Happy New Year Book Unicorns!

Happy New Year book unicorns!

I hope your January is off to a blessed start so far, and your goal list is filled with great books to read! If you aren’t sure what to read next, and you enjoy young adult fantasy, then take the online quiz below to help find your next favorite book!

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Aivan: The One Truth, a YA fantasy novella with stories rooted in the Old Testament.

My last 2021 post was a reflection, and my first post of 2022 was an outline of goals and what I hoped to achieve in the coming year. Due to life circumstances, including unforeseen health complications, I was not able to maintain my planned blog post in 2022 which means I did not share my year’s reflection in December; however, everything has taught me the importance and power of grace. I am starting 2023 with a clear intention to offer myself grace in all my endeavors. I hope you, too, holdfast to grace in the new year.

Reflection of 2022 Goals and Author Journey

The year 2022 was an exciting year for me in a lot of ways! I didn’t hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal, but I did read 10 amazing books. I didn’t hit all of my writing goals, but I can see real growth in my narrative skills. I am not where I thought I would be in terms of health, but times of darkness has allowed me to seek out the light.

Below I have created a list of key highlights that I want to remember moving forward. Remember, these are simply highlights and they do not show the struggles of imposter syndrome, countless rejections, mental health and physical health battles, and other challenges that are inevitable in life. But in sharing some of my year’s highlights, I hope to encourage you to reflect on positive moments and relish in gratitude.

In 2022…

  • I joined the wonderful community of Havok Publishing with my flash fiction pieces “The Once-Stars” and “The Great Blue-Bellied Jelly.” The former was even narrated on the Havok podcast by the talented Magnus Carlssen and anyone can listen to it here!
  • I started a new job as a school librarian. Fostering a passion for reading in young children is a dream come true!
  • My debut Young Adult Christian fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, was published through Ambassador International in July. It is now available through your favorite book retailers!
  • I was semi-finalist in the James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition.
  • I had poems and short stories appear in 5 different anthologies and I had two articles published through Calla Press online.
  • Aivan: The One Truth received a Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review!
  • My story “Beautiful Wasteland” won the Science Fiction category in Clean Fiction Magazine’s Windows Into the Multiverse Writing Contest Winter 2022.
  • I signed TWO new book contracts for upcoming projects. More information to be shared soon!

Like I said, this is merely a highlight reel. I’m choosing to focus on the light and positive and fill my soul with gratitude for all the opportunities God has provided! I am not minimizing or pretending the pain, loss, and hurt 2022 dealt is nonexistent; rather, I’m simply choosing to sit with that darkness at another time.

Purple text shares the Bible verse Psalm 147:3-4, NIV version. The background is a pinkish purple gradient and there are 6 purple hearts surrounding the text.

A large part of 2022 was spent feeling regret and lost, but events unfolded to show me that God does heal the brokenhearted. God has granted me specific gifts in which I can use to serve others. The past year really showed my heart what matters most. And what is that? Check out my article delving deeper into the topic here on Calla Press.

What’s Next?

As I said, I am focusing on grace this year. But that does not mean I don’t have goals that I’ll be working toward! I will still be reading books when I can, and sharing reviews here on the blog. This year, I plan to read whatever my heart calls to which will probably be mostly middle grade and young adult clean fantasy and science fiction with some children’s books as well (I’ll be reading for and with my kiddos at school)! I also hope to share things I’m working on and learning, and I’m considering doing a bi-monthly writing advice post. Is there a specific topic you would like me to address? Feel free to drop a comment below (Please note your comment may take a bit to post as I have to approve it to verify it isn’t spam)!

Wrapped in the warm safety of grace, this year I am aiming to…

  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 1 (by mid-February) and submit to publisher.
  • Complete manuscript for Book Contract Number 2 (by mid-April) and submit to publisher.
  • Complete current Writing in Progress (a medieval young adult fantasy) and send to my editor (preferably before summer’s end) and then work on querying.
  • Continue to write flash fiction and submit to Havok Publishing.
    • In fact, my first two Havok stories of 2023 have already appeared! On January 3, my sci-fi piece “Firefight in Cuzco” was published, and on January 11, my comedy piece “The End of the World?” was published! “The End of the World?” is especially dear to my heart as the protagonist Huey and his best friend Tema have a lot more adventures, and great banter and puns, to share with readers this year. I highly recommend joining Havok as a reader to access these and the other fantastic stories in the archive.
  • Continue seeking out publishing opportunities and contests for my stories and poetry.
  • Cherish every moment, make countless memories with family and friends, and live in the “now.”
  • Continue to foster my relationship with God and write the stories he places on my heart.
The Bible verse Isaiah 41:10, NIV version appears in the center of white rectangle in dark green lettering. To the left and right of text are dark green leaves.

Thank You

Thank you for reading! And again, Happy New Year book unicorns! I pray that the days ahead provide healing, peace, fulfillment for you and yours, and, of course, grace.

Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

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