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This is my first post for the year! Looking back on 2013, I accomplished a lot. I made significant progress on my manuscript (Tears of the Phoenix), to the point where I believe I can send out submissions to agents by the end of January, if I push it. I also met my goal of 52 books in 52 weeks, reading 59 books midway through November. I actually did manage to meet my writing goal of an average of 500 words per day. Since I recovered from my hand surgery, I averaged 522.6 words a day, despite a significant drop off to 455 words/day in Nov and 231 words/day in December. Not bad at all.

I did fail to meet several objectives, the most obvious ones being that I had intended to have my novel actually completed and submissions out by late summer, but as the process unfolded, the events snowballed and that didn’t happen.

This year, my goals are to read 75 books, but to enjoy them too. Not just read them to reach a number. I also want to complete a rough draft for the remaining stories in the Dark Masters series. That means a lofty goal of approximately 1200 words a day, which I’ve already fallen behind in. BOO! But, hey, I averaged over 500 words a day for seven months. Let’s shoot for the stars, among other well meaning cliches.

So, with that in mind, how about we take a look at the stories I’m looking forward to for 2014? Hey, maybe expectations will bring me down, but at least I’ve got things to look forward to. Again, as with the top stories, these are in no particular order.

  1. X-Men: Days of the Future Past: Not to be mistaken with the comic by Chris Claremont. With director Brian Singer returning to the X-Men, this movie has potential. Of all the movies coming this year connected to comics, this might be the one I want to be the best.
  2. The Information by James Gleick: Some time in the fall, I decided to ignore NYTimes best sellers list. The books just didn’t do anything for me. As it happened, this book came to my attention via my cousin, who shares an affinity for eclectic knowledge.
  3. Outlander series: The first book on my “to read” list for 2014. I plan to dive in as soon as I’ve moved this weekend. Two friends have recommended this book highly to me, and as such it has my interest. Other than some random time travel, historic fantasy, and Celts, I have no real information on this book. Definitely curious though.
  4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Psychology always intrigues me. Reading for fun, learning about the human mind. Looks promising.
  5. Baseball – Between the Numbers: I love baseball and SABR metrics. I disagree with the assertion that data takes the fun out of baseball. I want to use the data to increase my depth of understanding of the game. This book represents part of that journey. After all, what good does watching a game do if I can’t understand what really matters? Why are RBI overrated? How does a hitter’s BA reflect actual ability vs luck? Great questions, all with answers, if you have the will to look.
  6. Hickman’s Avengers [continued…]: This series has everything: super star artists, a great writer, my complete attention. Even the event, Infinity, seems just another chapter. One of the best qualities I find about Hickman’s work actually revealed itself quite recently. He uses “to be” verbs sparingly. And, when he does use them, they appear in situations that might otherwise appear unavoidable. This greatly helps him increase the drama and level of the writing.
  7. Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow: Same reasons as #4 on this list.
  8. Salt: Yes. This is a book about the history of salt. My father loaned it to me almost three years ago and I haven’t gotten around to reading it. This year, it’s making my list of must reads. If only because the first and only time I picked it up, I read the first 68 pages before stopping (I was in the doctor’s waiting room).
  9. Sherlock [BBC TV]: The return of this amazing show, even for another short 3 episode season is still going to be amazing. If you haven’t watched it, I’m very sorry. Go watch!
  10. Sunday at Tiffany’s: I honestly don’t know anything about this story. A friend recommended it to me, putting it on par with the Time Traveler’s Wife. That’s high standards. Not sure the book can possibly meet that and I did tell her that, warning her not to set expectations a book might not reach and just suggesting it might be fun. I guess there’s some irony in that statement since I recommend books all the time, but eventually, everything sits on a pedestal that falls.

Saturday I’ll post a list of every book I read last year, for anyone who’s interested. Bring on 2014!