This isn’t a “best of” list. I’m waiting until January to do that.
2014 has been absolutely insane. One year ago my husband lost his job. He landed a dream job (thanks a ton to the helpful advice that we got through this website, and to all of you who helped us during that time. I’ll never forget it.) and has been working happily. I got a promotion at work, and while the shift just about kills me (I have to wake up at 4am), I love the job itself. Add to that another cancer round (my scan looks good but the tumor markers in my blood are bad, so we’re waiting to see where/when it surfaces next). Plus a total shoulder rebuild (surgery number 11 thanks to my joint disorder) complete with cadaver parts. It looks like the surgery didn’t actually work, which upsets me to a level I can’t put into words. All things health have been interesting and very stressful.
But, I refuse to let that define me. Sometimes I have to remind myself that more than others, but I won’t let it get me down. And, thankfully, my life contains a lot more than just health stuff. I have a beautiful daughter, a fantastic husband, and a job where I’m surrounded by people who always teach me something and make me laugh. Yes, I get frustrated and feel overwhelmed, but in the scope of things, life is so much more than…. that.
In things bookish:
As of today I have read 195 books. I have high hopes of hitting 200 (a personal best) before January 1.
Special Needs in Strange Worlds on SF Signal has been an absolute delight, and one of the most humbling, profoundly touching things I have ever been part of. I love my column, but I’m shocked by how many people read it, and how much it has enlightened me and impassioned me regarding the importance of disabilities in the genre. I want so desperately to become a stronger mouthpiece for this incredibly (and very wrongly) overlooked group and aspect of the genre. This is going to be a huge focus of mine next year.
Every year I give myself some bookish focuses. I think it’s pretty easy for readers to slip into niches and stay in their comfort zones. Being a reviewer, and being proud of the work I do in the genre, I think it is important for me to spread my horizons and honestly experience as much of this genre that I love as possible. So each year I set focus goals for myself where I focus on some areas of speculative fiction I don’t give enough attention. This year I focused on young adult and urban fantasy. I learned that yes, I am very picky regarding YA, and no, I genuinely don’t like most of it. I also learned that urban fantasy tends to be my lifeblood when I’m going through health drama, and I like it a lot more than I thought I did. I also respect it for its ability to detach me from reality when reality gets a little to heavy.
Somehow on Twitter I gained roughly 1,000 more followers in 2014. Most of you guys are probably bots, but the number astounds me and makes me very happy.
I was on five different podcasts ranging from one time, to however many times I’ve been on SF Signal. A few of the podcasts were people interviewing me, which was intimidating, surreal, and lots of fun. I love, love, love podcasting. It’s so nice to be able to actually talk to other people who love the genre as much as I do. I also got to interview to of my favorite authors on the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast – Elizabeth Bear and Will McIntosh. That made my entire year. No joke.
This year I also wrote some of the most popular things I’ve ever written in the history of ever. I’m rather amazed by the hits. The most popular post on Bookworm Blues in the history of anything I’ve ever written is:
This says a lot about my focus, and I’m sincerely hoping to write more things of this nature in the near future.
Upcoming in 2015
I have formed some sort of twisted alliance with Shaun Duke of The Skiffy and Fanty Show. Shaun will help me co-edit the very first Special Needs in Strange Worlds anthology. It will be published in (tentatively in August) 2015. We plan to start hard work on it after the holiday chaos dies down a bit.
I will continue my column on SF Signal. I’m always looking for content, so please hit me up if you have ideas or offers in that direction.
I’m going to be a panelist for the first time at a convention here in Utah. The convention is called LTUE, it happens every February. I will be on a panel talking about (drum roll, please) the importance of disabilities in speculative fiction. I’m very, very excited, and I sincerely hope that I can be on more panels, at more conventions in the future. (That’s a hint to all you convention organizers out there.) Furthermore, if health chaos doesn’t hit me again, I will absolutely be at WorldCon in Washington. If I can’t make it there, then I will 100% be at MileHi Con in Denver in October.
I want to continue branching out, on podcasts, and on websites, and in person at conventions, and other events. We’ll see where I get with that. I’m not good at promoting myself, and apparently that’s what you need to do if you want to do a lot of the stuff that I want to do.
My reading goals will be:
Older genre works (I’m thinking early 1980’s and earlier)
And that’s about all I have to say as of right now. I’ll be posting a “Best of” list in early January.
I really want to thank everyone who makes my time in this genre so incredible and invigorating. You guys challenge me, and keep me striving to understand and see the world in new, different, fantastic ways (and you succeed!). You make writing reviews so fun, and reading even more fun. 2014 has been so hard in so many ways, but despite how difficult it got, regardless of how broken I felt (and have been), I always knew I had a place to go where no one cared if I was falling apart, a place I could ignore the pressures tugging at me. I started this website to give myself a place to be excited about books and pretend people cared about my excitement. It’s insane to think that, almost five years later, there actually is a group of people out there who get just as excited as me and like to talk about these fantastic things I read about, think about, and experience.
You guys keep the fires of my passion for this genre hot and burning strong.
I can’t ever thank you enough.
Now, onward to 2015!