Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Judith of Binge on Books

Countdown to a New Year, December 31: Judith of Binge on Books

From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!

**Plus every day in the countdown will feature prize packs of ARCs and book giveaways plus a final BIG giveaway of a Kindle Fire! Enter every day for a chance to win!**

Outweighing the Negatives

It has been a hard year.

Full stop.

I am one of those people who generally prefers to ignore the negative and just focus on the positive but it has been hard, y’all. Hard in so many psyche-impacting ways: politically, personally, professionally, emotionally. I’ve had my womanhood and my person attacked on several fronts, my intellect and my dreams called into question. The mudslinging has been unparalleled and the overt hate has been overwhelming.

We can all agree that 2017 was a doozy; it had so many downs that at times, I was worried that we – the book community – would never be able to bounce back. That the core of what makes us a strong and forward thinking bunch was gone for good. But we’re a resilient and all-inclusive group. Full of dreamers and doers, thinkers and thoses who find hope in the smallest of gestures. We are a rag tag motley of writers, publishers, publicists, agents, and readers that just want to see ourselves in books and in turn, allow others to see themselves. For all our differences, we’re a community that I am so grateful to be a part of.

Yes, it’s been hard but on the flipside, it’s also been a stellar year full of magical, life-changing reads and the achievement of several personal milestones. So, instead of focusing about all the bad, let’s chat about all the amazing things that happened in 2017! It’s time to outweigh the negative.

On the Books Front:

If you read some phenomenal books this year, raise your hand! At this end, I read so many fantastic reads that narrowing it down to a handful is tough but there are a few that stand out as extra special:

1. Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzi Lee: a bisexual historical caper set in England and the Continent. LOVE IT. There are duels, mad chases, lavish parties, pirates, and so much more all packed into this one book!

2. Fence by C.S. Pacat: I’ve been in love with C.S. Pacat’s writing since her seminal Captive Prince series. Fence is a queer YA comic featuring two protags who love to hate each other but man, can they fence.

3. Idlewild by Jude Sierra: while it did not come out in 2017, I certainly did read it then and am counting it as a knock out 2017 read. Superb writing and the nuanced characterization of two men learning to love…it’s so spot on.

4. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: astounding fantasy YA set in the world of faerie! There is a human protagonist, a whole faerie court, and a not love story. You must read it!

On the Personal Front:

2017 rocked my world on the personal front:

1. HEA USA Today: at the end of 2016, I had the opportunity to start up a column on HEA USA Today called Rainbow Trends. That column focused on specific tropes and trends in queer romance and was a chance for me to explore them on a national forum. In 2017, Rainbow Trends is still going strong and in addition I was able to interview and promote some of my favorite diverse authors on HEA USA Today.

2. TeenVogue: if you had told me a year ago that I would be a frequent contributor to Teen Vogue by the end of 2017, I would have laughed. Seriously, laughed in your face. And yet, here I am, a frequent contributor to Teen Vogue! Talk about an amazing gig – I currently pen a queer books column for the mag and get queer books to the people who need them, teens. It has been humbling to say the least and I thank my lucky stars daily that I have this chance.

3. The Mary Sue: Starting in January 2018, I’ll be reviewing queer geeky reads for The Mary Sue! I am a book pusher, no qualms about it and this next column I’ll be penning will feature a wealth of queer reads with a slightly geeky bent. I. Cannot. Wait.

4. The release of Sight Unseen anthology: pushing the publishing envelope has always been my goal with Open Ink Press, the small pub I created in 2016. Through it I want to give authors an opportunity to take risks with their writing and craft stories that aren’t status quo. Sight Unseen is an amazing addition to this vision–the premise is simple: give authors a chance to write and publish anonymously and in turn, free them from the constraint of reader or publisher expectation. The stories Emma Barry, Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Erin Satie, and J.A. Rock created for the anthology went beyond my wildest expectations and were lauded on many fronts.

5. Book friendships: And finally, this year has given me an opportunity to grow and nurture so many book friendships with authors, agents, publishers, and of course, readers. It is so worthwhile to be able to talk books with a group of smart, well-versed people and I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store.

Some promises to myself (not resolutions):

1. Ask for help when I need it. If you know me personally in any capacity, you’ll know that I love to work myself to a state of overwhelm. Seriously. Living on 2-3 hours of sleep and trying to accomplish practically EVERYTHING is a clear indicator that I am not very good at asking for help from others. This year I am promising to do that…at least a little bit.

2. Treat myself with kindness. So rarely do we allow ourselves to be kind to ourselves. We have to be kind to others, to those who do us a bad turn, to those who are jerks, to those we really want to punch in the face. We have to be kind in the face of petty slights and stupid crap but we hardly ever find time to forgive ourselves and treat ourselves kindly. Well, screw that! This year I’m treating myself with kindness. I’m not going to beat myself up all the time about dumb stuff. I’m not going to expect perfection because that’s not plausible and frankly, it is a little boring.

3. Make myself and my wants a priority. Fin.

Judith is the owner and curator of the book review site Binge on Books, as well as the boutique press Open Ink and the literary PR agency, A Novel Take PR. You can also find Judith on HEA USA Today with her LGBTQ romance column Rainbow Trends, and on Teen Vogue talking her favorites in queer YA and New Adult.

Connect with Judith: @bingeonbooks

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