In my last post of 2021, I listed some disappointments of the year and goals for the new one. Number 1 on the list: Reading for pleasure. Since I didn’t read any books just for fun in 2021, I set a goal of 12 for 2022. I didn’t really count as I went and didn’t realize I’d just surpassed my goal with thirteen until I started counting for this post. All were Inspirational Contemporary Romance. To aid my goal, I kept my TBR pile by my side of the bed. And moved a small bookcase by my nightstand. I found this cute chicken wire basket at a flea market. When I bought it, I didn’t have a plan for its use, I just like chicken wire and pink. It sat around in odd places for a few months til I realized it could hold books.
It keeps my TBR pile hand on top of the bookcase and it doesn’t topple or get stacked too high. At the moment, the book on top and one other are the only ones I haven’t read or completed. In between new releases I want to read, I reread some favorites. And what’s odd for me, I have two books going right now. I’d started a reread of one of my favorites, when I found a new release at Mardel’s so I stopped and started the new book. Technically, I’m not reading them at the same time, but it does require two bookmarks. Luckily, I have three now. My cute little basket holds them too.
Which brings me to bookmarks. I bought the seashell one on the left from Cracker Barrel several years ago. I love seashells and it’s one of my favorite colors, so it had my name all over it. I made the one in the middle from some charms I bought. But my new favorite one was a Christmas gift from my new favorite daughter-in-law. The feather, with the butterfly and aqua glittery ornament is so delicate and pretty, I was almost afraid to use it. but it’s too awesome to not use. I learned pretty quick, thankfully the ornament is plastic. It didn’t break when I dropped it.
Part of the reason I got to read more – I cut my editorial job significantly down. In 2021, I read fourteen submissions, rejected eleven, and accepted three. One of the acceptances was a debut author. I did the content edit on four Historical Romances, three Mysteries, two Romantic Suspense Novels, four Contemporary Romances, two Women’s Fiction titles, and 3 Novellas. I judged one contest, read five entries, & critiqued two winners. In 2022, I streamlined my genres. I read 4 submissions, rejected 2, accepted 2 – both from debut authors, and did the content edit on eight Contemporary Romances and one Women’s Fiction. I didn’t judge any contests. I do love editing, but I’ve learned I can’t edit and write. And I’d rather write. This year, I’m only scheduled to do two content edits. Thankfully, my friend the publisher is allowing me to pick and choose projects, keeping my schedule open.
The other thing I changed is the way I read. Instead of trying to carve out two or three days to read a book, which is almost impossible, I started reading at night. I’m usually awake a good two hours after my husband is snoring. Reading helps me relax and once I close the book, it’s easier for me to go to sleep. Though I love reading a book fast, within two or three days, and fully concentrating on it, I’m finding I savor the story better with my nightly slow reading schedule. The book lasts longer too.
Another goal was to sign with the agent I was in talks with. I did, then spent most of the year, planning our son’s wedding. In between that, I revised my long-length book and a shorter-length series. I didn’t land a contract yet. But I think I’m close on the series, so there’s a goal for this year. And I love my new agent.
I also set a goal to write a new book. I didn’t. But I’ve got a few more revisions to do and the wedding is over. So in 2023, I will write a new book. This brings me to my other awesome Christmas gift. Every desk I’ve ever had was from a flea market or used furniture store. I did buy a new one once, but it wasn’t big enough. None of them have ever been big enough except for one, but it was dark. I’ve always wanted an L-shaped number, so I can have my desktop computer and my laptop within reach. With the last two desks I’ve had, I ended up sitting in a wingback chair with my laptop rather than at my desk. The dark desk kicked off this trend. It had lots of storage and lots of desk space, but the top was bookshelves. I sat looking at a dark panel of wood. The next one was cute and French Provincial. It wasn’t big enough but took up too much space for it to face the window like I wanted. I’ve never paid much attention to Feng Shui, except when it comes to writing.
My husband kept telling me to find the one I wanted and get it. So I finally did. But it was online. I just was not crazy about spending a chunk of money online with a company I wasn’t familiar with. But then I saw the brand. The company my Georgia cousin works for. I asked her if I could buy it through her. She set me up and got me a 50% discount. Which isn’t what I wanted her to do at all. But she insisted. So now I have the awesomest desk ever. My last desk ever. I write on my desktop and if I need to research something, I spin over to my laptop. This keeps me from getting sidetracked with social media or whatever, since I don’t like facing the wall. You can’t tell in the picture, but my desktop faces the window. The white base and hutch play to my taste for light furniture and the wood top is easier to keep clean. It’s the perfect desk for me arranged perfectly in my space. And from the moment I found it, I knew that round end by my desktop would be the perfect spot for my 16 1/2 year old tomcat to lay. It took Charcoal about a week to agree. With my muse beside me, I’ve already written a great first chapter.
So what about you? What are your reading achievements from last year? What are your reading goals for this year? Or any achievements and goals you’d like to share. Do you have a favorite bookmark? Have you ever needed to rearrange or bought a new piece of furniture to increase your productivity? All comments will go in the drawing for a print copy of my two-in-one with Tina Radcliffe, including her Rocky Mountain Cowboy and my Reuniting with the Cowboy, US and international.