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and revisions of three other manuscripts (Seabound, Escalator Jumping, and my very first manuscript, that as-yet-unpublished Hong Kong travel memoir).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?


  1. Hi, I really like your article. I will keep coming here, Thanks for this post.

  2. In regards to separating/combining your interests/projects:

    I'm all in the camp for separating the personal/professional aspects of your writing. If only for privacy's sake.

    If only for privacy's sake. I made the decision mid-way through college to go by my full name publicly, while remaining "Kate" to my friends. If you google my full first and last name in quotes, I'm the only one in the US that pops up. Do I someday want potential employers googling me and finding my fanfiction from middle school? My poetry and/or paintings from high school? In some future version of me, would I want potential publishers of Sci-Fi googling me and finding only work I've done in a different discipline (say, historical novels or poetry and some of it is ten years old and terrible)? Or I had a book that didn't sell very well? And they'd rule me out because of what they found versus what I showed them.

    Whether they do or not - I would prefer to control the flow of information.
    Now, that being said, it's not that you would be trying to hide something - just keep things separate. Eventually, some may make the connection, and there may even be articles on it on line that will connect the dots... but at the point where people care enough to write articles, ala the recent JK-Rowling-is-a-mystery-writer revaluation (Stephen King pulled a similar stunt)... you have clearly achieved status of some note... and you'd have an entirely different set of problems.

    Anything sci-fi/fantasy related I'd stick with a pen name, personally. Essays, editing, non-fiction work, memoirs, and in some cases novels I'd consider sticking my name on it.

    In regards to pen name: I would highly suggest making it search engine optimized. Something that if you google stand alone, there aren't a bunch of other individuals who have picked it first. And as soon as you pick it out/choose it - grab the domain name for it! And preferably, first and last initials closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Fewer syllables the better. And nothing impossible to pronounce. Give yourself two middle initials for scifi :).

    ^^^I've done lots of thinking about both of the above this last year, if you'd like more thoughts on the subject, feel free to message me through facebook.

    -Kate, former fellow chapel-mouse (class of '10) and maroon-wearer

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I can tell you've been thinking about this about as much as I have. That's a great point about controlling the flow of information. I wouldn't necessarily want my SFF name to be secret (a la Robert Galbraith), just distinct. The secret pen name I already have is purely experimental and I'm sure I'll only ever use it for the group of humorous essays I've been writing for fun.

      I've also been thinking about SEO. Young is one of the most common English names, and my married name is even more common, so that didn't help me out. I Googled a list of rare surnames to look for inspiration :). My current favorite is near the end of the alphabet though, so I may have to reconsider that one! I may take you up on the FB message to ask your opinion on some of my choices ;).

      Thanks again, Kate. I hope your 2014 will be a great one!

  3. congrats on 2013! About your blog, I know I love the Bookspotting aspect and love that you spy on people's reading habits. It is really entertaining and gives me a jolt to know all those people are out there reading. Maybe just keep up the Bookspotting and drop the reviewing? ... I don't know ... always tough to know which projects to drop!

    Btw, I was teaching my Dad to use his Kindle yesterday and went to Amazon to show him how to buy a Kindle book and there was Art of Escalator Jumping suggested to me, so I bought it:)

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! I'm glad you like the Bookspotting posts. Those are the most fun for me and also require the least amount of time to write. Maybe I should just stop thinking of reviews as a regular (if neglected) thing and start thinking of them as special posts. It would take the pressure off.

      Hope you're having a great time with your dad. And thanks for buying my book!!


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