New Year’s Resolutions: 2017 Edition

Now that I’ve told you all about the good things that happened in 2016 and the resolutions a year ago that I actually kept, the time comes to look forward to 2017! In truth, my goals are very similar, but they’re still things I’d like to accomplish again.

Release 3 books 

In 2016, I managed to release The Secrets of the Vanmars (Argetallam Saga, #2), The Chalice of Malvron (Argetallam Saga, #3), and Fanged Kindred (Fanged, #3). This year, I mean to equal that by releasing The Temple of Tarkoth (Argetallam Saga, #4)Fanged Rebel (Fanged, #4), and Human, a prequel novella for the Fanged series. It’s pretty ambitious all things considered, but I think I can do it!

Read 35 books

Last year, I succeeded in reading 35 books in a year. This year, I mean to do the same! It’s not even a drop in the bucket as far as what I would like to read, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Practice drawing 3.5 hours a week

That may be a very specific number, but it comes out to a half hour for everyday. I really want to learn to draw and the only way to do it is to practice!

Be a more active/social blogger

There are so many lovely book bloggers out there and I want to visit you all more often! Also, I just love getting to know people through their blogs. It’s the perfect way to connect with book lovers all around the world and I can’t wait to do more of it.

What are some of your resolutions for 2017? Any you feel particularly good about? Tell me about it in the comments!

New Year 2016 Resolutions I actually kept

There is a general consensus that 2016 has been a crap year. Between politics, the deaths, of beloved celebrities, and many more shenanigans, there are a lot of reasons that support that.

However, I would say 2016 has not been all bad. In fact, I would go so far as to say there are parts that have actually been *gasp* good. So, during this time of year when people are dragging out their New Year’s resolutions lists for 2017, I thought I would show you some of my fulfilled 2016 resolutions before I go spouting off my goals for next year.

Release 3 books

This year, I have successfully reedited, redesigned, and re-released three separate books. Two of them have been published before, but between the redesigning of the covers and the reediting of the manuscripts themselves, I’m counting them as brand new.

Read 35 books

It’s less than half my record of 78 in one year, but this is on top of being at uni full-time! I read some pretty awesome books this year, discovered some new authors, familiar authors, and read in a massive array of subjects! Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Write 3 books

Okay, so not counting the three I released, I have written up the first two drafts in a dragon shifter series plus a prequel novella for the Fanged series. I am very pleased with myself and it was an absolute blast.

Finish my first semester at a four-year university


did officially finish my first semester with all A’s, might I add! Yes, I am pleased as the cat that ate the canary. Bwahaha! I’ve also made friends, started playing in a Pathfinder group, joined a few clubs, gotten an internship…yeah, I think I did pretty good.

What are some of your 2016 resolutions that you achieved? Are there some good things that happened in your 2016? Tell me in the comments!

How GAME OF THRONES made me a better Christian

Many people will ask, should Christians watch Game of Thrones? I honestly can’t answer. I’ve never seen the HBO series. The books, however, have played an interesting role in my perspective.

I got through A Game of Thrones this year and finally understand all the hype. It’s not the best book ever written or unlike anything I’ve ever read, but the sweeping storyline and, most of all, the character development sets it apart for me.

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It’s no secret that Game of Thrones has some questionable people, but they are still people. They grieve and bleed. They have their insecurities, secrets, and scars. It shows how we’re all so brokenly human, just as the Bible tells us.

Don’t get me wrong, there were characters I hated. I wanted a nastier death for Khal Drogo (pedophile, rapist, and mass murderer) and I won’t be crying over Joffrey, either.

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But even then, the story let me understand how others could still love them. To Dany and Cirsei, those loathsome bastards characters were a beloved husband and a son. More than anything, it helped me internalize how God could love those people, too.

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Christianity teaches that no one is better than anyone else. Even knowing this, it can be hard to grasp that God will forgive a repentant terrorist as quickly as a gossip.

A Game of Thrones influenced my faith for the better by letting me see the “worst” kinds of people differently. Every human is a creature God loved enough that He died (horribly) to save. A Game of Thrones also shows how every human needs salvation. Even the “good” people do horrible things.

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We all fall short of the glory of God and can never redeem ourselves. That’s why we need Jesus and that’s what I think of most while reading this series.

Why I don’t like “meeting” people

For a while, I thought I was an extrovert. Then I got to college and it was like NOPE. I’m hiding in my dorm room with headphones even as I write this. I’m putting off lunch because I’ll have to wade through a crowded cafeteria and I really, really don’t want to. Everyone is so friendly and talkative for the most part and I just…can’t.

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Oddly enough, I like people. I really do.  They fascinate and intrigue me and I enjoy learning about them. But it’s all so mechanical. What’s your major? Where are you from? What’s your ideal career? Do you play any sports? Those four same questions have been lobbed at and by me so many times these past two weeks I might scream. You ask about professors, classes. Then there’s…nothing. Especially at social mixers, the next person comes in the queue and moves along the conveyor belt of social interaction.

Others all around me are reducing themselves to a few stats and purposes as if we were cars or new smart phones. When you ask a people deeper questions—about themselves, their thoughts, and their feelings—most the time they can’t answer because they’ve never considered the question. They’re so indoctrinated to think of themselves as the things they put down on paperwork that they can’t get past it to something deeper.

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I know this problem isn’t exclusive to college. I’ve encountered it in other places, just never with such overwhelming duration. I’ve been through day after day after day of trying to introduce myself and getting the same spiel.

Meeting people has been the single most exhausting thing thus far. I know I like people. But the truth is, I don’t like meeting people. What I want so badly is to connect with people, to understand them on some level. With the exception of one or two professors, I don’t feel that’s happened.

I find it’s easier with smaller circles. I’ve started playing Pathfinder with some guys at the dorm and I’ve felt more connected to those stupid nerds than people who are supposed to share my interests. Some feel they do connect during brief interactions and that may be true for them, but for me I don’t see how it’s possible.

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When it comes to people, I far prefer quality over quantity. It’s why books speak to me as they do. We get to know the characters on a profound, intimate level. I’d rather have a few close knit relationships than any number of casual acquaintances. That more than anything is why I so despise “meeting” people.

Girls that defy society for absolutely no reason

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Books helped me so much, I can’t begin to say.

I grew up in a strict religious circle. Girls didn’t wear tank tops or dresses above the knee, girls didn’t talk back, girls didn’t go to college, girls let their daddies pick their husbands, and girls certainly didn’t have their own professions.

I was something of a rebel, often getting the boys into trouble because I’d suggest “great ideas.” I would climb fences, wrestle goats, play in the mud, and hold my own in a water balloon fight. But did I challenge any of those rules shoved down my throat? You may be disappointed, but no, not really.

Ask any feminist bookworm their favorite heroine and they will probably tell you about a character who stood up to social norms. I’ll bet she went against the grain, proved herself independent, and didn’t listen when the world said “no.” Whether she ran away from marrying a man she’d never met or became a mage or assassin, she didn’t take her culture’s crap.

That’s great, but why’d she do it?

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First day of college.

As modern readers, we can see forced marriage, restrictive dress codes, and professional limitations on women are sexist. We forget that women and girls raised with these things don’t. In fact, I’ve seen misogynist ideas enforced by other women far more than men.

Most women who are victimized like this will get offended or laugh at you if you tell them—assuming they even listen. They don’t just spontaneously shed their shackles and start dancing to freedom. It takes more than one or two incidents to get them to that point, contrary to what many, especially newer writers seem to think.

And it hurts. Realizing that you’ve been manipulated by people you love and trust? Damn, it’s painful.

For me, it took years. When I was eight my family left that church, but I was still being molded into someone’s future “submissive wife.” Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful and  blessed institution, but it needs to be between two equal partners.

At fifteen, I wrote my first book and joined the online community which exposed me to a lot of new ideas—which I totally rebuffed at first. However, tank tops became a part of my wardrobe somewhere in there. Then my parents divorced which revealed a lot of hypocrisy about things I’d been taught and sort of pushed me over the edge.

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Fun fact: I have been excommunicated.

A few months later (yeah, even more time after that), I signed up for my first college class. I didn’t reject my faith, quite the opposite, but I do realize that the version I’d been presented was way off. It was being used to control me and everyone else in that organization.

So what does this have to do with literary heroines? Writers need to understand how people in this type of situation actually think. These things need patience, these things generally need hundreds of little incidents built up over time. Like someone in an abusive relationship, it can take a while.

Authors and other artists are in the unique position of being able to talk about this and they absolutely should. Reading was one of the main ways I realized that how I’d been raised wasn’t okay and I know that it has the power to do the same for others.

Girls don’t just up and flick the middle finger at oppression—no one does. There is a reason they decide what they’re living in is unacceptable. It takes a lot of time, a lot of work, and a lot of courage for a girl to stand up like that. It’s why the ones that do are so compelling.

P.S.

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Eat your heart out, Burnet Bible Church Cult