Photo: Two editions of Ash. The original hardcover from 2009 on the left, and the 10th anniversary edition on the right.
Every year since 2009, I’ve written an annual review of what I did in the past year and what I'm looking forward to in the next. These posts are all here on my website if you want to take a look back. Here’s my review for this most recent turn around the sun.
Things Published in 2019
I started off the year with my short story “Red,” a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” set during the Cultural Revolution in China. You can still read it for free at Foreshadow.
Then, to my surprise, I was invited by the New York Times to write some flash fiction (very short fiction) about a photograph from their archives for a special section of fiction about Asians and Asian Americans. I was given several choices and, being the contrarian that I am, I chose the oddest one of the bunch: a picture of the Three Little Pigs characters at Tokyo Disneyland. You can read that story, “Don’t Speak,” at the New York Times, if you’re a subscriber.
My primary fictional release in 2019 was the re-release of Ash in a special 10th anniversary edition, complete with an introduction by Holly Black. You can buy a copy from your retailer of choice here, or get a signed copy at Porter Square Books.
Since 2011, I’ve been counting and analyzing LGBTQ YA and making tons of pie charts to illustrate the data. Last year I wrote “A Decade of LGBTQ YA Since Ash” in honor of the 10-year anniversary of my first novel. A lot has changed, much of it for the better.
I also examined awards for LGBTQ YA and asked, “What is ‘Good’ LGBTQ YA?”Good is in quotations because it’s contingent on who’s doing the reading and judging. My analysis showed that award-winners are almost exclusively contemporary coming-out novels, and award honorees skew toward books with cis male main characters. I’ll be interested to see if anything changes in the future.
In October, I relaunched my newsletter, Lo & Behold, on Substack, a new newsletter platform. I used to blog about books and media and writing regularly, but as blogs died in the last several years, my blogging also died. I’m excited that Substack has given me a reason to pick up blogging again, because I have a lot of opinions and I missed sharing them!
Here’s a handy list of those posts, in case you missed any of them (sometimes I archive them on my website):
What I Will Be Doing in 2020
First things first: my next novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club will not be published in 2020, but in 2020 you will definitely find out when it’s coming! (Hint: soon after 2020.) I do hope to have at least one short story to share during the year, and every year I get a chance to write something I truly had no idea I’d be writing, so it’s possible I’ll publish something else that I haven’t even thought about yet.
For the majority of 2020, I’ll be revising my next next novel. I haven’t said much about this one yet, but I can tell you it’s a different genre than my previous books, and it is YA. I’ve written fantasy, science fiction, thriller, and historical, so you can guess what the next genre I’m tackling is.
I’ll also be continuing to write essays for my newsletter, and that will be changing up a little. For the last 10 years I’ve been blogging for free, but now with Substack I have the option of asking readers to pay a subscription fee. Next week I’ll send out an email with details on how this will work. Don’t worry—if you only subscribed to my newsletter to get my book/fiction news, you’ll still get that for free. The subscription will be for those who want to support my essays on writing, culture, and other topics. I have no idea if this will work. It’s an experiment that I’m excited and a little nervous to try. Stay tuned!
Lastly, I’m starting off 2020 with a book event. I’ll be talking with author Melissa Albert about her new novel, The Night Country, which is the sequel to her beautiful, wild, and wonderful The Hazel Wood. If you like fairy tales, urban fantasy, and wondrous imagined worlds, you will love both of these books. If you’re in the Boston area, come out to Brookline Booksmith on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. and join us!
As always, thank you for reading my words, and I hope you have a happy and healthy new year.