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2014: A Year in Review

Well, I'm glad blogging wasn't on my resolution list for 2014. Taking stock of the past year, for me, means I go back and look at the plans I set, and how the year stacked up before I attack the next one.

So here's what I set out for in 2014, with my end-of-year notes in blue:

This year [2014], my theme is "Be Deliberate".

Here's how I want to implement that in my life:

Responses: I'm a reactor, a fix-it-quick -er, a talk first, think later -type person. This year, I want to be deliberate in my responses and interactions with others: take a breath (or three) before responding, think about what I'm about to say before I say it, and generally temper my bull-in-a-china-shop approach to plowing through life.
2014 Review: I think I did pretty well here. A few professional issues cropped up, and I let myself cool a bit before responding. In general, I tried to be a better listener and slow things down. I wasn't perfect, by any stretch, but I was conscious of when I was plowing through and actively tried to slow down. I'm pretty proud of my work on this one!

Writing: I'm working on a book right now, and I want to be more deliberate in how I approach my writing life. The night before, I will plan when I'm going to write each day, so I have an hour that I can look forward to and keep sacred. I want to make more deliberate choices in promotion/events and not overextend myself again.
2014 Review: Well, if we eliminate November...and October...I'd have to say I didn't overextend myself. This fall was really, really busy--and I think that's part of my schedule now, when I have a summer/early fall book release. Even though October and November, especially, were hectic, I did get to see a lot of writer friends, and meet wonderful readers, teachers and librarians. I wrote nearly two full books this year, and I was much more deliberate with my time and schedule. Win!

Reading: My daughter is learning to read, and she loves books. I want to ensure that she sees me reading bound novels, not just digital media (typically I read "real" books in bed). So I've instituted Quiet Reading Time every day, where we each take a "real" book and read sitting next to one another. This is my favorite part of the day already (although it can be a challenge with the toddler running around, but even he is getting into it).
2014 Review: Quiet Reading Time waxed and waned according to our schedules (but Bedtime Reading we NEVER EVER miss), but I noticed a big change in my daughter's reading habits. She's reading Mo Willems' ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE books on her own (and to me, when I'm sick!), and has fallen in love with Harry Potter. My son can now recite Elephant and Piggie lines, and demands stories every day. Victory!

Health: 2013 was an awesome year in this regard--I ran 5 5Ks (!) and made a commitment to taking better care of myself. This needs to continue. To that, I want to add being more deliberate about my sleep. My kids are terrible sleepers, up during the night, and as a result, I drag through the day. This year, I want to be better about going to bed early when I need to--and working on getting these kids to stop being nocturnal!
2014 Review: Ugh. This is where I fell short. The second half of the year was so busy, I didn't run as much. I only did one 5K, I fell out of shape, and am not happy with where I am right now. But--2013 showed me what I can do, and I know I can get back to that. So it's back to the pavement/treadmill in 2015. On the plus side (I shouldn't say this outloud) my kids are sleeping. Almost every single night. OMG, it's GLORIOUS. I'm giving myself half of a gold star on this one, because it is a serious life changer.

So there we go. Entering 2014 one deliberate step at a time.

See you later, 2014. You were challenging, exciting, busy, and full of surprises. Next up: figuring out my theme for 2015

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• MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial 2013) was highlighted in the Atlantic Wire's Summer Reading Roundup!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY was named to the master list of Massachusetts Children's Book Awards 2013-2014

• New book alert! MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING will be in stores July 11 2013

• NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK is out in paperback! And it's on the Texas Lone Star List!

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has been named to the Texas Lone Star list as well as Kansas' KNEA Reading Circle catalog (with a starred recommendation)

• TOTAL TRAGEDY is out in paperback! Ask for it at a bookstore near you.

• TOTAL TRAGEDY has gone into its third printing! Thanks to everyone who bought it!

• MODELS has gone into its fifth printing! Thank you!!

• Have you seen the TT trailer? Go here & check it out:

• Disney's Family Fun Magazine and Girl's Life mag both loved TT! Check out the reviews in their February issues!

• I've signed stock recently at the following stores:
- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

• Booklist says, "Some sisterly bonding, the sweet flutterings of a first romance, and a creatively contrived comeuppance for the mean girls make [TOTAL TRAGEDY] a cheerful read for younger middle-schoolers."