2013 - A Look Back

After bingeing on Starbucks seasonal drinks, Hallmark channel winter movie marathons, a Twilight Zone marathon and some epic crocheting, I'm still in awe that we are now in 2014. A lot happened this year that I'm very thankful and blessed to have experienced. I got married, moved across country not once but twice, got settled into married life, received some wonderful awards and read some awesome books. I also had a chance to re-evaluate my writing life and set some new career goals. Most of all was time management.

Being on my own, it was easier to devote time to many things I wanted to do but becoming a wife divided my time to take care of the household along with writing and reading. It's an interesting process and nothing at all what I had in mind before entering but it's been a great blessing, a grand adventure and a fun experience. I'm looking forward to experiencing more!

On the writing front, I have been on a bit of a hiatus but I am coming back! After a missing pages mishap, the pages were found, I'm continuing a book and I made a goal list for this year. For 2014, I want to stretch my writing muscles a bit. If it's anything I've learned after 20 some odd years of writing is that 1) the writing process is an every changing learning experience, 2) I'm always striving to write the next story better than the last and 3) a break is necessary to keep doing what I love.This break really helped recharge me and I'm ready to start putting down these ideas swirling around in my head. This year, I'm excited to try some new genres I never wrote in before but want to share via the characters currently taking up space in my mind. Some new books will naturally be under Rae Lori but I'll be writing under other various pen names of which I'll chat about in my newsletter.

More on that later, but on the reading front I'm looking forward to kicking up my reading goals this year. Life was too crazy to keep up with everything I wanted to read in 2013 and my TBR pile has suffered (sorry pile). Audiobooks are my friend though and I'm going to try to get some of my reading list books in audio format. I didn't get to review every book I planned to review so I still have some of those books to look forward to soon. A couple of flash reviews for books I really enjoyed:

Phantom by Laura Deluca - I really enjoyed this YA spin on the Phantom of the Opera. I'm a HUGE fan of the play and plan to read every incarnation in written format of the play and this got me off to a great start. Ms. DeLuca penned a nice tale featuring YA characters putting on the play for the school. Things get creepy when accidents starting happening on the set to coincide with certain events in the play. This book kept me guessing until the end and even when I suspected a few of the characters, some I actually hoped wouldn't be the killer because they grew on me so much! I must commend Ms. DeLuca on her characterization because she really made them stand out with their own personalities. Something I'm a pretty big stickler for and don't find done well in many books today. This one went on my keeper and recommendation shelf. It kept me entertained and sane during my traveling exhibitions this year.

The Art of Steampunk, Revised Second Edition by Art Donovan - As a new reader and viewer of the Steampunk genre (aside from Jules Verne and the like), I didn't know much about today's Steampunk culture but I've been wanting to dive into it both on the writing and reading end. As a writer, I souped this book up while researching the genre. The gorgeous pics of Steampunky aesthetics and gadgets really inspired me. I loved the creativity of the clothes especially and I appreciated the small write-ups geared toward newcomers to the world. There's even a 'What Is Steampunk?' article within to learn more. I recommend this book for folks like me new to Steampunk but also for art enthusiasts who love some awesomely creative pieces of artwork.

Thanks to the author and publisher for letting me read their wonderful books.

I hope everyone out there on my list and everyone who happens to stop by the blog has a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2014.