A Look Back; A Look Forward

This is the time of year when everyone gets bombarded with a host of Christmas posts and New Year’s posts and resolution posts and a year in books posts. Here’s one more. Kind of a look back at 2018 both in life and books and an unofficial wrap up for the Ilyon and Acktar blog tour since I never did one of those. Oops.


Every year has its ups and downs. But 2018 is one year I’m personally glad is over. It was a year that started with blowing a tire on the highway and dealing with that mess and ended with having to say goodbye to my grandpa as he went to Heaven and saying goodbye to a place very dear to my heart all in one month, all while running a blog tour and releasing my seventh book. It was a year where I found out I was going to be an aunt again, only to grieve with my brother and sister-in-law as they suffered a miscarriage and clung to the hope of Heaven, a hope that now both my unborn niece or nephew and my grandpa are together with Jesus. This was a year of finding out just how amazing and supportive my friends are, both the ones in Michigan and far-flung across the United States and world.

The year had its amazing moments. Going to Realm Makers and meeting some friends for the first time and others for the third or fourth time was awesome. Realm Makers is always a blast, and this year was definitely so. I took a road trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and completely fell in love with the area. My critique partner came in September, and I had the privilege of showing her around west Michigan.

It was a year where I launched a new series and wrote a new book in my established series. Writing itself wasn’t as difficult as it was last year, but it wasn’t without its discouragements and joys. I had my worst release since my first book as a newbie author and also my best release ever. I tweaked or completely changed the covers of 4 of my books while working on the covers for two upcoming books all in the same month. I released my 5th Blades of Acktar book within four days of Jaye L. Knight, a really good author friend, releasing her 5th book in the Ilyon Chronicles, and the joint blog tour was amazingly fun, especially the combined character chats.

Over all, it was an amazing, exhausting, draining, strengthening year. I look forward to what God has in store for 2019!

Mini Blog Tour Wrap Up

Now that all the polls from the character chats have wrapped up, it’s about time we announced the results.

For those who might not know, at the end of each of the combined Ilyon and Acktar character chats from the recent blog tour, Jaye and I had a poll pitching two of our characters against each other in good fun.

Character Chat #1 Poll – Leetra vs. Martyn

Leetra came out swinging and gained an early lead, which probably made Martyn mad because he took the lead after that and never looked back.

Final result: Leetra (23) vs Martyn (26) (49 votes total)

Martyn wins! Barely, though. Leetra definitely put up a good fight!

Character Chat #2 Poll – Trask vs. Shad

This one really, really surprised me. After a few votes early on, Shad ended up the HUGE winner. Sorry, Trask.

Interestingly enough, it was this poll (not the Jace vs. Leith poll like we expected) that got the most response and the most votes.

Final result: Trask (19) vs. Shad (34) with 1 vote for a tie (54 votes total)

Character Chat #3 Poll – Jace vs. Leith

This was the most highly anticipated poll, and the Jace fangirls definitely brought it. In a practice fight (where Leith would be barred from using his assassin trickiness), Jace was the clear winner.

Final result: Jace (21) vs Leith (12) with 1 vote for a tie (34 votes total)

Character Chat #4 Poll – Kaden vs Kayleigh

This poll got somewhat the short end of the stick since it went up on the last day of the tour and only lasted for about 48 hours.

But of all the polls, this one was the friendliest fight. Kaden and Kayleigh stayed neck and neck for the whole time and tied in the end, with one person voting that Martyn would beat Kaden. So after a friendly bout where Kaden and Kayleigh tie, Martyn tips things in Kayleigh’s favor by getting annoyed with Kaden.

Final result: Kaden (14) vs Kayleigh (14) with 1 vote for Martyn as winner (29 votes total)

So there you have it. The fans have spoken!

Thanks so much for everyone’s participation in the tour and voting on the polls! All of the character chats are up and can still be enjoyed if you missed them. Just scroll down to the blog post before this one to find the 4th character chat and links to the rest.

2018 in Books

I read A LOT of books this year. Part of that was I deal with stress by reading, and usually reading light, non-demanding books, and I discovered several authors that fit that bill nicely.

I read 188 books in 2018. That doesn’t count the bazillion times I read Dagger’s Sleep and Decree before their releases.

Of the 188 books:

113 (60%) –  audiobooks. That is down from 70% last year, but that is kind of deceiving since a bunch of the books I physically read were short stories and shorter books while all the longer books I read were audiobooks.

86 (45%) – indie books. I honestly thought it would be more, but indie authors don’t have as many books on audiobooks. But of the 75 books I physically read, 62 (83%) of them were indie books, and another 3 of them were small presses.

103 (55%) – Christian books

  • 78 (41%) – Christian books for the Christian market
  • 25 (13%) – Books written by Christians for the general market


Fantasy: 80

  • Fairy Tale: 25
  • Kingdom Adventure: 12

Western: 24

Thriller: 12

Romance: 85

  • Christian contemporary romance: 20
  • Christian historical romance: 45

Graphic Novel: 1

Sci-Fi: 2

Time Travel: 3

Steampunk: 15

YA: 15

I knew I read widely and with a variety of genres, but it was fun breaking it down like this. No one genre was even 50% of my reading, though Fantasy and Romance were nearly tie at roughly 45% each, though there are a few more that were both fantasy and romance that I included under fantasy and not under romance. I also read surprisingly little YA this year.

Most-read authors:

  1. Louis L’amour (18) – all of these were re-reads. Western.
  2. Carol Moncado (17) – new-to-me author. Mostly new, but I re-read a few. Christian contemporary romance. Indie author. Reader Ages 14+
  3. Lindsay Buroker (14) – Some re-reads, some new. Adult steampunk. Indie author. Can get steamy. Reader Ages 18+
  4. Tamara Leigh (13) – Some re-reads, some new. Christian historical romance. Indie author. Can get steamy. Reader Ages 18+
  5. Tie between K.M. Shea and Melanie Cellier (12). KM. Shea is a longtime favorite author while Melanie Cellier was a new-to-me author this year. Both write fairy tale and fantasy. Both are indie authors. Reader Ages 10+

Except for Louis L’amour, all of my top, most-read authors are indie. Maybe because they put out more books per year and have more books out there to binge?

That’s my year in books. I love tracking my reading progress on Goodreads! It makes it so easy to look back and figure out what I read during a year!

What about you? Do you track your reading on Goodreads? Did you make your reading goal?

On to 2019

2019 is going to be a busy, crazy year. I’m currently working on writing Midnight’s Curse, and I’m super excited to see it come together. I already have the cover for it, and I’ll know more about a release date once I finish the first draft.

I’m also brainstorming Deceive (The Blades of Acktar #6). I think this book and book 7 are going to be worthy additions to the series!



3 thoughts on “A Look Back; A Look Forward

  1. Christine Wachter January 3, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of 2018 and giving us a preview of what’s to come in 2019.


  2. Allison Grace January 3, 2019 / 7:05 pm

    Wow! You read a lot of books last year!


  3. Zoe January 4, 2019 / 5:43 pm



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