The last day of 2008 … a year that has been very, very good to me.
The year I sold my first book.
So although I will never forget 2008, I hardly need to tell you how excited I am about 2009.
Finally! The new Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery will be released!
Oh, and later in the year … my book, FLASH BURNOUT, will be released.
When you finally reach the Happiest Place on Earth – Publishing World – you discover it’s full of rides! There’s Editopia, the Spinning Teacups of Title Selection, Revision Mountain, and the harrowing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doubt. And of course, any trip to PubWorld must include a ride on the Insomnia Railroad!
It’s been wonderful and thrilling to explore this fantastic place – I’m so lucky to be here. But I’m even luckier I didn’t have to wander around by myself. I’ve been accompanied by my Debs, a group of debut 2009 authors. We’ve screamed with glee together, and held hands during the scary parts. I haven’t even made it to some of the rides yet, like the ARCs Tea Party or the Pirates of Promotion, but when I do I know I’ll be able to share the ride with my Debs. At the end of the day, we’ll gather to watch Tinkerbell fly across the park, scattering pixie dust and good reviews, and we will clap and blink away happy tears and believe in the magic.
My trusty list of Books Read 2008 informs me that I read 84 books this year, and gave up on an additional 9. In the interest of getting this entry posted before 2008 is over (I left this kind of late!), I’m cutting my Top Ten list in half.
Annual flash disclaimer:
I know many wonderful writers now, and I’ve read many of their wonderful books. But to be impartial, I won’t include them on my Top Ten List, ‘kay? It would be dubious.
I’m adding another wrinkle this year. (Heh. I typed “winkle” at first.) I’m not listing books that have already received plenty of online buzz, like THE GRAVEYARD BOOK or PAPER TOWNS or THE HUNGER GAMES. Of course I loved those books – they’re awesome! But those authors don’t need my endorsement.
Am I finally getting to the recommendations?
Why yes, yes I am.
The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue. Highly original story of a human child who is replaced with a changeling; the story is told in their alternating voices. The title is based on one of my favorite poems by William Butler Yeats.
Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. I raved about this book a few months ago, and it’s on my all-time permanent list of favorites now. It’s the perfect book for me: orphans and thieves! … a scoundrel and a creepy country estate! … burning desires and cruel greed! And did I mention that it’s set in Victorian England?! Sarah Waters is like a brilliant mix of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, except she’s alive now, and can write more books for
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson. Not only does this author write a hilarious blog … it turns out she’s a darkly devastating fiction writer. Check her out.
Young Adult Fiction
Unwind, by Neal Shusterman. Taut, fraught dystopian thriller about teens on the run from being “unwound,” a process of harvesting every single usable body part. Sooo good.
Naughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman. I’m glad I have the sequel to this sitting on my TBR pile, because as soon as I finished it, I wanted to find out what happens next. The setting is another dystopian society, this one a place where racial conflicts dominate everyday life. In this case, the persecuted minority race is the “naughts” … people with white skin. Thought-provoking and haunting.
Other Minutiae and Magnitudiae from 2008:
This is the year I discovered I love tae kwon do! It doesn’t always love me back, though. I’ve torn my chest wall, broken my big toe, and rolled my ankle. (Heh. Middle age. Whaddaya gonna do? *shrugs*) But it’s a terrific workout, with the added benefit that I could maybe kick a bad guy’s ass, if I had to. I’m going to keep doing TKD as long as I can, and in fact, I’m going to finish the year with a class tonight. Hai!
Favorite New Netflix Candy
I’m not easily squicked-out, but I almost quit watching halfway through the first season of Dexter. Talk about DARK and DISTURBING. But people convinced me to keep going, and I’m glad I did. Even then, I was pretty sure I couldn’t watch the second season, but again, people told me Season Two was even better than the first. They were right! I went on a Dexter-binge, eating episodes one after another. But now? I’m done. That was enough blood and betrayal to last a looong time.
I cleansed my eyeballs with the bright colors, wacky premise, and lovable characters of Pushing Daisies. Ahhh. The anti-Dexter.
Dream-Come-True Way for Word Geeks to Raise Money for Charity
I listed this site last year, and I will continue to mention it. It’s real and it’s magnificent. Check it out: http://www.freerice.com/index.php
2009 Writing Goals
1) Keep opening the document. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part of writing.
2) Trust in the revision process, instead of despairing over ugly first drafts.
3) Celebrate my book’s release!
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!