The 2017 Blogoversary, Part 1: Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend + Giveaway

This Sunday, July 9th marks my eighth blogoversary! And based on the results of this recent poll, this year’s celebration is going to be… giveaways! (Many thanks to everyone who voted, btw!) This is perfect, because blogoversaries aren’t just a time of virtual cake, confetti, and fireworks. They’re also a great opportunity to thank readers for their friendship and support, no matter how long they’ve been following you. So, consider this week’s and next week’s posts my gift to you guys. (*bows in gratitude*)

For this first giveaway, I wanted to do something bookish, but something different from the usual “favorite reads or authors of all time” theme. Then I read these recent Top 10 Tuesday posts by Sarah J. Higbee and The Bibliosanctum, and a lightbulb turned on. So, here are Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend, along with links to my reviews¬†at Goodreads. At the end you’ll find a Rafflecopter link and instructions for how the giveaway will work. Sounds like a plan, yes? ūüėÄ
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The Creativity Corner: Spring 2017

Can you believe that summer is here? ūüėģ It still feels like I was in Iceland last week. How on Earth has time zipped by so quickly??

Since a new season has begun, it’s time for an update on the past season’s creative happenings. And after a winter where I struggled with anxiety for a few weeks and my confidence in my writing hit rock-bottom,¬†I’m happy to say that spring was a more productive, inspiring, and emotionally healthy season. It wasn’t free of bumps, but I’m moving forward and focused on new projects.

New projects?? What about¬†The Keeper’s Curse? Or the novella? Yeah… I’ll explain what’s happening with them, too. But first…
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The Mystery Blogger Award

Goodness, this has been sitting in my Drafts box for a while…. (*blushes*)

So Jessica @¬†Elldimensional graciously nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award back in January. It’s taken me a while, and for various reasons, but I’ve finally made time to accept and answer her questions. Thank you, Jessica! ūüôā And since I haven’t done an award or blog tag in some time, this should be a fun change of pace.

Some quick details about the Mystery Blogger Award, as described by¬†its creator Okoto Enigma: “The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is¬†also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

I’ll save the guidelines for the end of the post.¬†Let’s get to the good stuff first. ūüėČ

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The Creativity Corner: Winter 2017

It feels weird to post¬†a wrap-up of a¬†winter’s worth writing, reading, and other creative happenings on the second day of spring. (This is the new “writing monthly update” series I had mentioned last month, btw.)¬†But the truth is, I’ve procrastinated on this post for a couple weeks now, and not due to lack of time. Instead, I’ve been feeling anything but enthusiastic or confident about writing lately.

(Btw, my latest DIY MFA post went live last week. Something funky happened with the blog post announcement, so click here to read the article at DIY MFA.)

The good news is, I’m now taking steps that can hopefully help me regain that confidence and lead to a better, more productive spring. I’ll touch on¬†that, as well as the progress I’ve made so far¬†with The Novella (my new writing project) and the books I’ve read so far this year. Also, since this is the first Creative Corner, any feedback on the content and/or setup will be greatly appreciated. ūüôā
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What Do You Think?: Asking for Your Feedback on My Novel’s Blurb

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I’m in the middle of finishing new articles for DIY MFA and Writers Helping Writers. So I thought I’d do an “easy” post this week, and one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Your feedback has been so helpful in the past with website changes, blogoversary celebrations, and excerpts on my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse. I’d like to ask for it again today, on a component of the novel-writing process that’s more important than we might think: the blurb.

Wondering what a blurb is? Or why it’s important for writers to start working on one before their novel is published? I’ll answer those questions briefly, then give you a chance to offer feedback on the latest blurb for TKC.

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Chronicling The Craft: On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

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On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between progress reports, fun WIP-related content, and writing / revising / editing tips. Today’s post serves an update on¬†TKC’s beta-reading stage and the beginning of Draft #1 of “The Novella.”

Starting a new phase of the writing process is always exciting. And nerve-racking. And scary. But mostly exciting. However, what makes this “new beginnings” Chronicle unique from past ones is that¬†it covers not just one writing project, but TWO!

Today’s Chronicle is mostly updates on my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse and my fantasy novella-in-progress, which is tentatively titled The Novella. (Not very imaginative, but I don’t have any title ideas yet. *lol*)¬†I’ll also share my plans for the upcoming round of Chronicles¬†– and if you’re interested, I could use your help with deciding what “fun stuff” to share during the progress reports.

Also, because I saw the movie “Moana” recently, I declare today as Moana GIF Day. ‚̧

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Ready? Let’s start with…
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Sara’s Favorite Reads of 2016, Plus Two Times the Giveaway Fun!

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Since¬†it’s still the first week of 2017, it’s¬†still a good time to look back on the year that was, right? ūüėČ On Tuesday I shared my annual reflection on writing, personal life, the blog, and goals for the new year. Today, it’s time to share my list of favorite reads of 2016!

Last year I split my year-end list into two posts: brand new books, and previously published books. But this year, I decided to “condense” and put it all in a single post.¬†So, which books ended up as¬†my favorite reads of 2016? You’ll find a few hints if you look closely at the banner¬†image. Otherwise, let’s head on in and see the full list – and maybe a chance for you to win one of the honored books!

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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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My 10 Favorite Reads of Fall 2016 (+ Win Your Choice in a Giveaway!)

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When I announced in September that I was reducing my blogging schedule, I knew that change would mean ending the monthly Recent Reads series. But I didn’t want to walk away from the idea of discussing books we’ve recently read. Then I read Leanne Sowul’s summer reading round-up here, and inspiration sparked. Why not do a seasonal reading recap – and also make it fun for my readers?

So, today I’ll share my 10 favorite reads from Fall 2016 (September through November). What you’ll find after the jump¬†aren’t reviews, but rather blurbs that mention why I enjoyed each book with¬†links to my full¬†reviews at Goodreads and Amazon. As for the fun part: The title says it all, so¬†stay tuned for the Rafflecopter link and instructions at the end of this post! ūüėČ
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