2017 Resolutions

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I heard Dr. Henry Cloud speak last night and he said something I really appreciated:

If you want your life to be different, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out what you want that different to look like. You need vision.

Such a simple statement, but I think this is something that can easily be forgotten at the beginning of the year when we’re all setting our resolutions. It has to be more than just, “I want to have x accomplished,” it’s about clarifying your ultimate goals and then identifying the small/attainable steps you can make in the short, medium, and long term to get there. To use an example: Losing weight can’t be the goal—that’s a step toward an ultimate goal of something else and you need to be able to identify what that ultimate goal is or you’ll lose motivation.

And so that’s why goal casting is always a really big deal to me. I don’t just randomly make goals and throw them into the air hoping something sticks. I’m purposeful about what I want, what I need, and realistically what I can accomplish in a given set of time. So that being said, I have 7 goals this year:

  1. Hike 5 Texas State Parks with my family
  2. Finish revising TSBTS
  3. Draft/Revise historical adventure
  4. Write “Lyric’s story” (a MG novella for my daughter)
  5. Read one published book a week
  6. Finish getting out of debt (so close!)
  7. At least 4 family meals around the table a week

Things that aren’t goals, but are lifestyle changes I would like to see happen include becoming more disciplined about my writing time and drinking more water.

Things that I am putting into the universe that I would LOVE to have happen (but of which I have no control): selling a manuscript (or more!) and getting a promotion at work.

Let’s do this 2017!

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Looking Back at 2016…

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Another year has passed.

Can you believe it? Another year has passed.

I know I echo a lot of “year-end reviews” when I say this has been a tough year for a lot of people. In my own life, I dealt with a lot of disappointments that I had to learn to accept, but with that and the election and some personal goals that didn’t get met, the last several months of the year felt like a dark hole of suck.

And within that dark hole of suck, creativity has a hard time taking root.

I also stretched myself too thin in too many different areas and as a result, lost a lot of focus.

And focus is kind of a big deal when you wear as many hats as I do.

But all in all, I like to think that I learned a lot about myself in 2016.

Looking back, my word for 2016 is: boundaries.

I spent much of the last year discovering, setting, and testing out boundaries, then readjusting those boundaries and testing them again.

It was a year of leaning in to discomfort and discovering things about myself I wouldn’t have admitted were there a year ago.

It’s also been a year of putting my writing out there in a way I never have before and I’m proud of myself for that.

So in honor of focusing on the good, here are things I’m most proud of in 2016:

  • I became a Pitch Wars Mentor to two awesome ladies
  • Both of those ladies got literary agents within the first week of querying/agent showcase
  • Started a fun Texas State Park bucket list with my family we are checking off
  • Had some incredible wins at my day job and got a nice raise
  • Enjoyed several “me only” writers retreats in Tyler and Austin
  • Went to an invite-only social media summit that took place at DISNEY WORLD! (so much fun!)
  • Left a house that was falling apart around us and moved to the city I’ve been wanting to live in since we moved back to Texas from Europe 3 years ago
  • Finished the first draft of a new book
  • Outlined the ideas for two new books
  • Revised ALLIANCE again in September/October and love it more than ever
  • My kid trilogy is THRIVING! They are seriously the most hilarious, talented, fantastic kids on the planet
  • Celebrated 11 years of marriage with my Belgian waffle and we went on a grown-up vacation with our best friends to Cancun!
  • Bought a new couch (I know that seems weird to add here, but I’ve been wanting this couch for probably 10 years!)
  • Was asked to help coordinate the teen volunteers for the North Texas Teen Book Festival
  • Realized I’m living my best life.

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Yup, you heard me on that last one. I’m living my best life. Some time this summer, I was hit with this realization that I am—right now—living my best life. I’m not aiming toward living my best life… it’s happening right now and just realizing and then accepting that has really changed my perspective.

There is nothing important in my life that I am not passionately pursuing.

I am passionately pursuing being a published author.

I am passionately pursing being the best in my niche field within digital marketing/social media.

I am passionately pursuing being the best wife/mom/sister/daughter/aunt/friend I can be.

I am passionately pursuing knowledge and understanding how to use my privilege for good.

I am passionately pursuing generosity and giving of my money and time to worthy causes.

I am passionately pursuing my spiritual walk and finding peace within my boundaries.

Living your best life doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished all your goals or everything is going right. Living your best life means that you are in a passionate pursuit of life and choose to grasp hold of each day, each accomplishment, each failure and say, “I don’t care what I feel right now, I’m choosing to acknowledge that I am living my best life.”

It’s in that acknowledgment that true happiness digs its roots deep into your soul.

So here’s to 2017 and living our best life.

 

My 2016 Books in Review

I’m joining in on Jamie’s End of the Year Survey! 

There are few things in life more important to a writer than reading amazing books from other writers. It was Stephen King who said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” How true this is!

Reading is fuel and I’m happy to say that in addition to all the incredible unpublished manuscripts I read this year, I also hit my goal of reading at least 1 published book a week. Go me!

 

Number Of Books You Read: 54
Number of Re-Reads: 9
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

 

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J. MAAS

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

STAR WARS: CATALYST (TOO SLOW)

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

SIX OF CROWS

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY – I TOTALLY HAVE SEVERAL “RELUCTANT READER” FRIENDS OBSESSED WITH THE SERIES NOW.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

BEST SERIES I STARTED: WINNER’S CURSE TRILOGY

BEST SEQUEL: A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

BEST SERIES ENDER: MORNING STAR

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

JENNIFER LYNN BARNES

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS BY MARJANE SATRAPI

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

ILLUMINAE AND GEMINA

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY OR EMPIRE OF STORMS

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

MADNESS SO DISCREET

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

SEFIA FROM THE READER BY TRACI CHEE

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

MADNESS SO DISCREET

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

SALT TO THE SEA

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

SIX OF CROWS

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 

THAT’S EASY, IT’S FROM THE READER: “Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.” ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

SHORTEST: FAIREST (LUNAR CHRONICLES)

LONGEST: EMPIRE OF STORMS

 

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

 

COURT OF MIST AND FURY

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

RHYSAND AND FEYRE FOOOORRRRREEEEEVVVVEEEERRRRRR

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

MANON AND AELIN

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

MADNESS SO DISCREET BY MINDY MCGINNIS

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

FALLING KINGDOMS

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

RHYSAND

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

THE READER OR SUFFER LOVE

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

OUR LADY JANE

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

THE FIXER

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

SALT TO THE SEA OR BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY (DANG YOU RUTA!)

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

ILLUMINATE AND GEMINA

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

EMPIRE OF STORMS

 

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

THE BRIDGE BY JILL COX IS NEXT UP ON MY READING LIST!

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

THE HATE YOU GIVE

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

ILLUMINAE #3 OR A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN (WILL COMPLETE THE TRILOGY)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

STAY UP WITH READING ONE PUBLISHED BOOK A WEEK!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION

 

Book Recommendation: Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

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Hardcover, 336 pages Expected publication: March 14th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Summary:

A girl with Tourette syndrome starts a new school and tries to hide her quirks in this debut middle-grade novel in verse.

Calliope June has Tourette syndrome. Sometimes she can’t control the noises that come out of her mouth, or even her body language. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But soon the kids in her class realize she’s different. Only her neighbor, who is also the class president, sees her as she truly is—a quirky kid, and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Callie navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that she might be moving again—just as she’s starting to make friends and finally accept her differences. This story of being true to yourself will speak to a wide audience.

My Thoughts:

I’ve never read a novel in verse before and now I want to read more! This was beautiful, witty, emotional and with a voice that sucks you in from page one! LOVED this book!

RIP

Alan Rickman in January and now Carrie Fisher in December.

One proved that even the greatest heroes have flaws, and the other showed that princesses can grow up to be generals.

I’m sad today, but grateful to the arts that make characters come alive and teach us lessons we’ll never forget.

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