Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Book Round Up

It's getting to be the end of the year, which always leads looking back.  This year, I've been keeping track of the books that I've read, including which were new-to-me and which were re-reads.  (As a side note, I love re-reading books that I enjoyed.  I find that I always find something new every time I read it, either because I missed something the first time, or because my perspective has changed.)  So, below are the books that made the biggest impact this year:

The Good:

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst (read April 2013)
This was the first book by this author that I'd ever read, and it made me a fan.  The characterization and world-building were both detailed and accessible, and the story left me contemplating it for days afterwards.

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (read July 2013)
I got this book through the Hugo Nominations package - the last two years, I've gotten a supporting membership so that I have the ability to read all of the nominated works and vote.  As far as I'm concerned, this novella was worth the cost of the membership.  I'd never read Sanderson's works before, but now I understand why my friends are all obsessed with his work.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (read July 2013)
Oh, my heart.  I read and loved Mira Grant's Newflesh trilogy, and each of her novellas set in the same universe have been both beautiful and painful.  Seeing the outbreak from the beginning, and watching how a large group of people handles this horrible disaster that they don't understand, hurts in ways I didn't know I could hurt.  Curse you, Mira Grant!  Making me cry again!

The Bad:

Matched by Ally Condie (read May 2013)
That should say "attempted to read", because I couldn't finish this book.  I read a lot of dystopian young adult books, so I'm accustomed to the "love triangle in the midst of revolution" type plots.  The big difference with this one was that I simply didn't care about the characters.  The author had some really good ideas, but I don't think she executed that well.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty (read May 2013)
Speaking of dystopian YA...the main problem I had with this book was that the characters were very flat.  One of the twins was focused on "bumping," the other twin is focused on saving the first, and they don't really have any motivation to change.  I managed to finish this one, but I'm very reluctant to put a book down once I've started it.

The Comfort:

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (re-read December 2013)
Pratchett has always been my go-to for comfort reading, and this is one of my favorites.  Seeing the "regular" cast of characters through the eyes of a different culture is always neat, and Pratchett creates such wonderful societies on the Discworld.

Soulless by Gail Carriger (re-read October 2013)
I discovered Gail Carriger when this book came out, and have been a huge fan ever since.  This first book in the Parasol Protectorate series introduces a fantastic world, while still giving me solid characters and an interesting plot.

That's 2013 in books for me.  What were the biggest hits and misses for you this year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Who the Heck Are You?

Now that I'm working on launching a writing career, I thought it would be a good idea to spend more time, well, writing.  It's nice to give myself a bit of a break from the heavy slog of first-draft editing, and thus, this blog was created.

A little bit about me:  I'm Stephanie Wood Franklin, writer, reader, gamer, and crafter.  I've been writing since I was about eight, but it's only in the last year or two that I've tried to actually finish something.  I've done NaNoWriMo eight times, but only won three.  Still, my win-loss ratio is getting better!

For my day job, I work in the legal department at  However, I do not speak on behalf of Amazon - any opinions stated here are my own.  Also, I can't help you with your customer service issue or figure out where your order is.  I've been working here for a little over four years, and I truly enjoy my job.

I'm currently working on an urban paranormal series tentatively titled "Paranormal Investigations, Inc."  I say tentatively because the more I'm working on it, the more I realize the title no longer fits.  I wrote part of Book One a couple of years ago, and let it sit; this year, I wrote a complete(ish) draft of Book Two for NaNo.  Now, my biggest challenge is filling the gaps in between the two books, and seeing how the arc will continue on to Book Three.  It's amazing how much changed between the books, and I've found it's been handy to keep a list of the things that need to be updated as I read through the incredibly rough drafts.

I have a few other projects that are simmering on the back burner, that I'll probably poke at on occasion.  Among them are the Epic Fantasy of Epicness (with a story seed that came out of a fever dream) and an alternate history set in the time of the Conquistadores.  I'm sure there will be other projects along the way, and I look forward to writing them and writing about them here.