Looking Back on 2016… and Looking Ahead to 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the December holidays and had a fun, safe end to 2016.¬†ūüôā

Looking back on the year, one of the words that comes to mind is “growth.” This site especially was booming. Thanks to all your shares, likes, and comments, 2016’s stats in terms of page views and visitors doubled 2015’s. And that’s despite¬†the fact that I slowed my blogging schedule to once a week.¬†I may be the one who writes and runs this site, but you, the readers, deserve much of the credit.

So, thank you for stopping by and coming back, for sharing your thoughts and offering feedback, for spreading the word and celebrating milestones with me.¬†But most of all, thank you for encouraging and inspiring me. Yes. You inspire me¬†to be not only the best writer I can be, but also my best and fullest self. And for that, I’m truly grateful.

So, let’s get to the annual year-end wrap-up, along with some quotes that reflect my feelings about 2016¬†and my hopes for 2017.
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New DIY MFA Articles, Plus Facebook and GoFundMe Updates

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(NOTE:¬†Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, December 15th.)

Do you believe in destiny, or a higher power conspiring to help make things happen? Or are you convinced that our lives are what they are because of our choices? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether fate or free will plays¬†the greater role. This mystery, however, hasn’t prevented writers from exploring it through story.

Today I’m tackling “fate versus free will” for my¬†Theme: A Story’s Soul¬†column at DIY MFA.¬†Using Paulo Coelho’s¬†The Alchemist¬†and Erin Morgenstern’s¬†The Night Circus¬†as examples, we’ll discover the common elements that both books use to examine this enigmatic theme¬†and brainstorm ideas of how¬†we can write our own stories on an age-old debate. (See the link after the jump.) Continue reading

Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 24: March 2016 Haul, Part 1

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

This is getting¬†embarrassing – to the point where, apart from new releases, I might have to institute a temporary “book-buying” ban. (*blushes*) Not to mention this was going to be one installment of Stacking The Shelves. Next week I’ll explain¬†why I split it in two.

For now, here’s Batch #1, a mix¬†of¬†2016 books with the latest additions to my ongoing “market research” project on fairy novels. Let’s have a look:

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 23: Mermaids, Fairies, and Magic Galore

Stacking The Shelves banner

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

I bet I know what some of you might be thinking: “Huh? She bought MORE books?? Especially after that big haul a few weeks ago?!”

Yep. My bedroom will look like this pretty soon!

Yep. My bedroom will look like this pretty soon!

I know. (*blushes*) But this new¬†haul¬†is relatively small;¬†and as I’d said in January, my reading priorities for 2016 are newly published books and any novels that will help with my two “market research” projects. With that in mind, here are the latest additions to my (still overstuffed) shelves.

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 22: An Embarrassingly Huge Haul from Barnes & Noble

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

Today’s Stacking The Shelves post should be called “Overstuffing The Shelves.” Because when you have gift cards to Barnes & Noble and find books on your scribbled “immediate-must-have” wishlist and then spot other novels you’d learned about from the blogosphere, you realize how dangerous your love of reading can be. (*blushes*) But really, we must have ALL the pretty, shiny books, right?

Also, if you’re the kind who salivates over fantasy and science fiction, this post is for you. ūüėČ

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 21: Christmas-January Haul, Plus My Reading Plan for 2016

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

It’s been a while since the last¬†Stacking The Shelves post! I always try to be good (i.e., not buy any books) in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and I did pretty well with my ban again this year. Of course, I put books on my Christmas list instead, just to make up for it. ūüėČ

Today’s¬†post will be a mix of gifted books and other additions to my (overflowing) bookshelves. And, since last year’s reading plan worked out amazingly well, I have a new one for 2016 and will share that, too.

Finally, this is the first post using photos taken with¬†my new camera. I’m still learning some of its functions, but for the most part the pics came out pretty well!

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Happy New Year – and Here’s to 2016!

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Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a enjoyable and safe end to your 2015; and would like to wish you the best in health, love, and creativity for 2016.

Also, I know I keep thanking you, the readers, for¬†helping to make this blog what it has become… But, honestly, YOU¬†deserve so much of the credit. Thank you for commenting on each post, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and sharing the links on your own blogs and on social media. Most importantly, thank you for your enthusiasm, encouragement, and thoughtful feedback. You put a smile on my face every day I’m here. ūüôā

I used last year’s Happy New Year post¬†to sort of “wrap up” the 2014 highlights for the blog and for me personally, and to look ahead to 2015. Since I was happy with the final product, I’ll do the same again¬†for this year’s:
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