Friday, January 24, 2014

Bookspotting, BRB

This week I spotted a kid reading a Chinese edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (with the US cover). I spotted two people sporting textbooks, one on economics and one on theoretical something something (their hand was covering part of the title). Yesterday, a man carried a paperback by Leon Uris through Central. This morning on the train, a woman was reading Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter, which looked like pretty spicy reading for 7:30 am.

Tonight I'm heading off to Canada for the Chinese New Year holiday. The impending 13-hour flight has given me the perfect opportunity to load up my Kindle with Hugh Howey's Dust. Do you plan your airplane reading for weeks in advance? Or is that just me...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to snow, fresh air and central heating in Canada. Hopefully I'll have many hours of fireside hot chocolate reading to report when I return. Gung Hei Fat Choy!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bookspotting and Listening

I'll have an unusually large number of projects "out" over the next few weeks. I'm preparing some work to read with my critique groups and I have a few pieces of writing on submission with various editors. It's a little nerve-wracking to have so many people reading, considering, and judging my writing at the same time. Whether I'm looking for feedback to improve or answers about whether or not my work is good enough to publish, I plan to do a lot of listening. I have a tendency to become super focused on plans and goals. However, I also need to listen to the advice and outside perspectives of others and adjust my plans accordingly. Do you ever get so focused on your goals that you forget to listen and be flexible? Do you have any advice for someone who kinda likes to do things her own way?

In bookspotting news, I've spotted the same woman on three different mornings reading Walking Home from Mongolia by Rob Lilwall. I spotted a kid reading The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford on his way up an escalator in Central. Another young boy was reading what looked like a Harry Potter book, but I couldn't tell for sure. Yesterday, I spotted a man reading the same Kindle I have (grey 3rd generation keyboard). This morning, a woman on the train was reading Diana: Her Last Love by Kate Snell. 

I just started The Wives: The Women Behind Russia's Literary Giants by Alexandra Popoff. If you haven't heard the story of Anna and Fyodor Dostoevsky, you need to start Googling ASAP...or buy this book. I first heard their story from my Dostoevsky professor and it remains one of the most memorable things I learned in college.

What are people reading in your town lately? How about you?

Friday, January 3, 2014

27 Things

This seems like a good time to take stock. 2013 was a busy year, filled with some big moments. I want to reflect on a few of those moments and look ahead to the coming year. Here are 13 things I did in 2013 and 14 things I'm planning for 2014. 

In 2013...
1. I got married!
2. I paid off my student debt, which was nearly $70,000 when I graduated in 2009.
3. I moved out of the single apartment on Hollywood Road I had lived in for three years and made my first home with my husband.
4. I flew home to Arizona for a visit at Chinese New Year and completely surprised my family.
5. I got my scuba diving certification and dove in Hawaii on our honeymoon.
6. I self-published a novel, The Art of Escalator Jumping, in front of a live audience.
7. I won Nanowrimo for the second year in a row.
8. I had three articles and an interview published on Modern Love Long Distance.
9. I had a piece published in Imprint, the anthology of the Hong Kong Women in Publishing Society, and joined the Society's leadership committee.
10. I compiled and edited an anthology of writing by expat women in Asia (and signed my first book deal for it).
11. I published two short e-books under a secret pen name and wrote a third (to be published soon). The books are selling slowly but steadily with almost no promotion.
12. I wrote and edited A LOT. Big projects included first drafts of two books in my post-apocalyptic series-in-progress and revisions of three other manuscripts (Seabound, Escalator Jumping, and my very first manuscript, that as-yet-unpublished Hong Kong travel memoir).
13. I read A LOT. Highlights included the final Wheel of Time book (I almost saved a bullet point just for this one), Wool (and the prequel Shift) by Hugh Howey, Torn by Justin Lee, The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling, and Country Driving by Peter Hessler.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I have big plans for 2014...

1. Launch the expat women in Asia anthology (with the help of the amazing contributors)
2. Finish polishing Seabound, book 1 in my post-apocalyptic adventure series
3. Write and revise the second draft of Seaswept (book 2)
4. Write the rough draft of book 3 in the Seabound series
5. Write the second draft of the Seabound prequel, Burnt Sea
6. Polish and submit essay/e-book about paying off student debt
7. Publish third secret pen name e-book
8. Write and publish fourth secret pen name e-book and publish a 4-book compilation
9. Submit my Hong Kong travel memoir to traditional publishers
10. Choose a new pen name to use for Seabound and distinguish my SFF writing from my creative non-fiction/Hong Kong/expat-related work as Shannon Young
11. Begin publishing my Seabound series (publishing path TBD)
12. Build up savings now that I am debt free
13. Learn to ski (we're heading to Canada at Chinese New Year)
14. Decide how to proceed with A Kindle in Hong Kong. I've been posting less frequently than ever this year. I like using Bookspotting posts as status updates of sorts, but I'm way behind on reviews. Part of the reason for this is that I've been reading fewer Hong Kong/literary/travel/memoir-related books lately. I've been binging on sci-fi, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic fiction--and loving it. I'm not sure whether I should review everything I read or only review the books that are most relevant to the original audience of this blog. I intend to continue writing, blogging, and tweeting as Shannon Young, but I'm going to launch a new website and pen name for Seabound. Basically, I'm mulling over how best to separate out my interests/projects--or whether I need to separate them at all. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments (and suggestions for pen names!). 

What are your plans for 2014? What was the best thing you did in 2013?
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