Normally I do a long post discussing my favorite books and publishers of the year, but I’m going to pass on that. Besides the thought of writing that kind of post simply making me tired, there were too many things I missed. I’ll mention a few favorites, but that’s all I’m going to do. Mostly this will be a recap of the year’s highlights and set some goals for next year.
Reviewing and general blogging kept me busy. I was accepted into the Ace/Roc review program, which means about once a quarter I get a package of around 6-8 books, plus the odd individual title showing up here and there. These range from ARC’s to copies of current releases. Pyr published a lot of interesting things that I didn’t get to.
The highlights of the year for me were Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Anniversary Day Saga, which saw six titles published from January to June, in addition to two previous titles. This was a big, sprawling science fiction/mystery/thriller that I absolutely loved. On the fantasy side of things, the two highlights for me were Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu and The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. Finally, Trace Conger’s The Shadow Broker and Scar Tissue were the standouts in noir/detective fiction.
I’ve started to feel like I’ve drowning in things to review. There were a number of books I didn’t get to that I wanted to read, many of it older stuff, because I was reading something I’d been sent (and often personally asked to review). There are half a dozen books I’ve not finished just on my ereader, never mind print, that I need to complete. It’s not that I wasn’ enjoying the book (with one exception), but that I wasn’t in the mood for that type of book when I started them. They’re all things I would normally enjoy and want to finish.
Time constraints contributed to the overload/not finished situation. My son is in middle school and involved in band, robotics, diving, and chess when he can fit it in. He’s done well in all these, which has resulted in out of town travel to higher level competitions and so forth. This is not a complaint; far from it. I’m extremely proud of my son and the things he’s accomplished.
So, I’m going to cut back on what I review at other people’s requests. Most of the Ace/Roc titles in the last bundle were either things I’d already read or had no interest in reading. The exception is the new Jack McDeviit, which I’ll start over the weekend.
That’s not to say I won’t try to post regularly; I will. But not as many reviews. And many of the reviews will be older works. While I’ve enjoyed most of the titles to some degree, a lot weren’t really my cup of tea. I want to reread some classic authors and read some things I never got to. I want to reboot Dispatches From the Lone Star Front.
Over the last year I’ve gotten to where I want to read more history. When I started Dispatches, I wanted to focus on regional history and culture. The mistake I made was in planning to visit most of the places I wrote about. Clearly that didn’t happen. I’m still going to do some site visits, but there will be more posts that look at people and events without any travel.
Finally, my fiction writing. I placed two stories in anthologies, plus received an invitation to participate in a third. (I wish all editors were that enlightened.) I submitted to three more anthologies at the end of the year. Two of those I’m still waiting to hear from. The third submission made it to the final round. The editors said it didn’t fit the tone of the other stories. Fair enough, I can respect that. I’ll submit it somewhere else after the first of the year.
I’ve got several works in progress, and I’m hoping to finish them over the first few weeks and months of the new year. I’ll send them out, and any that don’t sell I’ll eventually publish myself.
In order to get more writing done, I’m going to have to cut back on the reviewing. So expect to see fewer reviews of new realeases, more emphasis on older works and short fiction, and hopefully more fiction.