As 2016 comes to a close, I thought I’d try something new. No, I don’t mean a New Year’s Resolution. I think this one is a bit more attainable. The best way to plan for the future is to recap the past, right? So here’s a few highlights from what I’ve been up to over the past year.
Books I Discovered
These women’s fiction novels unravel family drama at the highest degree in a heartbreaking and highly entertaining read. A clever premise from the very beginning, the way Mary repeatedly throws curveballs, complicating the characters’ lives with numerous subplots, is masterful and gripping. I love that she can make me feel conflicting feelings about the characters. I feel like I truly got to know them.
My debut book, medieval historical/literary fiction The Kiss of Death (Kellan Publishing, 2015), turned one on June 6th! Celebrating my first book birthday was exciting, to say the least. So was seeing it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble!
I continue to speak at libraries and bookstores in the suburban Chicago area. This year’s venues included Barnes & Noble (Crystal Lake, IL), the Crystal Lake Public Library (Crystal Lake, IL), Randall Oaks Library (West Dundee, IL), and Read Between the Lynes independent bookstore (Woodstock, IL).
The Woodstock event was extra special. The bookstore is located on the historic Woodstock square, a few doors down from the Woodstock Opera House. In May 2014 on the Opera House stage, The Kiss of Death received a literary award from the Woodstock Fine Arts Association. Little did I know that only a few months later, it would be en route to publication!
Speaking at Barnes & Noble was also a whirlwind experience. Returning to the store for an encore author event this year after my debut book launch last year was a dream come true! Find my upcoming events here.
The Crystal Lake Public Library invited me to promote its “Paint the Town READ” literacy campaign due to my local young author status. What an honor!
I completed my summer project to develop an Educator Guide correlated to Common Core Curriculum. Then, I presented it to schools in the suburban Chicago area. My guide provides teachers with everything they need to incorporate The Kiss of Death into their lesson plans.
- The Woodstock Independent Newspaper Article: “Former Woodstock Fine Arts Association Scholarship Winner to Speak at Read Between the Lynes”
- McHenry County Living Online Magazine Article: “Young Author Inspires”
It was oh-so-satisfying to complete the Senior Capstone for my Writing degree. (The “Capstone” is Drake University’s term for a major’s culminating course.) My Capstone course examined the poetics of writing, or all that is good, true, and beautiful in a text. The final project had me thinking critically about my own personal poetics, which was a truly worthwhile exercise. I’m also pursuing a PR degree, so I have one more Capstone to go in my Drake career.
When I was formally invited to join Drake’s chapter of the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, the English nerd in me literally could not contain her excitement! In fact, I had been counting down the semesters until I came of age this inspiring organization. A special society just for a nerd like me? How cool is that!?!
In a Public Relations (PR) Writing course at Drake, I generated a PR portfolio for Penguin Random House. The objective was to develop a variety of tactics for your dream employer. It was a fun project. Plus, now I have a fantastic portfolio demonstrating my research, writing, and graphic design skills.
I got to do just that in the eponymous course at Drake this year! I hadn’t come across the renowned playwright’s works in my curriculum since early high school, so I relished the chance to delve into analyzing his works and adaptations in the classroom setting.
Book Publishing Intern
I’ve absolutely loved my time as an Editorial and Publicity intern at Drake Community Press and look forward to continuing to work with the organization. On the editorial side, I carried out developmental and copy editing of book chapters for the Press’s latest book project, A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland (spring 2017). For publicity, I designed bookmarks, posters, and event programs. The best part was seeing these materials in use at events and knowing that my work was valuable.
I’m currently knee-deep in research on book publicity firms, publishing companies, and literary agencies. As you may have guessed, I’m putting together internship applications for summer 2017!
Thanks for joining me on my journey. See you all on the other side in 2017!