My 2014 Writer/Reader Year

2014 was an interesting year. I don’t remember half of it (loooonnggg 7 months story…) But what I do remember, has impacted me greatly, growing me as a person and as a writer.

PERSONAL: In the spring, I went on an impromptu trip (as “keep me awake as I drive” companion) to Michigan with this crazy-amazing woman/mother named, Sarah who I’d kinda just met (she locked me in a hotel room for three days, where I wrote like crazy!!)..and, as they say, the rest is history! I now have a BFF who gets me and has stuck with me on this rollercoaster year! So thankful! Also this year, my SUPER Editor got engaged, and I’m a bridesmaid. Shopping with her for her dress and playing mannequin for my dress, has been so much fun! Looking forward to the wedding in July, 2015.

WRITING: I spent most of this year editing, revising, rewriting, and brainstorming BOUND. I sent out at least 100 queries and several proposals to agents (Status: Professional Waiter). My editor and I worked so hard this year–sweawordst & tears–and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished…now to find the perfect agent who agrees! ūüôā

In September, I finally joined a critique group. There are 5 of us, and it has been such an encouragement to spend time with these ladies. We’re a great mix of writing talent and knowledge–it’s been so helpful! Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us! We’ll always have SKYLARK!!

In 2013, my boys started going to a new school, and I have to pick them up every day. This put me in the path of Laurel Pardo–a VERY talented author who writes super-awesome TV scripts (Horror/mystery/paranormal—SOOOO out of my genre of quirky, witty YA fiction). Fast forward….Laurel and I are great friends, and recently partners! As I write this post, I’m in the process of adapting her scripts into a full-length novel! Stay tuned to meet Eli Toler–the cemetery Restorer!! So honored to be a part of this project!

I also worked on my other WIP’s…and got a few new plot ideas…So many ideas….:

  • Taken: “sequel” to BOUND–Main characters: Dillon Xanthis and Marisa Hale (YA Urban Fantasy)
  • Endicott: Main Characters: Endicott Keary (Cinderella‚Äôs best friend) Della Bentley (my cinderella), Daved Bentley (Cinderella’s Brother), Prince Cyril, Princess Keturah (YA fantasy/steampunk series)
  • Acacia: Main Characters: Acacia Mitchell, Samara Bethany (YA paranormal Series)
  • New Creation: Main Characters: Cayce Thornton, Marco Brooks (YA Christian Fiction)
  • Lines Crossed: Main Characters: Marianne (TBA), Chris (TBA) (Christian Adult)
  • Flip-Flop Kimmi in Tap Shoes: Main Character: Kimmi Joy Harper (Middle Grade Novel)

EXTRA BLESSINGS: In addition to all the ones above… ūüôā Through Facebook, I connected with SO many amazing people/authors who have blessed my life with advice, books (WINNER OF GIVEAWAYS!!!), friendship, and encouragement in my writing journey.¬†This year, I also got to be a part of several editing/promotion projects! I did several book reviews and 2 YAA! CHAT interviews on my blog–hoping to do more in 2015!

I read and reviewed A Christian Writer’s Guide to The BooK Proposal by Dave Fessenden. My review was published!

Stop! Before you even write one word, read this book! Author Dave Fessenden makes the case that the proposal should come first, and that writing it can actually be enjoyable. Dave’s invaluable wisdom saves countless hours of Googling “How to write the killer book proposal.” It gives writers the how-to and examples they need to catch the editor’s eye and nail down the ever-elusive publishing deal.¬† –Janelle Leonard, novelist, and blogger at The Writing Life: behind the Scenes with an Author of YA fantasy

Through a dear writer friend, I connected with Oliver Dahl–got to read and help with some edit/thoughts for his novel LIES Lies(My name is in the acknowledgements!!) Check out Oliver’s website: http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/

One of my greatest joys, is helping promote and encourage other writers toward their dreams–love seeing them accomplish something that they’ve worked so hard for.

Shout out to: ** Michelle Weidenbenner:   http://randomwritingrants.com/

**Olivia Stocum:  http://www.oliviastocum.com/

READING: I didn’t read as many books as most years, but what I did read this year definitely had an impact on who I am as a person and as a writer. Here is list of my 10 out of 10 coffee cups awards:

bookTV

YOUNG ADULTbookAG

Crash Into You & Red at Night & Dare You To Katie McGarry

Skull Creek Stakeout Eddie Jones     

Out of Easy Ruta Sepetys

bookRS    Splintered A.G Howard

Spies and Prejudice Talia Vance   

 On the Fence Kasie West

The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen 

ADULT

This year has been one of the BEST reading years for Adult fiction! I discovered, and fell in love with the:

Brain-tweaker, heat-felt stories: Katherine Reay

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/lizzy-jane/

BookKRLizzy & Jane

Fellow Jane Austen (& Arrow) fanatic: Mary Jane Hathaway

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/yaa-chat-mary-jane-hathaway/

BookMJ2 BookMJ BookMJ1

Swoon-Worthy, quirky, & fun: Nicole Deese

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/interview-with-nicole-deese/

cliche

Also loved this novelization of The YouTube series The Lizzy Bennet Diaries:

The Secret Diary of Lizzy Bennet Bernie Su & Kate Rorick

BookBK

NON-FICTION

BookJAHBookKIThe Jane Austen Handbook Margaret Sullivan

A Christian Writers Guide to the Book Proposal Dave Fessenden

How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels Rene Gutteridge & Cherly McKay

RE-READS

Cinder Marissa Meyer, Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen,

Emma Jane Austen,

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling

Last but not least . . .

DISTRACTION: I discovered I-should-be-writing-but-I’m-watching-yet-another-episode TV showsarrrow

Arrow (Absolutely love Felicity and her babbling ways!)

 The Flash

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Firefly (WHY did it take me soooo long to watch this???)

Witches of East End

YOUTUBE: The Lizzy Bennet Diaries & Emma Approved

Well, that my year in a nutshell review. Thanks for journeying with me on my blog and my writing life! So appreciate ALL of you!! Here’s to 2015 and all the amazing BOOKS waiting to be read (and written).

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YAA! CHAT

This has been in the I-REALLY-want-to-do-this phase for awhile. So, without thinking or talking about it anymore, I’m just gonna start it. Introducing the newest feature on my blog:¬†

 

Image

YA = Young Adult

A = Adult

! = EXCITEMENT

Chat = Interviews–a behind-the-scenes tour–with other writers.

I’m super excited about hosting (from time to time) other writers, whether just published, mega-published, or on-their-way-to-publication.

So, STAY TUNED! The first guest to appear on YAA! Chat is busily filling out the “100 random questions” questionnaire! (LOL…Just kidding…not that many, but I can safely promise that half of them WILL BE random.)¬†

Also…BONUS!!…a BOOK & OTHER AWESOMENESS GIVEAWAY!

Product of BOOKS!

‚ÄúI am a product […of] endless books.¬†My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.‚Ä̬†–C.S. LEWIS¬†
 
My dad got me hooked to books–reading to me most nights, always doing the voices! I learned to read early–before I entered Kindergarten–and haven’t stopped. I’ve read thousands of books. Some good, bad, ugly…some GREAT and life-changing.¬†
 
In fiction:
 
  • I love EVERYTHING by Jane Austen–the quirky people and dialogue and actions have really influenced my¬†fiction¬†writing. I love snappy, quick, dialogue. Zinger!
  • Love YA fantasy. (Favorite authors include: Brodi Ashton, Marissa Meyer, Robin LaFevers, Jenny B. Jones, Kasie West…)
  • ¬†Terry Brooks and the Shannara series (which is one of the first books I remember my dad reading to me), Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings have influenced my love of fantasy.

So, which book or books are you a product of?

I’d Read Again in a Second!

There are so many great YA reads out there. But for a book to make it on MY favorite list, it has to pass the I-Would-Read-This-Again-In-A-Second test & the I-Own-This test (or will be buying a copy ASAP). So, as of today, May 23, 2013, here is a list of my top favorites.

Brodi Ashton: Everneath & Everbound & Neverfall (Novella)

Jane Austen: I’m not sure if her novels count as YA, but ALL her books are on my list, in the #1 spot!

Lisa T. Bergren: Waterfall & Cascade & Torrent

Gail Carriger: Etiquette Espionage

Kristen Cashore: Graceling & Fire & Bitterblue

Rae Carson: The Girl of Fire and Thorns & The Crown of Embers & The Bitter Kingdom & The Shadow Cats

Ally Condie: Matched & Crossed & Reached

Sarah Beth Durst: Drink, Slay, Love & Enchanted Ivy & Ice

Diana Wynn Jones: Howl’s Moving Castle

Jenny B. Jones: So Not Happening & I’m So Sure & So Over My Head & There You’ll Find Me

Robin LaFevers: Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph

Marissa Meyer: Cinder & Scarlet

Stephenie Meyer: Twilight & Breaking Dawn & The Host

Rick Riordon: Percy Jackson Series (This series falls somewhere between Middle Grade & YA, but I really enjoyed it!)

J.K Rowling: The Harry Potter Series

Polly Shulman: Enthusiasm

Scott Westerfield: Uglies & Pretties & Specials & Extras

 

**Well, that’s it for today…I’m sure I’ll think of a few more as soon as I publish this…

What about you? What are your top 5 favorite YA reads?

 

 

Saw this list today, and I have read most of them…might make this my goal, to read all the books on this list. We’ll see… ūüôā

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/07/157795366/your-favorites-100-best-ever-teen-novels

Book Talk

‚ÄúI am a product […of] endless books.¬†My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.‚Ä̬†–CS LEWIS¬†
 
My dad got me hooked to books. I learned to read early–before I entered Kindergarten–and haven’t stopped. I’ve read thousands of books. Some good, bad, ugly…some GREAT and life-changing.¬†
 
*I pray at the core of my books is the Bible–and that who I am today is ruled by that book.
 
In fiction:
 
  • I love anything by Jane Austen–the quirky people and dialogue and actions have really influenced my¬†fiction¬†writing. I love snappy, quick, dialogue. Zinger!
  • ¬†Terry Brooks and the Shannara series (which is one of the first books I remember my dad reading to me), Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings have influenced my love of fantasy.
  • My recent YA fav’s include: EVERNEATH & EVERBOUND by Brodi Ashton and GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

 

So, which book or books are you a product of?