2018 was a wild year for me.
I: got dumped by my first (ever) girlfriend, attended therapy for the first time, got my dream job, received diagnoses for Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, moved into a new place I actually like, panicked after my therapist moved away, was forced to pull my book from a publisher mid-edits, scrambled to get everything self-published in time, had a nervous breakdown, started paying back my student loans, started dating a girl that makes me feel the way I write the characters in my books feeling, had a nervous breakthrough, dealt with my issues of self-sabotage and fear of failure, and that’s not even half of it.
I’m currently in the midst of finding a new therapist and (hopefully) affordable medication, but I already feel more stable. This year forced me to take stock of myself and I didn’t like what I saw. My fear of failure and tendency to spiral after stumbles put me in a dark place this year, exacerbated by stress and change. Attending therapy, even for six months, gave me a glimpse into a life where I could quiet the storm in my mind.
That storm has affected every aspect of my life: work, relationships, and most damningly, my writing. Now, I’ve taken some time to breathe. I’ve slowed down significantly. I no longer feel the panicked need to write something now, right now, or people will forget about me. I spend more time listening to my gut and less listening to the voice in my head that tells me I’m an imposter. I’m still trying not to let stumbles make me feel like I must give up. I’m reading more, learning more, and writing what makes me happy.
I’m in the middle of finishing a WIP that I have struggled with for almost two years due to overthinking and re-writing every single aspect of it every time I started to spiral about how much I, personally, sucked as a writer. I’m not writing at the same calm pace as I did during my fanfiction days (which have returned due to this good mood and how beautiful every single woman in Netflix’s GLOW is). I’m working on a co-writing venture with a dear friend without lying awake at night terrified that she secretly hates all my ideas, and therefore me.
God, mental illness is a fucking nightmare.
Three cheers for mental health! HIP HIP!
But enough about that, this post is about other people’s books! Executive dysfunction and anxiety have kept me from being truly active on social media. I lost all hope of finishing my GoodReads challenge somewhere around September, and since blocking GR via StayFocused in October I never stood a chance. One of my resolutions for 2019 is to be more active on social media and tell other authors, even the ones I don’t know well, how much I love their book (because, you know, fuck SAD). In the meantime, here are just a few of my favorite reads of 2018.
A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra (Amazon)
A beautifully written novel about the darker realities of mental illness with a hopeful message and fulfilling love story at its core.
Ravensong by TJ Klune (Amazon)
The second book in the Green Creek series, this time focusing on Gordo and Mark. While I wouldn’t consider Ravensong a romance in the same vein as Wolfsong, the message of love and confronting the past makes Ravensong a completely new yet still satisfying read.
Life of Bliss by Erin McLellan (Amazon)
Second in the Love Life series. A cute enemies-to-lovers romance meets fake dating meets accidental marriage novel for fans of humor and tropey romance.
Riven by Roan Parrish (Amazon)
If I had a dollar for every time Roan Parrish’s writing made me swoon I would have enough money to buy at least thirty more copies of Riven. This rockstar romance between two broken MCs is as evocative as it is satisfying.
Band Sister by KJ Charles (Amazon)
A masterfully written 19th-century novel featuring a romance between a lovably naive stickler and the owner of a club that may or may not be home to wild orgies (it’s not).
Year Two by Amy Tasukada (Amazon)
The latest installment of Tasukada’s Would It Be Okay to Love You? Series. I recommend reading books 1-3 to fully appreciate the connection between Aoi and Sato.
The Craft of Love by E. E. Ottoman (Amazon)
A sweet 19th-century romance between a trans male silversmith and the woman he’s in love with. Every detail in this novella was crafted with love for these complex characters.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Amazon)
The second in the Montague Siblings series. I loved The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, and Lady’s Guide continues the trend of historical humor and LGBTQIA representation with Felicity, our fearless aroace heroine. Now I’m even more excited for Mackenzi Lee’s secret upcoming Loki-centered novel.
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (Amazon)
(Trigger warning: rape) What do you do when the person you love the most is someone else’s nightmare? I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this novel tackling rape culture and emotional trauma at TLA18. It gave me my first book-cry of 2018.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (Amazon)
(Trigger warning: rape, animal cruelty) A Young Adult dark comedy revenge thriller that tackles rape culture and the unfettered rage of dismissed teen girls. Highly recommended for readers hesitant of YA.
Despite all of the aforementioned fuckery, I did manage to read more than 10 books this year, but I wanted to keep this short and sweet. In 2019, I want to read more and hype up my fellow authors. I want to complete at least one of the three projects I currently have in the works. I want to give publishing a try again. I quite literally have a list of things I want to do, and, yes, time is a social construct, but I love the feeling of a clean slate, don’t you?