Big Dreams and the Best Kind of Gift

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Whew! Life is back to normal after the holidays. This morning, the kids went out to school/morning childcare, and I read through (and polished) the first 18,000 words of my latest freelance project (due on Friday). Then I sat down to try to do what I do every year around this time (and I’ve written about why I do it here): make a list of: 1) Do-able Goals for the year, 2) BIG Dreams for the year, and 3) !!!WILD!!!! Dreams for the year (with, yes, ALL of those exclamation points and italics, for emphasis).

…And then I stuttered to a halt. Because honestly, over the last several months, I’ve been so narrowly focused on hitting one deadline after another that…well, I’ve kind of lost my wider perspective.

So I found myself staring at my notebook, thinking: What DO I want this year?

…Which is an odd feeling.

Part of it, probably, is that last year was mind-blowingly full of the kinds of sales I’d been dreaming about for the last few years. Now I’ve actually got them, and got contracts reaching ahead of me for the next couple of years, and that’s a lovely, reassuring feeling. But ever since getting them, my whole focus has been on WORKWORKWORK – I have to MEET THOSE DEADLINES! instead of thinking: And what else might be fun to do, in the rest of my life?

Well. I did manage to write one thing in the BIG dreams category: Take the kids on TWO family holidays this year! That would be amazing.

But I’d like to figure out what to put next on the list, too! So that’s going to be one of my personal goals for this week, on top of polishing up the freelance project and starting edits on The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart.

And the new year has been starting in the nicest possible way this past week – with the first blurbs coming in for Masks and Shadows! I have been SO nervous about what people would think of this big leap between genres, because while M&S is another historical fantasy, like my Kat books, of course it’s aimed squarely at adults and it’s a much lusher, darker, and more romantic kind of fantasy than Kat (or than my other upcoming MG books, for that matter).

So it’s helped SO MUCH to see amazing blurbs coming in from some of my very favorite fantasy, science fiction, and romance authors: Judith Tarr, Delia Sherman, Jaime Lee Moyer, Justina Robson, Leah Cypess, Laura Florand, and Donna Thorland. You can see them all on my website, but here are just a few of the most recent ones to give a taste:

“I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first saw the announcement—and it is absolutely worth the wait. Wonderful setting, fascinating characters, and beautiful music. It truly feels as if the author has lived with those people in that period, and has written them from life—magic, demons, angelic singers, and all. I can’t wait to read the next. There will be a next? Yes? Please?” – Judith Tarr

“In Masks and Shadows, Stephanie Burgis has created a cast of remarkable and complex characters and set them loose in a story of intrigue, music, magic, love, and terror that kept me up late into the night.” – Delia Sherman

“Terrific. A lush adventure fueled by music and alchemy and peopled with irresistible characters. Masks and Shadows blends history and magic into a rich, believable love story fraught with royal intrigue. I finished it in one sitting.” – Donna Thorland

Getting these blurbs felt like the best belated Christmas gift ever!

And there are just over three months to go until the book is out in the world. Whew! I guess it’s time to get back to work on the next book…and figure out my other goals, too!

What about you guys? What are your big dreams (or do-able goals or !!!WILD!!! dreams) for this year?

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