Sunday, December 28, 2014

Twenty-Fourteen: A Behemoth Year

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year's resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective."
-G.K. Chesterton 


It's been a monumental year for me as a writer. So huge I wonder if I'll ever have another quite as big. See, this time last year, I was still entirely unpublished with a cover design in hand and an email into Createspace. By Valentine's Day, I had released my first novel, Fly Away Home. In January, I received word that I was a finalist in the Five Glass Slippers contest and saw my first novella published in June. The rest of the summer was spent finalizing cover design for my first mystery and second full-length novel, Anon, Sir, Anon. Throughout the early fall I put that novel through my trusty editor, Rachelle Rea, and the first Vivi & Farnham mystery debuted to quiet applause on the Fifth of November. In early December I finished the first draft of my children's novel, Cottleston Pie, and sent the first three chapters to beta-readers before polishing them up. By the time you read this, I will (hopefully) have sent Cottleston Pie to its first publisher to be looked upon with a savage eye. And we mustn't forget the twelve-day wonder, John Out-the-Window, which astounded me by coming out to nearly 18,000 words  (each letter being written the day it was posted) and being acclaimed by some people as one of their favorite things I had ever written. In all seriousness, you are the best group of readers I know. The fact that you spent time every day in the hugely busy holiday season to drop by The Inkpen Authoress (some of you several times a day) and read something that was unpolished and unedited surprises and delights me. Thus, the year in writing. As for the year in reading? Well, I keep a list taped to my Wall of Inspiration. The wall currently looks like this:

Please forgive the overflowing trash can and busy-looking desk. We can't all be tidy.

It was not an exceptional reading year as far as numbers go. I was far too busy juggling the strange new world of Nanny vs. Novelist and trying to keep up with my family in the spare times. But if I did not read many books, the quality was high and delightful. From Plenilune to The Grand Sophy; from Eric Metaxas' giant and heart-wrenching biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer to a Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon; from The Man Who Was Thursday to Stephen Lawhead's Hood trilogy, it was a year of growth for me as a reader. The complete list is as follows, and my favorite titles are emboldened:

Outcasts by Jill Williamson
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Hood by Stephen Lawhead
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Forget-Me-Nots by Amber Stokes
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead
On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Once on a Time by A.A. Milne
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
Duty by Rachel Rossano
Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
Violets Are Blue by Elizabeth Rose
Tuck by Stephen Lawhead
Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Only a Novel by Amy Dashwood
Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag
P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters edited by Sophie Ratcliffe
The Mrs. Meade Mysteries Vol. I by Elisabeth G. Foley
The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Corral Nocturne by Elisabeth G. Foley
Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shafer
The Book Thief by Markus Zusack
Murder Must Advertise by Dororthy Sayers

As you can see, I was able to fit in quite a few indie novels, which was a lovely switch-up. The reason I do not have Five Glass Slippers on the list is because I still have not read one of the five stories and didn't feel I justified in listing it until I had. Before 2015 begins, I hope to be able to add The Hobbit into the list. It was one of my Christmas Break goals. Phew. Twenty-Fourteen sits heavy on the shoulders. Let's see what lies ahead in the twelve-month to come!


Hannah Joy said...

Happy New Year! And congrats on a great year in 2014--you really had some awesome accomplishments with writing! *confetti*

Carmel Elizabeth said...

I loved perusing your list; so many favorites! So many titles I know (and need to read)! (Orthodoxy has been long in the waiting-shelves for me; maybe I'll at last tackle it in 2015. ;)

It's been a wonderful year. Here's to the next. ^_^

Joy said...

You surely have had a blessed, packed year in being a novelist, Rachel! Congrats, my dear :). I love your writing, the more you write, the more I love it. In a way, I really fell in love with your writing this year actually :D.

I love your reading list of 2014! So many books that I long to read, and some that are favourites already.

I must do a similar post. This year, I mostly read. . . writing took a sideline, sadly. Hope to change that in the coming year or two.

Lots of love, and Happy New Year! <3 :D

Abby said...

Congratulations, Rachel! Hope 2015 will be as successful.

Sofia Marie said...

Wow, that's a lot of both writing and reading. :) I got my very first first draft finished this year, but haven't typed all of it. What was the most fun story for you to write?