrated, though no one will speak of them; a legendary local chef whose delicacies leave diners slowly withering from hunger; his mysterious wife, who steals Pierce’s heart; a young woman whose need to escape is even greater than Pierce’s; and finally, in Severluna, King Arden’s youngest son, who is urged by strange and lovely forces to sacrifice his father’s kingdom.

Things are changing in that kingdom. Oldmagic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to its former glory—or destroy it…

Of all the authors who I count among my favorites, McKillip is also one whose writing style I hope to emulate in my own writing someday. Not just because she’s a great writer, but because her stories have a way of evoking particular moods in the reader—of making the reader see, hear, and feel not only like they’re in the world, but like the world is all around them. Part of this, I think, is suspension of disbelief. And not just in the reader. Since I was reading this book for review, I tried to pay more attention to particular techniques that McKillip uses to engaged her readers this way. One thing I noticed is a lack of confusion in the characters. Strange things happen to Pierce that by all rights should make him stop and say, “Wait, what?” But because he accepts it and moves forward, the reader does the same. Strange things become normal, even when the normal is already strange and fantastic.

This book was different from many of my favorite of McKillip’s book in another way. Rather than creating a world from scratch, the world of Kingfisher resembles ours in many ways. Equal parts modern and fantastic, the sorceresses and shapeshifters of Severluna don’t feel out of place with the cell phones and cars they use. This blending of elements creates a world that the reader can really feel at home in, melding the fantastic elements of kings and knights and sacred quests with the comfortable familiarity of a modern pub and inn and all the recognizable people that comes with.

Moreso than her previous books, I felt that this one left me with so many unanswered questions. That’s usually something I expect with McKillip’s writing, but at the end of Kingfisher I felt there were characters whose stories were incomplete in ways that seemed usual. The way the story ended almost made me feel as though my copy of the novel was cut short, or was—I hoped—an earlier edit, while the published version would contain more of an ending. While the story wraps up Pierce’s story neatly, nearly every other character’s story is left open and left me wondering what happens to them next. The strange double love triangle of King Arden, Queen Genevra, Sir Leith, and Heloise is left completely unresolved, and of the four POV characters, it’s only Pierce who gets a neat story. The future of Prince Daimon, Princess Perdita, and the cook Carrie are left mostly untouched and unresolved.

As always with books I love, I wanted more in this world, more of these characters. But since the bulk of McKillip’s books are standalone novels, I suspect this will be the same. Part of that means I don’t know what her next book will be, or even when it might come out. But while I’m eagerly awaiting whatever Patricia McKillip writes next, I can use the time until then to re-read the rest of her books.

Kingfisher is written by Patricia A. McKillip and will be published on February 2, 2016 by Ace.

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Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

91xkKHcL6VL When I made the resolution to be healthy at the end of last year, I didn’t mean to let yoga and barre take over my life. I have actually been reading (though not as fast as I’d like), but not writing or revising as much as I thought. On the other hand, my happiness levels remain delightfully high, which I’m taking as a win. Anyway, I promise there will be more things on this blog in the near future—and to start, here’s a book review.

When City of Blades showed up on NetGalley I felt somewhat obligated to read it for review since I reviewed the first book in the series here as well. And I’ll admit, I felt a little apprehensive about this book since the first was difficult for me to get into at first—even though I ultimately ended up liking it a lot. But spoilers for the rest of this review: I liked this book a lot too. Maybe even better than the first one.

The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

I’ll be honest: most of my apprehension about this book stemmed from Turyin Mulaghesh being the main POV character. Not because she wasn’t a perfectly fine character in City of Stairs, but because I really enjoyed Shara from the first book. Mulaghesh honestly wasn’t that memorable compared to Shara and Sigrud. Which, in its own way, makes her a great character to follow through a sequel. I imagine that writing a character with a disability like her’s—she’s missing an arm—could be a really interesting challenge for a writer who doesn’t have the same disability, but I thought that Robert Jackson Bennet did a good job with that. I never once forgot what challenges Mulaghesh overcame in her journey through each day, but neither was it constantly shoved in the face of the reader. I found myself liking her more than I thought I would—though a big part of that is her cussed stubbornness and the sheer amount of complaining she does before getting shit done.

My overall impression of the first book is that it had a fair amount of politicking, while at its core being a sort of spy thriller. And while City of Blades definitely has a similar formula, it felt like more of a detective novel. Shara was a clandestine operative, but Mulaghesh is more like the “hard-working gumshoe” of the noir genre. This book starts with a missing person—possibly murdered, possibly a murderer—and then uses the conventions of the world (as set up in the first book) to hit the ground running. I absolutely guessed the whodunnit fairly early on, but by the time I was proven right, I had changed my mind and second- and third- and even sixth-guessed myself.

I usually try to avoid outright spoilers, but possibly the only disappointing part of this book was that a character I really liked—and hoped could be a POV character in a future book—was killed in the climax. There was a moment when I didn’t believe it, when I thought that perhaps I had read too much into a particular scene, when I thought the author would bring her back in a dramatic moment. And then a few chapters later both her father and her lover are driven a little bit mad by seeing her body. I was a little too sleepy when I was finishing the book to cry for her, but I genuinely thought about it.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series. I can’t wait to see what the next Divine mystery in this world is, and whose job it becomes to solve it. Yes, the writing is excellent, but these books are also highly entertaining—something I don’t discount in any book I read.

City of Blades is written by Robert Jackson Bennett and will be published on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 by Broadway Books. It is the second book in The Divine Cities series. My review for the first book can be found here.

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New Year’s Resolutions

I haven’t always been the best about making my New Year’s Resolutions clear, even to myself. But at the end of this year, as we head into the next, I still have accountability on the brain. So I thought I would make it clear to everyone, just what my goals are for the next 366—because 2016 is a leap year—days.

  1. Read. I didn’t read very many books this year compared to other years. Many of those I did read were fabulous (my list of best books I read in 2015 is roughly a third of books I read this year) and I know that I didn’t get around to many amazing books this year. So this year I have a list, and if I read only books from that list, I’ll be doing pretty good. There are some I’m already planning on reviewing, and some new installments in series I love, so I have my fingers crossed that this won’t be much of a challenge.
  2. Write. I started two novels this year, and didn’t get far on either of them. I want to get farther on both of them in the coming year. I want to make real, tangible progress. At the same time, I also want to lay in plans for other projects that are still more nebulous. At 27 I’m still figuring out how to “adult” better, and I think that means doing the work even when it’s hard and I don’t really know what I’m doing.
  3. Revise. I wrote a novel in 2013, and it’s been sitting on my shelf since I finished it. I think it’s probably time to take a look at it again, and see what can be done with it—and especially fix the things I already know I want to change. I’ve been putting off writing the next book in the series until I fix the first one, so I should do that so I can move forward with the story.
  4. Be healthy. It became clear recently that I have little to no upper body or core strength. I’ve already leapt headfirst into some yoga classes that I’ve really enjoyed and I’m looking forward to continuing with those. A friend has roped me into barre classes too, the first of which practically crippled me for several days afterwards. I’m looking forward to the day when that doesn’t happen. In the warmer months of the coming year, I’ll be able to swim in our pool, which is absolutely my favorite form of exercise.
  5. Be happy. I’ve been so amazingly happy for most of this past year and 2016 looks like it’s going to be even better, so I don’t think this will be hard. But I do think it’s important to remember that this is always a goal, and to be mindful of it, to always work towards your happiness and the happiness of those closest to you. I hope I can remember that in 2016.

The mantra for today, stolen from a friend, is this: Start as you mean to go on. Which is why I’ll shortly be heading to my first yoga class of the year. And when I get home, I hope to get a start on some writing as well. Make a good start of it, so that I can continue with the forward momentum.

P.S. The corollary to #2 is that I also want to write more in my paper journal. I keep forgetting about my journal, a practice which has gotten me though light and dark times in the past. I love having the physical record of the events of my life, of the thoughts in my head, and all the emotions that I go through. The month-long gaps in that record are a concern to me, so this coming year I’ll try to eliminate those gaps.

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